News & Media

November 8 and 9, 2012
The Centenary of the First Arab Congress in Paris, June 1913

On November 8 and 9, 2012, the Faculty of Letters at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik organized conference entitled: “The Centenary of the First Arab Congress in Paris, June 1913” under the patronage and with presence of the Minister of Culture, H.E. Gaby Layoun, and held in the Conference Hall at the University main campus.

The following important guests attended this event: Brigadier General, Ali Halawi representing the Minister of Defense H.E. Fayez Ghosen; H.E. the Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Inan Ozyildiz, the President of USEK, Reverend Father Hady Mahfouz; his assistant and the Dean of the Faculty of Letters, Rev. Fr. Karam Rizk; members of the University Council, as well as researchers, professors and students.

Following the welcome speech delivered by Dr. Marianne Njeim, Rev. Fr. Karam Rizk arose to speak, stating: “The first Arab Congress in Paris held from June 17 to 21, 1913, was a prominent and daring political event at that time that gathered the elite of Arab intellectuals, political figures and journalists.” Rev. Fr. Rizk went on to present the conditions that led to the organization of this Congress and explained how these conditions led today to the “Arab Spring” calling for change, respect of human rights as well as democracy. He concluded by saying that: “Changing presidents, regimes and constitutions only do not make the change, but there is a need for awareness, education, morals, integrity and other values in order to build peace, tranquility and joy.”

The President of the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Rev. Fr. Hady Mahfouz considered such events reflect the seriousness of the academic work at the University and praised the efforts of Rev. Fr. Rizk in his academic work that resulted in the organization of this conference. He added that “A hundred years ago, Arab figures gathered in Paris to serve a specific cause through education, truth, integrity, honesty and goodness”, and concluded that it is necessary to learn more from this Congress for the sake of Lebanon and said: “let us learn meeting to learn how to create a dialogue as well as openness, and seek goodness and love.”

The Minister of Culture, H.E. Mr. Gaby Layoun, considered that such events as one of the purposes of his Ministry and the pillars for success in making connections and ties. He added: “One hundred years ago, Arab figures gathered to put an end to an era of the history of the Arab region and called for renaissance.” He stated that it is necessary to draw lessons from that Congress for it has called to renounce religious intolerance and to come up with a unified Arab stand in order to defend the mutual Arab identity and the rights to freedom and independence.

The opening session was brought to a close by Rev. Fr. Hady Mahfouz who presented to Minister Layoun the University medal.

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