ADC Announces 2016 Alex Odeh Memorial Award

Alex Odeh Memorial Award

Washington, D.C. | | September 19, 2016 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is proud to announce that it will present the annual Alex Odeh Memorial Award to Mr. and Mrs. Samer and Nora Burgan at the upcoming ADC National Convention in Washington, D.C.

The Alex Odeh Memorial Award is presented annually to individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership, public service, and commitment to ADC and the Arab-American Community.

ADC will present this year’s award on the evening of Saturday, October 1st, 2016 at ADC’s Annual National Convention in Washington, D.C.

Convention Logo Final

For additional information about the convention please click here.

Bios of the awardees:

Samer W. Burgan is an attorney practicing law for over 30 years in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. His practice, Burgan and Associates, P.C., specializes in personal injury, and business litigation.Born in Amman- Jordan, Mr. Burgan arrived as a student in the U.S. in 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at New Paltz in both Political Science and Business Administration, which he completed in just 2 ½ years. He earned his Juris Doctorate at Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. in 1985. He is admitted to practice law before the federal and state courts in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1982, Mr. Burgan began his community work at ADC. He worked as a legal intern in the ADC Legal Department in 1984 under Albert Mokhiber. His involvement in U.S. politics followed. In 1986, he served as Campaign Manager for Faye Williams for Congressional seat in Louisiana’s 8th district. In a 96% historically Democratic district, Ms. Williams won the party nomination but ended up losing to a Republican by a very small margin amidst accusations that she was a PLO sympathizer due to her campaign manager’s Palestinian ethnicity. Mr. Burgan was a member of the National Lawyers Guild and Fairfax Democratic Committee. In 1988, he served as a delegate to Democratic National Convention as part of the Rainbow Coalition. He served as President and/or a member of the board of directors of several organizations including the ADC DC Chapter, Al Awda Magazine (The Return), the Arab American Democrats, the Baileys Crossroads Revitalization Corporation and New Dominion PAC. Mr. Burgan is currently President of the Rock Springs Professional Center Board of Directors where he has served since 2005. In 2006, Mr. Burgan was a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Bethlehem which established the Washington National Cathedral simulcast with Bethlehem as an annual institutionalized event for 10 years now. He has been an active and involved member and supporter of ADC since its inception serving as Washington chapter president in 1987. Over the years, he has provided pro-bono work in asylum cases. He mentors young Arab American lawyers.

Nora Burgan, a Palestinian American was born in Rocky Mount, NC, and grew up around the world as part of a U.S Foreign Service family speaking 3 languages. Moving to the D.C. area in 1976, she’s been a part of the Arab American activist community since. She was on the committee that birthed the Arab Cultural Center under the leadership of Dr. Hatem Hussaini and the auspices of the revered Dr. Clovis Maksoud at the Arab League. That was the transitional office to the the Palestine Information Office (now the PLO delegation to the U.S. DC office) where she was one of its original staff and serve as its first Director of Public Relations. She has been an active member of ADC since its inception and involved in many Arab and Palestinian American Organizations over the years including; Union of Arab Women, AAUG, OAS, GUPS, Palestine American Congress, WRITE!, WIAMAP, Al Bireh Society, NAAWA, AAI, New Dominion PAC and Arab American Democrats. She previously worked with the late Alfred Lilienthal on Middle East Perspectives, was Editor of Palestine Perspectives and, in 1982 served as one of the first Executive Directors of UPA. She served as a lead on many volunteer initiatives including the Ad Hoc Committee for Bethlehem which created an annual simulcast between the Washington National Cathedral and Bethlehem. It is now an annual event and part of the regular programming at the Cathedral; always fully attended and broadcast live to all affiliate churches nationwide. She initiated the Ad Hoc Committee for Gaza where a flotilla was recreated on the Potomac River at Georgetown Harbor and the Ad Hoc Committee for Nakba where commemorations are held in the nation’s capital. In her professional life, Nora is a business woman and owner of an Events planning company, Ultimate Events. She has worked with many D.C. high profile clients including the Washington DC Choral Arts Society, Swedish Embassy, NPR, Smithsonian and United Airlines. Her company regularly serviced events on Capitol Hill and was awarded the contract for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to represent the “Roots of Virginia and the 400 year anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia” portion of the program. The festival on the Washington Mall is attended by over 1 million people annually. Over the years, she has volunteered her professional services to Arab American organizations and worked on several of the ADC Turath events. She is currently advising on the ANERA annual Gala. Ms. Burgan holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science/International Relations from George Mason University. She has won 2 design awards for Ultimate Events from the International Special Events Society. She was recently featured in the Fairfax County Times for her class on the History of Crystallization of Edible Flowers, a technique that finds its roots in Arab tradition.

For additional information about the Convention, please click here.

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