Ameen Rihani Organization
"Whether you were Moslem, Christian, Druze, or Israeli, remember, God protect thee, that religious fanaticism for political goals or political fanaticism for religious purposes is the worst kind of fanaticism."
Ameen Rihani, 1925
.:2006 Rihani Scholarship Recipients


As in previous years, 2006 witnessed a large number of highly qualified applicants who competed for the Ameen Rihani Scholarship. The number of applicants was the second highest since the inception of the scholarship. In August 2006, the Ameen Rihani Scholarship Selection Committee announced the recipient of the Scholarship for the year. Applicants came from varying backgrounds with Lebanese-Americans comprising the highest percentage, and the remaining spread among other Arab-Americans such as Jordanian, Saudi, Iraqi, Egyptian, Syrian, Palestinian, Kuwaiti, Moroccan, Algerian, Lybian, and Yemeni. These candidates reside in 22 different U.S. states.

The Scholarship Selection Committee is proud to announce that the winner of the $1,500 Ameen Rihani Scholarship for 2006 is Lara Christine Tumeh, an American of Syrian-Lebanese descent from Atlanta, GA.


Lara Tumeh Lara Tumeh

It is no simple task to select one person as the winner in a competition when other competitors enjoy many similar successes and exemplary characters. The members of the Ameen Rihani Scholarship Selection Committee have always had to contend with such a challenge, and 2006 was no different year to the committee. Lara Tumeh is an individual who is "provocative and poetic, intelligent and emotionally sensitive, and one who expands her sense of things exponentially", says her English teacher and senior advisor. Her college counselor describes her as "incredibly bright and talented, and fiercly intelligent". During her years in high school, Lara has reached out and shared her time and talent with others in her community by teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and volunteering with the CARE Youth Corps. In May 2006, she received the Excellence in Citizenship Award from the state of Georgia's Secretary of State, and received the high honor of being named the 2006 Valedictorian of The Westminister Schools by the Governor of Georgia. Another passion that Lara has is her love of, and excellence in, playing the piano. She has earned first and second place in numerous state competitions sponsored by the Georgia Music Educators' Association.

Academically, Lara achieved equally outstanding successes. She has obtained a total SAT score of 2390 (out of a maximum of 2400), received six "5s" on her Advanced Placement tests as of May 2006, and has a cumulative high school GPA of 99.95 over 100. This explains her acceptance in top quality universities such as Harvard College, Yale University, Princeton University, and Duke University. She has also been accepted at Emory College in Atlanta, GA, and has received the Edward D. Smith Scholar scholarship award worth over $128,000.

Lara's senior counselor closed her remarks with the following, "Lara Tumeh has all the potential in the world, of the world, and for the world."

The Ameen Rihani Scholarship Committee extends its warms congratulations to Lara!


Runner Up
As stated above, each year the Ameen Rihani Organization receives scholarship applications from a number of highly talented students who will be entering their first year of university studies. Since the Rihani scholarship can only be offered to one student each year, the Scholarship Selection Committee decided that, beginning with 2006, the four runner-ups will be also be recognized.  These individuals have enjoyed similar exemplary characteristics and achievements as those of Lara Tumeh.

The four runner-ups for the 2006 Ameen Rihani Scholarship are:

Yousef Abu Gharbieh, Palestinian-American from Indiana, entering Duke University
Sarah Elghraoui, Lebanese-American from California, entering the University of California in San Diego
Fatma Alzerj, Iraqi-American from Georgia, entering the University of Georgia
Fuad El-Khoury, Lebanese-American from California, entering the University of California in Los Angeles
Congratulations!