- Published on Sunday, 23 March 2014 13:16
Bethlehem/PNN/ The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation will present the Palestinian Diaspora Award to Farouk Shami, Inventor and Founder, Farouk Systems, Houston, Texas.
Mr. Farouk Shami is the founder and chairman of the Board of Farouk Systems, the Houston, Texas-based company which produces hair products designed for professional salon needs. Farouk Systems earns roughly $1 billion in revenue and employs more than 2,000 Americans. Mr. Shami himself is the inventor of the ground-breaking hair-care products used by celebrities like Madonna, Renee Zellweger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Courtney Cox, and Demi Moore. After inventing the first ammonia-free hair color, Shami went on to develop the BioSilk line and popular CHI flat iron.
Despite his success, Farouk has never forgotten his roots in Palestine nor the people who remain in his homeland. Born in the Palestinian town of Beit Ur, Farouk helped his mother make dyes from local plants and vegetables. After finishing high school at the Ramallah Friends school, Farouk left Palestine to study in America. He worked in salons to pay for his college education, and this necessity ultimately set him on the path to become a successful hair-care inventor and businessman. After cosmetology school, Farouk returned to Palestine to open a salon there, but was forced to return to the United States following the outbreak of the 1967 War.
Farouk's actions demonstrate his unwavering commitment to Palestine and its people. "Because of Israeli occupation, Palestine is dependent on donor countries," Shami says. "But there are many Palestinians with the means to help, and we need to share our success with our people." In 1999, Shami opened a science school for girls in Beit Ur. And in 2009, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), he sponsored an infrastructure project of sidewalk and road electrification projects for Beit Ur's 5,000 residents and 20,000 people from the surrounding communities who regularly pass through the village.
HCEF President/CEO, Rateb Rabie noted that Mr. Shami is unflinching in his dedication to the cause of peace in the Middle East, which he believes can be achieved through the development of the Palestinian economy and the fulfillment of Palestinian human rights and needs. Emphasizing Mr. Shami's impact, Rabie says "His example serves to inspire other Palestinians in the Diaspora to pursue success through innovative and ethical business endeavors, and always to serve Palestine faithfully through every possible means."
The Palestinian Diaspora award is given to individuals who have sustained commitment to revitalize the Palestinian essence with its cultural heritage, core values, current needs, and future aspirations, and sustained commitment to being a sturdy bridge of solidarity with and support to Palestinians in Palestine, the Holy Land, and beyond.
As an outstanding Palestinian, Mr. Shami will be the third recipient of the HCEF Palestinian Diaspora Award on Friday, October 17, 2014, at the Annual HCEF Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the 16th International Conference, which will be held Saturday, October 18, 2014. Both events will be held at the Washington Marriott, 1221 22nd Street, NW Washington, DC.