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Ms Naomi Shihab Nye accepts the ATFP award for Excellence in the Arts, at the ATFP Fifth Annual Gala, Washington, D.C., October 20, 2010.


Gratitude to Marjorie Ransom for her profound lifetime work bridging cultures and befriending so many.

Deepest thanks to Naila and Ziad Asali for your gracious consideration and your advocacy for Palestine and peace.

To the Honorable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for accepting one of the hardest jobs in the world and working so tirelessly on behalf of dialogue and justice.

To my fellow honorees tonight - a toast.

And to all the young readers who've responded to poems and stories with open hearts and minds, saying things like - I will never look at the news in the same way again, OR, My family just got larger.

To the representatives of Seeds of Peace here tonight - you are some of my heroes. Don't ever let anyone talk you out of connection.

My father, journalist Aziz Shihab, spoke up for Palestine every day of his life. He wrote, "Try as we could, my old people, the Palestinians and I, could never get into the good graces of Americans. Strong dusty
winds against us were constantly blowing...Americans blinded from knowing, or caring, that my land was dear to me."

He would want me to thank you all tonight -- for knowing, and caring. We believe the jobs of peacemaking, inclusion, and mutual respect and support, belong to all of us.

As the end of my poem "Jerusalem" says, "It's late, but everything comes next."
Thank you for believing in NEXT.

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