Inauguration of Kahlil Gibran Cultural Space in Caracas | Venezuela | Feb 2, 2013

Gibran cultural space


In 1862, the Lebanese arrived to the Venezuelan territory. From that moment, Lebanese success stories had begun to emerge. The Lebanese community became an integral part of the components of the Venezuelan society.

Although the total number of Lebanese immigrants in Venezuela did not exceed half a million immigrants, they have proven to be a distinctive and efficient presence compared to the other communities that also migrated to the country in the mid-nineteenth century.

After 150 years, the World Lebanese Cultural Union of Venezuela (UCLV, Presided by Michel Assef) want to commemorate this anniversary. This initiative is considered to be a token of appreciation to the Venezuelan people for embracing the Lebanese community during these long years.

The «UCLV » signed a cooperation agreement with the Municipality of Caracas, made on the basis of donating a municipal land (area of ​​1300 square meters) in one of the most beautiful suburbs of the capital in return for a UCLV fundraising campaign to create a square and a public library carrying the name of Kahlil Gibran. The square of Gibran will also house a statue of the philosopher, a raised Lebanese flag, and his words will be carved on the walls of the Library.

The project began in April of 2008 and construction began in 2010. At present, we are in the process of inaugurating the larger Gibran plaza in the Diaspora on February 2, 2013, under the auspices of the Lebanese Minister of Culture Gaby Layon.

In this regard, the head of the UCLV, Mr Michel Assaf, said in an interview to Al-Safir, that “the cost of the project, until now, amounted to more than half a million dollars, a result of a purely Lebanese fundraising campaign.”

He explains «The Initial project was presented to several municipalities and the Caracas municipality agreed primarily because its president is a fan of Gibran in particular and the Lebanese in general.

He mentioned that he went to Beirut two months ago and met with Minister Layon which confirmed the auspices of the Ministry for the project.

Michel  Assaf said that «the project faced great difficulties and many obstacles, but we decided not to go back and to keep  working  toward the implementation of the project .Today we accomplished  our original plan”, stressing that “the UCLV  was keen to expand the circle of donors to reach the largest possible number of Lebanese, from all backgrounds..”

The new library will contain all acts of Gibran, in addition to the work of Lebanese and Venezuelan writers and historians, to show the cultural face of Lebanon and establish ways of cultural interaction with the Venezuelan people.

In the end, Michel  Assaf  strongly stated  to the “Lebanese press”  that they have “failed the Lebanese community in Venezuela”, and urges them to come  and see that  “we are working for the sake of Lebanon even more than Lebanese ministries.

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