The WLCU World Council Meeting in Mexico (May 2000)
Organizational decisions, preparations for the next congress, follow up committees and patriotic recommendations.
On May 12 and 13, 2000, a world meeting of the national chapters of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) took place in Mexico City at the invitation of the National Council of Mexico. The World meeting, which met as a World Council meeting discussed the various organizational, institutional and Administrative issues of the WLCU. In addition the world meeting discussed the situation of the Lebanese communities around the world as well as the Developments in Lebanon. In its inaugural session, the meeting introduced four ex-Presidents of the WLCU, as well as Lebanon’s ambassador to Mexico.
Mr. Alejandro Kuri, Chairman of the meeting introduced the past presidents, the president of the Mexico Chapters as well as Ambassador Nouhad Mahmoud, Mr. Bechara Bechara. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Bechara, President of the national Council of the WLCU in Mexico said the presence of all those delegates “lights the fire within our heart, to leave our children a sole inheritance called Lebanon”, he spoke of the “obligation to consolidate the WLCU, it will Consolidate our right to have free speech, and vote as Lebanese citizens in the world”.
He insisted on a WLCU which would stress on Lebanon’s true Identity. A union which would help Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty. That teaches history to the new generations. Bechara called on a union which Would be independent and autonomous. His Excellency Nouhad Mahmoud (Lebanese Ambassador to Mexico) thanked the Conference organizers and hoped “it will be fruitful and successful in resuming the role of the Lebanese communities over the world”. He noted the negative effects of the long years of war in Lebanon and hoped the Diaspora would assist in the relief effort. “This meeting is an act of faith in your identity, and a quest for maintaining solid and continuous contacts with Lebanon and the Lebanese people, this meeting should produce concrete suggestions to the government to re-establish the emigrant institutions and to define their role in keeping alive and vibrant the Lebanese presence wherever there are Lebanese descendants. The government position is to leave every Community to organize itself and to elect its representatives in order to Have an efficient organization”. Ambassador Mahmoud explained the important Role of the WLCU in building bridges with Lebanon and in reorganizing the Diaspora”. Former ambassador Joseph Naffah explained the important activities undergone in several countries of the Diaspora including in the US and Mexico. He underlined the importance of teaching the history and culture of Lebanon to the new generations overseas.
The world meeting was attended by past Presidents Emilio Harun Tohme, Jose Kamel, Anuar Kuri, Sami Khoury, and messages of support were sent by Naji Naim and Georges Antoine who endorsed the meeting via a fax message.
Chairmen, leaders and representatives from the various continents and regions attended including: Edward Nahas, Anis Garabet, Joseph Hage, Norman Lahage (USA), Toni Kaddisi (Brasil), Laurice Ashkar, Juan Saliba, Ernesto Saliba, Juan Alem, Ernesto Saliba jr. (Argentina), Sami Khoury (Ecuador), George Yammine (Venezuela),Dr Nick Kahwaji (Canada), Michel Douaihi (Australia), Bechara Bechara, Jorge Nassif, Julian Bustani, Alejandro Kuri, Talel Bechara, Antonio Karam, Elia Chedrawi, David Barudi, Nicolas Atala, Jose Japur, Gabriel Chimeli (Mexico), Other leaders addressed the conference via phone, faxes and emails including Rachid Rahme (UK), Joseph Gergi (Sweden), Joseph Barakat (Italy), Rafael Haikel Rossel (Chili), Alberto Cheker (Uruguay) and others.
Discussions which lasted two days covered the various ways and means to reorganize the union and establish new grounds for a new start. The Participants insisted on the fact that a new constitution is needed to cope With the developments and needs. Decisions and resolutions The world meeting issued decisions and resolutions
1.- Form a conference committee which will prepare for the next world Conference. The committee, formed by the world council includes:
Anis Garabet and Nick Kahwaji (North America).
Tony Kaddissi and Eli Nasrallah (Brazil).
Michel Douaihy and Joe Arida (Australia).
Bechara Bechara and Alberto Cheker (Hispanic America).
Rachid Rahme and Joseph Gergi (Europe).
The committee will contact the national councils in Africa to have them represented by two members.
2.- The next conference will be held in Mexico or Lebanon, the WLCU National Council of Mexico will be in charge of the local arrangements.
3.- Mr. Bechara Bechara was appointed as coordinator for the world Conference committee and spokesperson for it.
4.- A commission for the review of the constitution and the bylaws was formed, attorney Rafael Haikel Rossel was appointed as coordinator.
5.- Formation of a Youth committee where Mr Juan Saliba jr. was appointed as coordinator.
6.- A committee for international and media contact was formed and will be based in the United States.
The world meeting issued a number of resolutions pertaining to Diaspora and Lebanese issues. A special resolution was voted with regards the Developments in south Lebanon. The resolution welcomed the Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, expressed concerns as to the safety of the Local civilian populations as well as of the detainees in the Khiam prison, And urged the united nations to play a powerful role in the process on all levels including economic and social assistance to that area. The ministry on foreign affairs to address the problem of the employees of the Central Secretariat General of the WLCU in Beirut. At the end of the conference, ambassador Mahmoud gave a reception in honor of the participants. On Sunday, the participants were invited to attend a special service at the Maronite Church honoring Saint Charbel. The service Was headed by Bishop Peter Tayyah.
The WLCU world council meeting was prepared by Mr Bechara Georges Bechara (WLCU National Council president) and Dr Nick kahwaji (Assistant Secretary general for USA & Canada).It took 10 months of intensive contact with various leaders to convince them to join the effort to restart the WLCU by its own means.