Niagara Foundation publicly recognizes outstanding achievements of those recipients who have distinguished themselves in their profession, time, energy, expertise and service to humanity. The awards are based on a variety of factors, including community service, education, community educational involvement, professional and community honors, business and professional leadership, media and educational honors.
November 15th, 2012
6:30 – 9:00 pm
Embassy Suites Southfield Detroit
28100 Franklin Rd, Southfield, MI 48034
Niagara Leadership Award: Daniel Krichbaum
Director, Michigan Civil Rights Commission
Dan Krichbaum was appointed Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission on July 26, 2010. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Krichbaum served former Governor Jennifer M. Granholm as her chief operating officer for three years. In this position, Dr. Krichbaum focused on the Governor’s efforts to streamline and reform government, bringing together public and private sector interests to make government more cost effective and business-friendly.
Among many efforts, he served as the Governor’s point person for the expansion of Cobo Convention Center and created the Cobo Authority to run the Center; developed the Shared Services Initiative and created a Task Force composed of unions, counties, townships, cities and other stakeholders that were instrumental in implementing the initiative; created as Director of the Civil Rights Department the Michigan Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights composed of thirty government and private organizations across the state.
Prior to joining the Granholm administration, Dr. Krichbaum served as President and CEO of Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, formerly The National Conference of Christians and Jews, where he had served since July 1996. MRDI is a non-profit organization that promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures. New initiatives in race relations, workplace diversity, and interfaith relations resulted in the organization receiving a number of awards including the Lucent Technology Foundation’s recognition of the Roundtable as one of the top ten youth diversity programs in the country.
Prior to his service at the Roundtable, Dr. Krichbaum was Executive Vice President for WTVS Channel 56, Detroit’s public television station, where he was responsible for the station’s fundraising and educational projects on parenting, youth violence, and community affairs programming.
Dr. Krichbaum also served Mayor Coleman Young as Director of Recreation & Parks for the City of Detroit from 1976 to 1993, where he facilitated the building of the Riverfront Parks east of the Renaissance Center as well as ten new community centers throughout the city. In 1986, United Way Community Services named him Executive of the Year in the non-profit community.
Dr. Krichbaum is a graduate of The College of Wooster with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and is an ordained United Methodist Minister. In 1976 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Wayne State University. Dr. Krichbaum lives in Bingham Farms with his wife, Susan. He is the father of four grown children.
Niagara Peace Award: Rev. Michail T. Curro
Executive Director, Interfaith Center for Racial Justice
For over four decades the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ) has been building bridges of understanding between people of different cultures and religious traditions.
Rev. Curro joined the ICRJ in August 2006. Initiated by metropolitan Detroit religious leaders in 1968 in response to the Kerner Commission Report which followed a summer of racial disturbances—including the July 1967 civil disorder in the City Detroit—and which concluded that “our society is moving toward two societies, one Black and one White—separate and unequal,” ICRJ has evolved to provide a consistent voice for unity. Partnering with local
congregations, businesses, labor, other community organizations, and schools ICRJ aims to change hearts and minds through innovative programming and its annual MLK Holiday Celebration of Macomb County. With his leadership ICRJ’s annual MLK Holiday Celebration has grown to over 1,200 participants. During his tenure ICRJ has developed the innovative Listen, Learn, & Live (LLL) program, Interfaith Breakfast Seminar, launched the LLL Summer Camp for Teenagers, and initiated the resolution “Affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality, and Justice” to build bridges of understanding among people of different cultures and faith traditions. Rev. Curro is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He began his professional career as a congregation based community organizer and has been involved in social justice and interfaith work for over two decades.
Niagara Media Award: Carol Cain
Senior Producer/Host CBS62's 'Michigan Matters', Columnist, Detroit Free Press
Carol Cain is an Emmy Award winning journalist who is Senior Producer and Host of “Michigan Matters” — the weekly show airing 11:30 am Sundays on CBS62 that features politics, business, education and more.
She is also assisting the CBS station with its award-winning “Eye on the Future” community effort. As part of that she has written, produced and hosted prime time TV specials that have included: “Building Bridges: From The Great Lakes To The Great Wall,” “Powering Michigan’s Future,” “Rx for Michigan,” and Reinventing Michigan.”
