Dr Nick Kahwaji (Past WSG) speech in the opening day, and in the second day of Costa Rica World Council meeting
Being a member and as the former WLCU General Secretary, I would like to address today, the same concerns brought earlier by our president about WLCU financial situation. Einstein once said: “We can never solve our problems with the same flawed thinking mentality that brought those problems on us, in the first place. We have to recreate a new way of thinking to find a solution”.
Over the last 18 years, I had the privilege to learn and deal firsthand from my fellow previous WLCU Secretary Generals, Mr Nabil Harfouche,Mr Badawi Aboudib,Mr Joseph Younes”. This close relationship and my deep expertise in WLCU web site files, allows me today to address the following:
Today, we have five WLCU geographical Regions that strictly follow our “International Bylaws” except the sixth Region represented by Brazil.
Brazil, stands by its own, and is ruled by its local bylaws and do not comply with the WLCU International By-laws.
WLCU has no executive powers on the Brazilian Region, knowing that the same Region is represented by an executive member in the WLCU body!
For example, our Secretary General Mr Tony Kaddissi, does not have the right to ask the main Brazilian entity to register their clubs in the secretariat general of the WLCU, knowing that the Barzilian entity is legally an independent organization registered under the name of “The Confederations of Libano-Brazilian Clubs”. The relationship between the WLCU and the Confelibra is based on a signed memorandum between WLCU and the CONFELIBRA .No one to interfere in the internal affairs of the other part.
Today we need to renew our bylaws on new basis,upon in agreement in the 5 regions,after that a new relationship to be made with a renovated Confelibra.
There is bigger region then others,but the largest chapter to help the smallest one ,and the strong to give help the weak, and not take from it.
WLCU On New Crossroads.
During the 17th WLCU Convention, the renowned attorney Mr. Steve Stanton,
Was appointed to rewrite the WLCU bylaws in accordance with the United Nation’s Declaration. The new document should entitle WLCU for a “Trade Mark”.
Below, are the outlines of the draft as proposed by Stanton:
WLCU on a Crossroads
A Government from the People to The people or a government runs by a Minority over a Majority?
The core of these new bylaws is the concept of “Corporate Governance”. This new concept can insure the avoidance of the old WLCU mistakes and help provide strong foundations for a new WLCU by:
– A completely new Constitution, containing not only the organic constituents of what a constitution should be for effectively a transnational body, such as the WLCU; and
– A Constitution that, of itself, has within the one document all internal and external powers and procedures that will give a uniformity and a homogeneity to the Constitution, irrespective of race, so that each and every member throughout the Diaspora identifies with the body in question.
Our presence today-in this consultative meeting- is to patch up on our old bylaws, in order to secure the success of the upcoming18th WLCU Congress, to elect a new president and appoint a new Secretary general while waiting for the official approval of Stanton’s new bylaws and its amendment,.
Remarks on the bylaws amendments between 2001-2009:
Despite the good intentions, those amendments came very short, and did not translate the essence of our bylaws, due to the lack of legal translation and many times because of personal and bias interpretations. Article 16 is a very good example of the discomfort and misunderstandings often encountered when the nuances of the Arabic original texts are ignored in the English translation.
Neither me Dr Kahwaji, nor my colleagues, Mr Elie Hakmeh, Anis Garabet, Alejandro Kuri and others, ever had the expertise and the deep understanding of the bylaws, hence our common disaccord. There is no intention or need to renew the strife among us, let us all refer to one single WLCU approved, voted legal translation text once for all. And from now on, in case of any disagreement, we should refer to our respective lawyers from each side, if we are unable to solve the issues. I have no intention to ostracize or offend any existing member, specially our Brazilian one.
In the meantime, and while waiting for Stanton’s final report, and for arbitration matters, as suggested by article 18, to refer and stick to the use the original 1994 Arabic copy of the bylaws.
At the end, I would like to reconfirm that the WLCU elections rules and bylaws are very clear, especially regarding electoral rights for all chapters. Also I suggest that the board of trustees of the WLCU should be given wider executive powers, with the possibility to appoint an independent, non WLCU linked legal body for arbitration.
Dr Kahwaji’s remarks in Costa Rica;s second day convention:
I would suggest for the future, and because of the tremendous travel expenses involved, that the “World Council”, be replaced by “Skype Video Conference” (used for the Immigrant Stamp release) and give the chance for more participants, and avoid the counter productivity of the same people-who form the world congress and the world council- who can afford traveling, voting, deciding unfairly in place of other disadvantaged absent members…The saved money could be used for better cause.
I would also draw your attention on what I meant by “Ladies from Lebanese Descent” committee. Those Ladies are our daughters married to non-Lebanese, but despite the fact that their kids are not entitled to the Lebanese identity, they should be given the right place at WLCU because of their vital role and willingness to preserve and instill their love of the Lebanese Heritage into the hearts of their children.
We need to stop bickering about the bylaws, and leave the legal job to the experts, and start thinking about the real problems facing our mother country: more than 2 million Syrians are already in our precarious unbalanced demographic country!
Also, and despite of our affiliation and representation, it is very urgent to come forward and present some proposals to the ECOSOC organization, before losing our “Consultative Status” .
And finally, I would like to invite all previous presidents, to not act upon WLCU with this mercantile mentality of an exclusive ownership. They could be the custodians of this precious organization, and it is expected from all of them and from all of us to provide WLCU our outmost reverence and devotion.
And finally, congratulation to CELIBAL for its renewed efforts and contribution in revitalizing cultural activities sector, and wish them good luck.