Oil in Lebanon

The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) New York and New Jersey Chapters hosted the WLCU world council meeting from 14 November till 18 November 2012

WLCU World President Mr. Michel Doueihi Chaired the meeting along with World Secretary-General Mr. Toni Kaddissi, former World Presidents Bechara Bechara and Anis Garabet, WVP Najib Khoury (Africa) and WVP Elias Kassab (North America and Canada), Regional President for North America and Canada (NA&C) Francois Abou Neeman, Regional President for Europe Roger Hani, RSG for US and Canada Ibrahim Elias, RSG for Latin America Juan Saliba, President of the National Council of France Edmond Abdel Massih, Committee chairpersons and WLCU officials from Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe , Brazil, Latin America, North America and Canada. Anthony Howayek represented the WLCU World Youth Council.

World President opened the World Council meeting welcoming all presents and thanking the President of the Regional Council of North America Francois Abou Neeman, Vice President of the Council Mohammed El Choum (New York), New Jersey Chapter President Murad Cario. The WP congratulated all local members for the success of the meeting despite the difficult circumstances in New York and New Jersey as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

 He said: “Fellow colleagues, sons of Lebanon spread around the world”


Once again we meet as children of the WLCU in New York with one goal in mind to serve the tormented Lebanon. We serve those immigrants who adhere to the land of our fathers and grandfathers. We are faithful and respectful to those homelands who hosted us generation after generation. Since we are in New York, and NY has hosted our bests and brightest we must express our regrets for the damage caused recently by the natural disaster.

I thank all of you for your support to the World Council and its Presidency as without your support we cannot carry out our mission and meet our goals and objectives.

I stand before you here today to thank you.

I stand before you today not only as WP but as a friend and a companion. We carry together common issues, most notably the issues of Lebanon and the rights of its immigrants. The rights that some politicians in Lebanon want eliminated as they eliminated those leaders that believed in Lebanon’s sovereignty, freedom and independence.

I will present to you a report of our activities, and I hope you will provide us with your input and constructive ideas.

We held this past summer the World Youth Conference at the Le Royal Hotel – Lebanon, and a World Council meeting. We held a gala dinner at which we honored former minister Michel Edde, President of the Maronite Foundation abroad.

The Gala dinner was sponsored by the Bank of Beirut represented by its Chairman of the Board Mr. Salim Sfeir we thanked him for his generous support and for the successful event.

We cooperated for the first time with the Municipality of Dhour Choueir, under the Leadership of Mr. Elias Bou Saab, for the election of Miss Expatriates. Miss Patricia Geagea representing the expatriates from Sweden won the title of the Beauty Queen. Moreover the purpose of the occasion is to highlight an image of our people in a country seeking peaceful life and joy in the land of light and beauty that is Lebanon.

Last but not least we took part at the unparalleled and successful WLCU Youth Conference in Argentina.

I have talked repeatedly about the youth because I believe that the new generation is the one who will build the new Lebanon, the country of culture, ideas and aspirations therefore I call for their support by all means. The youths represent the future of Lebanon they are energized, able, vital and robust. Hence, I suggest we dedicate a permanent seat for the Youth at the World Council.

Dear colleagues the youth are expecting to be part of a harmonious and elegant institution I urge you to work together positively with an open mind accepting each other. The Land of the Holy Cedar is burning it is counting on us for a brighter future.

I come from Australia and I bring with me the greetings of the colleagues of the Regional Council and its members headed by Tony Yacoub and WVP Joe Arida and you come from all over the world so let us all say with one voice we are for the Lebanon of the parents and grandparents, for Lebanon the beauty and peace and not for Lebanon with war and sectarian violence for the sovereign Lebanon and for a successful World Lebanese Cultural Union for our children and grandchildren.

“Long live the World Lebanese Cultural Union and Long Live Lebanon.”

Following the WP speech there were administrative and financial reports, regional and continental council reports, past accomplishments and planned future activities. Thereafter conferees embarked on studying the Lebanese Electoral Law to be adopted and the rights of citizens abroad. At the end of the session the World Council issued the following recommendations:

1.         Internal recommendations:

a.         The World Youth Conference held in Buenos Aires last October was a remarkable success it coincided with the official visit of His Excellency President Michel Suleiman to Argentina, where he received, noted and recognized these WLCU youngsters (JUCAL) and their instrumental effort for the success of his visit to Argentina. The WLCU World President and WSG were present at the World Youth Conference and decided to call for an international conference for the Youth to be held in Lebanon during the month of August 2013 coupled with visits to the cities of Lebanese heritage, culture and tourism.

b.         Coming to a conclusion is the construction of the library dedicated to Gibran Khalil Gibran and the preparation of the arena honoring the poet in the city of Caracas, conferees decided to participate in the opening ceremony of this remarkable work sponsored by the WLCU National Council of Venezuela, headed by Michel Assaf with a delegation headed by World President Michel Doueihi.

c.         The World Council authorized all councils across the globe to prepare the elections of Miss Immigrants and choose their representatives for the Miss Immigrants event to be organized and will be held by the Municipality of Dhour Choueir– Ain Sendianeh during the summer of 2013.

d.         Following the discussion of the World Council and General Secretariat proposals the conferees approved the action plan for the next stage.


2.         Lebanese National recommendations:

a.         Conferees studied and evaluated the election draft law submitted by the Lebanese government with regard to the vote “non-resident Lebanese citizen” after thorough discussion putting the interests of Lebanon and Lebanese first, the rights and duties of citizens abroad, participants suggested the following:

i.          Conferees supported and praised his Excellency President Michel Suleiman for his persistence on giving expatriates the right to vote and exercise their rights and duties as citizens equally to those residing in the country.

ii.         Conferees suggested ulterior motive in the government’s proposal to establish voting district for citizens abroad to be represented by six MP. Conferees consider the move an attempt to transfer internal political strife to citizens abroad and to remove the votes of immigrants from their native villages and areas. Conferees suggested their refusal to such law on behalf of their constituents abroad.

iii.        Conferees insisted that any new laws should include a mechanism coordinated by the ministry of the Interior and the ministry of Immigrants to give Lebanese descendants their citizenship rights in order to vote.

In conclusion the attendees wanted to draw the attention of the Lebanese government in general, the Cultural Ministry in particular and the Department of Antiquities to the ongoing destruction of historical homes and neighborhoods; changing the archeological aspect of the city of Tripoli.

In an Initiative to express solidarity between the WLCU in Mexico and Lebanese Center in Mexico City, which is one of the largest and most important social Lebanese Clubs in the world, Club president Mr. Jamie Tohme entrusted former World President Bechara Bechara to deliver on behalf of the club a Souvenir Post Stamp issued by the government of Mexico. During a dinner honoring the Mexican President at the Lebanese Club Mr. Felipe Calderon delivered the commemorating post stamp to the Lebanese Club and the Lebanese Community in that country.

On the last evening of the conference, New York and New Jersey chapter held a gala dinner in honor of the World President, conference attendees and members of the community. During the event the WLCU honored former president Anis Garabet for his work and continued support. The WP presented Mr. Garabet a commemorating plaque on the occasion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.