She has hosted “Michigan Matters” since its debut eight years ago. It features regular panelists Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Denise Ilitch. And she has guests including: Govs. Snyder, Granholm, Blanchard and Engler, China’s Ambassador to the U.S., Rev. Jesse Jackson, County Executives Robert Ficano, Mark Hackel, and countless local, national and international political, education and community leaders.
She is a columnist at Detroit Free Press, writing about business and politics on Sundays. A prolific writer, she pens columns for the Michigan Chronicle, Dome magazine, CBS News and other publications.
She also offers her commentaries on politics, business and social issues for local and national broadcast outlets.
Ms Cain is actively involved in the community and putting a spotlight on opening the lines of communicatios for better understanding and welcoming of diversity of all kinds.
She has been moderator of The Michigan Chronicle’s “Pancakes and Politics” since its start seven years ago. and has moderated important conversations for the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and countless other organizations,
Born in Detroit, she attended Detroit Public Schools, obtained her BA from Michigan State University and her MBA from the University of Michigan.
Niagara Education Award: Dr. Mary Sue Coleman
President, University of Michigan
Mary Sue Coleman has led the University of Michigan since being appointed its 13th president in August 2002. As president, she has unveiled several major initiatives that will have an impact on future generations of students, the intellectual life of the campus, and society at large. These initiatives include the interdisciplinary richness of the U-M, student residential life, the economic vitality of the state and nation, global engagement, and the value of innovation and creativity.
Time magazine has named her one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents.” President Coleman holds several higher education leadership positions at the national level. She currently serves as chair of the Association of American Universities.
President Obama selected her as one of six university presidents to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government. And in 2010, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named her co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Under President Coleman’s leadership, the University has launched and expanded academic partnerships with universities in China, Ghana and South Africa.
From 1995-2002, Dr. Coleman was president of the University of Iowa. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina.
Editor of the Michigan Chronicle and Author of 'Obama and Black Loyalty'
Bankole Thompson is the Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle. He is a Senior Author-in-Residence at Global Mark Makers Publishing House in Iowa where he is writing a groundbreaking six-part book series on the Obama presidency. His book “Obama and Black Loyalty” published in 2010 follows his recent book “Obama and Christian Loyalty” with a foreword by Bob Weiner former White House spokesman. His forthcoming books in 2012 are “Obama and Jewish Loyalty” and “Obama and Business Loyalty.” He is the first editor of a major African American newspaper to have a series of sit-down interviews with Barack Obama. Thompson is also a Senior Political News Analyst at WDET-101.9FM Detroit (NPR Affiliate) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening round table on WLIB-1190AM New York and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut.
M. Fethullah Gulen
Honorary President, Niagara Foundation
M. Fethullah Gulen was born in the small village of Korucuk, in Erzurum Province, Eastern Turkey, in November 1938. Known by his simple and austere life style, Mr. Gulen has been from his earliest years a gifted Islamic scholar and thinker, and a creative writer and poet. His father taught him Arabic, and initiated in him his profound love of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his Companions. Later he continued his studies under the guidance of some of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Eastern Turkey. He received further training in the religious sciences.
Mr. Gulen, so distinguished himself that he was asked to begin teaching when he was only fifteen. He did so while continuing his studies in the religious sciences. Blessed with extraordinary oratory skills, even at young age, Gulen was recognized as one of the more accomplished Islamic preachers in the early 1950s, mentioned in the same breath with some of the more learned scholars, many years his senior, in Eastern Anatolia.
Gulen devoted his life trying to solve society’s ills and spiritual sufferings, and inspired the establishment of many charitable organizations to serve the welfare of the underprivileged. He published a number of well-known books, most of which remain on the best seller list in Turkey, and have also been translated into English. These include The Infinite Light, Questions, Towards the Lost Paradise, and Truth through Colors.
At a time when humanity is in a desperate need of leaders and role models, we find a true innovator and an inspirational leader as well as a deeply good man in M. Fethullah Gulen.
When he retired from formal teaching studies in 1980 he had inspired a whole generation of young students, many of whom are leaders in their communities today and of course, Niagara Foundation itself, especially they are the purpose of this evening, all based upon the work of this man.