Masquerade ball celebrates AANM achievements

Event offers an evening filled with mystery, cuisine, entertainment by Syrian superstar Elias Karam

DEARBORN –  The Arab American National Museum will host its annual Grand Gala fundraiser, in a masquerade ball Oct. 28 at the Westin Book Cadillac.

This year’s masquerade theme fuses a resurgent Detroit with its Arab American community, providing elegance through excellence in dining and entertainment in the historic hotel’s Woodward Ballroom.

Located in the heart of downtown, at 1114 Washington Blvd., the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit has historically been one of the city’s most illustrious hotels. Today, it represents a revitalized Detroit as it has been restored to its original splendor, while showcasing a modern-day twist with its detailed design.

Guests will be able to relish in electrifying music provided by Arab world superstar Elias Karam, who is slated to be the main performer at the gala. Karam, a Syrian vocalist, is set to dazzle audiences with his Arabic tarab-infused music, providing a soundtrack for an evening of revelry.

Listen to him here.

The AANM Gala is a signature event celebrating the institution’s role as the only museum to tell the Arab American story. The gala has taken place every year since 2004 and has typically generated 30 percent of AANM’s education programming, while uniting the community’s business owners, professionals and intellectuals.

Like every year prior, the annual gala is presented by the Friends of the AANM Committee, a group of accomplished women based in southeast Michigan that is co-chaired by Rajaa Saksouk and Raghad Farah. View a complete list of Friends Committee members at

Saksouk, who has attended every, said she looks forward to the annual celebration because it’s an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of AANM.

“It’s the only Arab American museum in the nation that tells our story and our impact on American society,” Saksouk said. “What amazes me the most is how AANM has become the gem that our community is so proud to have, and our banquet has become the party that everyone looks forward to attending.”

At this year’s gala, guests are encouraged, although not required, to let their creative juices flow by wearing a mask to go along with the masquerade theme. AANM also will be handing out masks during the gala for those who would like to join in on the mystery. Dress code is black tie optional; cultural and creative attire is welcomed.

“This is an exquisite over-the-top celebration that shines the light on the great achievements of the one and only AANM,” Farah said. “I’m so excited to see our guests entering our ballroom area with some awesome creative masks.”

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with an opening reception. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for check-in and an opportunity to mingle with community members. At 7 p.m., guests can enjoy a sit-down dinner while listening to welcoming remarks from AANM and the Friends of the AANM Committee.

At 8 p.m., a special mystery guest will take the stage to kick off the entertainment portion of the evening. The highly anticipated live performance by Karam will then shift the celebration into a full-blown Arab world dance party at 9 p.m.

The masquerade ball is open to the public; tickets are available online at Supporter and Benefactor tickets for the event are $250 and $500, respectively. Both include admission to the reception, dinner with two drink tickets and concert performances. Benefactor tickets include program book recognition.

This event is made possible by AANM’s lead sponsors: Merrill Lynch Bank of America Corporation, DTE Energy Foundation, Sharif Hussein & Pascale Eid and many others.

For more Masquerade Ball information and to purchase tickets go to Call 313-624-0209 with questions.