On August 17, 1989, a visionary and dedicated group of American Druze established the American Druze Foundation. They saw what was not; they dreamt of what could be. Their actions have born fruit ever since, culminating 24 years later with a crowning achievement for the American Druze in the United States of America, the establishment of and endowed fellowship for Druze Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
These dedicated visionaries’ goal was clear: preserve, promote, and encourage hunger and thirst for a greater understanding and appreciation of the Druze values and traditions. Their eyes and their focus were toward the future “American Druze youth” as well as other adult members of the American Druze community.
The founding members were patriots of this great country America; they, their fathers or grandfathers had traveled across waters in search of a new life. They had a dream of a meaningful existence; not one lived for just themselves but one that would be alive for their children, grandchildren, and the American Druze community at large.
Jack Hamady, Muneer Zaineldden, and James Sams were the founding members who registered the foundation. They served as its first three Board of Directors until the first Board of Directors was established.
The first Board of Directors of the American Druze Foundation comprised:
- Jack Hamady, Chairman
- Rafic Rasamny, Vice Chair
- Muneer Zaineldeen, Secretary
- Dr. Abdallah Najjar, Treasurer
- Sami Abd-El-Baki
- Ajaj Andary
- Aristo Hatoum
- Saleem Israwi
- Mrs. Mack (Salimi) Joseph
- Casey Kassem
- Dr. Nadim Kassem
- Kamal S. Najjar
- Dr. Anis Obeid
- Ghassan Saab
- James Sams
- Kamal Shouhayib
The Foundation’s first mailing address in 1989 was: Hotel Washington, Suite 720, 515 Fifteenth Street, NW, Washington DC 20004.
As each day comes full of great opportunities refreshed and anew, so too does the sense of gratitude and indebtedness for these visionary co-founders who some 24 years ago saw a need and bravely acted upon that need, establishing and sustaining an organization that is making a difference in today’s American community.
The American Druze history is marked with these esteemed co-founders dreaming about building a better future for the next generation.