Charitable Arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

Chaldean Festival celebrates culture with family fun

C&G News

May 16, 2012

By Jennie Miller
C & G Staff Writer

Chaldean Festival celebrates culture with family funSOUTHFIELD — Southfield’s richly diverse population will be celebrated, and one culture in particular lauded, during the seventh annual Chaldean Festival June 8-10 on the front lawn of City Hall.

The widely popular event draws from not only the 120,000 Chaldeans currently calling metro Detroit home, but also residents of the surrounding communities who wish to celebrate and learn about the Chaldean culture.

“Southfield is a pretty diverse community, so it’s an opportunity for the Chaldean community to showcase and share with other residents traditions and ethnic festivities,” said Sharon Hannawa, program manager for the Chaldean Community Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Southfield, which hosts the annual event. “I think we take a lot of pride in our community, Romeo Ibrahim, 4, of Southfield plays with a this is an excellent opportunity to showcase that and introduce it to the rest of the world.”

The festival will include a full carnival with rides, games and children’s activities, as well as food and merchant booths. It runs 5-10 p.m. June 8, noon-10 p.m. June 9, and noon-10 p.m. June 10.

“What’s most cherished (in our culture) is family, and this is definitely an opportunity for families to come together,” Hannawa said. “There’s also a love of music — Chaldeans love music and … traditional dances like line dancing. People can watch and observe, and then those that are brave enough can join the line as well.”

Chaldeans are a significant part of metro Detroit, and many are business owners in local communities.

“Chaldeans have made a lot of investments here in terms of the impact they make on the local economy,” said Eric Younan, director of strategic initiatives for the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce. “We are heavily invested in the southeast Michigan community. … We are committed to the communities in which we live and work, and we contribute to the local economy. We think it’s important for people to understand who the Chaldeans are (despite many misconceptions). One of the things that separates us from other Middle East ethnicities is that we’re Iraqi Christians. Even though there’s such (large) numbers here, not a lot of people understand that. The Chaldean and the Arab communities — we’re two distinctly different communities with a different dialect and ancestry. We’d like to gain appreciation and awareness.”

The Southfield municipal complex is located at 26000 Evergreen Road. Evergreen will be shut down for the event, from Civic Center Drive to 11 Mile/I-696.

For more information about the festival, or for details about how to get involved as a volunteer or as a sponsor, call the chamber at (248) 996-8340 or email Lisa Kalou at

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jennie Miller at or at (586)279-1108.

Facts about the Chaldean Community:

Launched in 2006 as the charitable arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, the CCF was established to address the rising Iraqi refugee crisis.

The Chaldean Community Foundation provides a multitude of services including housing assistance, English as a second language training, immigration consulting, and employment assistance and training.

The Chaldean Community Foundation services more than 6,000 people each fiscal year.

The Chaldean Community Foundation funds a variety of charitable programs. Because of the support of our members, the foundation has donated more than $300,000 to good works.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Chaldean Community Foundation has established a Refugee Emergency Fund.

The Foundation hosts two major events throughout the year: the annual community Golf Outing and the Chaldean Festival, held in conjunction with the City of Southfield.

The Chaldean Community Foundation has provided more than $300,000 in charitable contributions to various organizations where Chaldeans live, work and worship.

The Foundation has supported and been a part of several initiatives, including workplace development, economic development, refugee assistance, cultural competency training and charitable giving.

The Chaldean Community Foundation provides cultural competency training to corporations and municipalities providing a brief history, an overview of Chaldean culture, faith and language, and the contributions of the community in the United States.

The recent Iraq war has threatened the permanent removal of Chaldeans from their ancestral homeland.

Refugee Mental
Health Services

Supplies much-needed mental health services to Iraqi refugees and others in Southeast Michigan

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Refugee Acculturation & Sustainability Training

Helps refugees of the Iraq War and subsequent religious persecution to acculturate and become less dependent on federal and state subsidies and services

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Breaking Barriers

Provides assistance and advocacy to the disabled.

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Chaldean Loan Fund

ChaldeanLoanFund_LogoProvides low-interest loans to help refugees purchase a car.

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Provides free or reduced cost healthcare to Iraqi Christian and Chaldean refugees without medical insurance though the Chaldean American Association of Health Professionals (CAAHP)

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Waad Murad
Advocacy Fund

Offers a cash reward up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the assailant(s) of violent crimes perpetuated against businesspeople

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Karim Khamarko Memorial Scholarship Fund

baba3 (2)Established in 2012 in honor of Karim Khamarko, who was murdered in 2010 in his place of business, the fund gives scholarship assistance to Chaldean American high school students who have demonstrated academic success… Read more