- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2007

The 10th annual Mosaic Foundation Dinner once again proved the power of Arab women.

Not only did representatives from 20 Arab countries raise more than $1.5 million Wednesday night at the lushly decorated National Building Museum, but Rim Abboud, wife of the Lebanese ambassador and the event’s chairwoman, had the pleasure of announcing a “surprise” gift of $1 million for the evening’s recipient, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

The donor: Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, of which he is vice president and prime minister. His wife and Mosaic’s guest-of-honor, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the daughter of Jordan’s late King Hussein and the first Arab and first woman to serve as a goodwill ambassador for WFP, spoke candidly to the 750 guests, even mentioning the problem of obesity.

Admitting that it might seem odd for royalty to talk about poverty at a gala dinner in the richest country in the world, Princess Haya explained, “I have held a hungry child with AIDS. I saw his need, his pain.”

Other things besides “material wealth” are important, the princess explained, adding that “education, skills and life experiences” also are necessary in fighting poverty and hunger.

Event chairwoman Hunaina Al-Mughairy, the ambassador of Oman, reminded guests that “every five seconds on this planet a child dies from hunger.” There are more than 350 million chronically hungry people worldwide, she noted, two-thirds of them women and girls.

Mosaic supporters in attendance included nearly all of the Arab diplomatic corps and their spouses, benefit committee co-chairs Dan and Rhoda Glickman, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Sen. Ted Stevens, Reps. Nick Rahall and John Tanner, D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, Diana Negroponte, Esther Coopersmith, Samia and Huda Farouki, Ray and Shaista Mahmood, Jennifer and Karim Camel-Toueg, Lynda and Bill Webster, Hilda and Arturo Brillembourg and American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.

Gail Scott

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