News & Media

March 9 and 10, 2012
The Lebanese Presence Worldwide I

On March 9 and 10, 2012, under the High Patronage of His Excellency the President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Sleiman, The Institute of History, in collaboration with the Vice-President’s Office for International Relations, The Faculty of Letters and The Centre of Studies and Cultures of Latin America at The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), organized, on the occasion of Emigrant World Day, a First International Colloquium entitled ‘The Lebanese Presence Worldwide’.

Following the Lebanese National Anthem and the welcome speech by Dr. Louis Honeini, Rev. Fr. Jean Maroun Mghammes, Director of USEK Institute of History, considered that
“…the history of Lebanese emigration is a long and gradual process of civilization, which has carried the history and culture of the Lebanese people beyond borders and granted the homeland a distinguished human and universal identity”. He stated that “…at the heart of a world with continuous mutations, often surprising ones, the Lebanese emigrants did not spare any means to expand their flexible culture, which was solidly entrenched in them, making their continuous movements an immortal citizenship to the world”. Fr. Mghammes also underlined the fact that “…thanks to this blessed core called the ‘Lebanese emigrants’, scattered worldwide, assuming positions of responsibility in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia, Europe and Africa, they have set up a new language, a universal one, as a message of openness and dialogue, therefore, shortening distances, and bringing peoples and nations closer to each other”. He pointed out that “The Lebanese emigrants bore Lebanon as a cross and they contributed, as politicians, businessmen, men of science and letters, men of culture and communication, historians and thinkers, to the emergence of a Lebanese civilization. This civilization, generating love and respect of the ‘other’, serves as an essential model of multiculturalism and joins the different races, languages and religions together. …In this sense, we are led to believe that Lebanese emigrants have applied the maxim of His Holiness Pope John Paul II ‘Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message’ ”.

In his speech, and on behalf of the President of the University, Rev. Fr. Karam Rizk, Vice-President of USEK, thanked the President of the Republic for the patronage he had granted the colloquium. He also praised the efforts of H.E. Mr. Adnan Mansour, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, who was keen to deal with all issues related to emigrants and who, regarding this subject, encouraged all studies, conferences and colloquiums held. Fr. Rizk noted that, regardless of the causes, motives and objectives that had forced Lebanese to emigrate, they had been able to peacefully build a great empire; an empire built without any kind of arms and equipped solely with values and ethics.

In his concluding speech, at the end of the opening session, H.E. Mr. Adnan Mansour, representing the President of the Republic, stated that the worldwide Lebanese presence had acquired a political, economic and cultural dimension; this presence had reached its peak in the first half of the 20th century, wherein immigrants prevailed intellectually in the American continent, through literary associations, which emerged with the Pen League in North America, and the Andalusian League in South America. He added that the Lebanese presence did not stop at this point, since nowadays Lebanon has immense human worldwide potential that covers the economic, financial, political, intellectual and scientific sectors. Such Lebanese play a key role in serving Lebanon, supporting its causes and contributing to its development and reconstruction. H.E. Mr. Adnan Mansour also pointed out that the Lebanese government had recently achieved progress in terms of involving such emigrants within Lebanon’s political life, thereby providing all necessary facilities for their successful participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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