Acclaimed actor Haaz Sleiman is the latest cultural ambassador to join forces with the Levantine Cultural Center. Haaz recently took his talent "across the pond" to star as "Omar Habash" in The Promise, a ground-breaking Channel 4 2011 mini-series that premiered in the UK, and just received a coveted BAFTA nomination for its gritty depiction of the founding of Israel through the eyes of a British soldier in 1947 and his granddaughter retracing his steps nearly 60 years later. The LCC will be screening The Promise, fall-winter 2012.
British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi (Master of Ceremonies) has worked on feature films such as Charlie Wilson's War, Iron Man, and Paul Haggis's new feature film, The Next Three Days, starring Russell Crowe.
On the small screen she first became widely known for portraying Nurse Leyla Mir on ABC's Emmy Award®-winning, General Hospital, for which she received an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series.
She is credited as being the first actor in a contract role to portray a Middle Eastern character in U.S. daytime history.
She has recurred and Guest Starred on several primetime shows including 24 on FOX, ABC's The Deep End, The Game on the CW, and TNT's new medical drama, Hawthorne.
As a devoted human rights activist and an Official Spokesperson for Amnesty International USA, she has campaigned for the rights of people across the world, particularly in her homeland of Iran.
International vocalist Sussan Deyhim is a natural cultural ambassador, floating between worlds and realms in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, performing in diverse genres including opera, jazz, experimental and Iranian traditional. Born in Teheran to an old aristocratic family and the youngest of 11 children, Sussan Deyhim's upbringing during the rule of the Shah of Iran was ultra-progressive. Her father was an economist, scientist and violinist; her house was filled with every conceivable style of music, old and new. Her life was consumed with ballet and her teacher was a choreographer who combined works by Stockhausen and Bartók with traditional and folk Persian music. Summers were spent at a special dance and arts camp at the Caspian Sea, and at the Shiraz Festival, the largest avant-garde gathering in the country, which featured the likes of Robert Wilson, John Cage and the Living Theater.
By the time she met Maurice Bejart and was offered a scholarship to attend his School of Performing Arts in Brussels, Deyhim had been exposed to an amazing variety of music: from India, Egypt, Andalusia, and every part of her own country-the African-influenced styles and trance ceremonies of the south, Saudi Arabian, Kurdish, Luristani, Baluchistani, Afghani and the immigrant tribes of the central regions.
Deyhim studied and performed with Bejart's Ballet of the Twentieth Century and had been dancing with the company for almost two years when she moved to New York and plunged into dance classes, only to realize that ballet was no longer her calling. Her opportunity arrived when she met and began working with Richard Horowitz, a musician, composer and producer schooled in free jazz, steeped in the music of Morocco and many other forms of what would become known as "world music." Their collaboration would produce Majou" for Sony Classical, a unique synthesis that married the strains of traditional Middle Eastern music with cutting edge technology and a progressive sensibility.
Her appearances have ranged from productions such as John Claude van Italie's Tibetan Book of the Dead at La Mama in New York to playing Euridice at La Scala in Milan, to performing with Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble to recording and performing as a soloist with Bobby McFerrin's vocal ensemble. Deyhim has performed the music for several Shirin Neshat films and continues to travel the world as a highly-sought after vocal artist. Visit her site.
Among her latest projects, a guest-starring role on FOX's new TV show Touch starring Kiefer Sutherland, a part in the film Sex and the City 2, a series regular role on the TV drama The Young and the Restless as well as guest starring roles on CSI: Miami and Rizzoli & Isles.
She's hosted LBC's hit pan-Arab TV show Mission Fashion and appeared in Lebanon's first box-office success Bosta. She's also played the female lead in Nidal Achkar's critically-acclaimed play To Hell with Meryl Streep in both Beirut and Paris.
Raya has lived in eight different countries and is fluent in five languages. She is also an author and a performance artist.
Raya Meddine has been a cultural ambassador for the Levantine Cultural Center since 2009, helping bridge gaps between the US and the Middle East through the arts and entertainment industry. Her alter ego is Burkawoman. You can follow her on Twitter @burkawoman1 or you can check out her Burkawoman blog—"for every woman who wants to shed her burka and reveal the super hero within."
Necar Zadegan has been active with Levantine Cultural Center since 2007, most recently performing poetry in
Ahmed Ahmed is an Egyptian American comic whose penetrating insight into Arabs and the USA will leave you in stitches. He has been a cultural ambassador to the Levantine Cultural Center since 2003 when he and Aron Kader entertained audience members at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre during "From Al-Andalus to Jerusalem." Winner of the Richard Pryor Award for Ethic Comedy, Ahmed has performed in the "Axis of Evil" Comedy Tour and at The Comedy Store. He has also appeared at world-famous comedy venues such as the Laugh Factory and The Improv, and he regularly tours the Middle East, doing stand-up comedy in cities like Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and even Riyadh. He has shared the stage with Vince Vaughn, Maz Jobrani and many others. Richard Pryor said of Ahmed, "he makes people confront their own racism and small minds—I see genius in this man."
Ahmed was born in Helwan, Egypt on June 27th, 1970. His parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was one month old and he grew up in Riverside, CA. He moved to Hollywood when he was 19 to pursue a career as an actor and stand-up comedian. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and studied with acting coaches Cliff Osmond, Ivana Chubbuck and Sandy Marshall.
He can be seen in such films and television shows as Iron Man, You Don't Mess With the Zohan, Swingers, Tracey Takes On, Roseanne, JAG, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central, MTV's PUNK'D, and on the Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD bonus features performing stand-up comedy. He has also appeared on CNN, The View, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and NPR, and was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in December of 2001. Recently, he can be seen in the film City of Life, the first feature film to be shot entirely in Dubai, U.A.E., which will be premiering at the Dubai International Film Festival this year.