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Friday, April 29, 2011

First night of NAAJA 2011 Conference -- Life for Relief Gala Dinner, Shatilla's Bakery and more

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Drove from Chicago to Dearborn (4 1/2 hours) and then worked with Laila and Reema to help organize the Welcome Reception Tables ... lots of people expected. Set up the boards, reception tables, Panel Room Posters. Too much work goes in to a conference.

One typo in the program book -- I hate typos. Laura Fawaz is a graduate from Oakland University not Wayne State University. We had it right on the Speaker's Bios Page but not on the Program Panel Page. Sorry Laura.

Octavia Nasr is now following my Tweets. Her story and the story of Helen Thomas are among the topics to be discussed on a panel featuring journalists Lloyd Weston and Christine Tatum, the former president of the SPJ. We reached out to Octavia and Helen to try to get them to speak at the conference.

I was invited to serve as the emcee for the Life for Relief Gala Dinner project tonight so I had to run there and manage their wonderful program. Life for Relief is one of the pre-eminent charitable organizations in the country. one of the best actually. They are devout Muslims and their respect and tolerance for others is a model for everyone to follow. Their work on behalf of orphans and those in need around the world is phenomenal.

Afterwards, we went to Shatilla's Bakery on Warren Avenue to have Knaffa. Joining us included Delinda Hanley from the Washington Repor ton Middle East Affairs, columnist George Hishmeh, publisher Mansour Tadros, writers Amani Ghouleh and Laila Diab, and two great friends from Bridges TV, its president Hunaid M. Baliwala and their marketing director Mohamed Numan Ali joined us. Lots of fun.

-- Ray Hanania

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