The Arab American Foundation presented their 2019 Award for Individual Achievement to former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport at their annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala May 2, in Wash., D.C.
The Gibran Awards celebrates individuals and organizations whose work embodies the values of the great poet: inclusion, cooperation, and promotion of greater understanding among diverse communities in both the United States and throughout the world.
The Gibran Committee selected Newport for his commitment to community and social justice, represented by his decades of involvement in public service as an activist, mayor, innovator and advisor.
James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute Foundation and Maya Berry, the executive director, both cited Newport for his activism alongside Malcolm X and his current role as president of the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
Newport was also noted for his development of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston, Mass., which became the only nonprofit organization in the United States to receive the powers of eminent domain using the Community Land Trust (CLT) model.
This approach empowered the local residents to buy affordable homes. Newport also exported the CLT model approach to New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina devastation.
Newport continues his involvement with the faculty at Yale, M.I.T., U.C. Berkeley and many other institutions.
Past recipients of the award include the late Muhammad Ali, Lech Walesa (Poland) actor Salma Hayek Pinault, Pres. Mary Robinson (Ireland), Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Sting, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, disc jockey Casey Kasem and Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International.