Mexico LERC Staff
Saturday 26th July, 2014
Director Hourani Presents the Lebanon Dialogue Initiative to Representatives of Lebanese Organizations in Mexico
Dr. Guita Hourani, Director of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC) of Notre Dame University (NDU) arrived in Mexico City on the 25th of July to promote the “Lebanon Land of Dialogue among Civilizations and Cultures” as the Campaign Coordinator. She was received by H. E. Georges Saad Abi Younis, Maronite Bishop of Mexico, Mr. Antonio Trabulse Kaim, LERC Liaison Officer for Mexico and Mr. George Chikhani, a member of the Lebanese community. On Saturday the 26th of July, Dr. Hourani held her first meeting with Mr. Antonio Trabulse Kaim, LERC Liaison Officer, to discuss her schedule in Mexico and to meet his family.
Dr. Hourani at the center with the Trabulse family, (July 2014) During the conversation, Mr. Trabulse mentioned a sentence that became a proverb in Mexico which concerns the Lebanese people. The story goes that on November 21st, 1962, the Centro Libanèse in Mexico City was inaugurated with the presence of the President of Mexico H. E. Adolfo López Mateos, who came to unveil the commemorative plaque with great enthusiasm. The President wrote in the Golden Book the famous sentence “Anyone who does not have a Lebanese friend, must look for one.”
It seems that the sentence was inspired by the relationship with many Lebanese, especially with Mr. Tufic Sayeg Atta, who was born in Zahle and is the brother in law of Mr. Trabulse through marrying his sister Vilma Trabulse Kaim. Mr. Tufic came to Mexico as a child and developed a great affection and friendship with López Mateos. Although the Golden Book was lost in the fire that ravaged the Lebanese Center, the words are engraved in peoples’ minds and on a plaque in the Centro Libanès.
Director Hourani Presents the Lebanon Dialogue Initiative to Representatives of Lebanese Organizations at Centro Libanès.
29 July 2014
LERC Liaison Officer Mr. Antonio Trabulse Kaim invited all the Lebanese Organizations in Mexico to attend a business lunch in which Dr. Guita Hourani, Director of the Lebanese Emigration Research Center and Lebanon Dialogue Initiative Campaign Coordinator at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, presented the Initiative.
The business lunch was held at the Centro Libanés under the auspices of its President Mr. Ricardo Kahwagi Rage and his wife Ms. Amira.
Attendees were the Maronite Bishop of Mexico His Eminence George Saad Abi Younes, Vice President of the Centro Libanés Mr. Jorge Antonio Serio Canaan and his wife, Mr. Antonio Trabulse Kaim and his wife Ms. Marta.
The event began with an introduction by Mr. Trabulse Kaim and a speech by C. L. President Mr. Kahwagi Rage who welcomed Dr. Hourani and declared that he and his Center support the Initiative because of its importance to Lebanon and the Middle East.
Dr. Hourani then gave a speech about the Initiative in English which was read in Spanish by Ms. Martita Trabulse Khouri. In her speech, Dr. Hourani explained the genesis of the idea, the history and rationale behind the idea of Lebanon being a land of dialogue and supported her argument with quotes from various religious leaders in Lebanon and abroad. She then closed by asking all the representatives to promote the Initiative among their members and friends and to encourage them to sign and share the petition.
Following the end of the event, many of the attendees came up to Dr. Hourani and expressed their gratitude for NDU that is spearheading this effort and said that it is encouraging to see that there continue to be an interest in assisting Lebanon to reclaim its vocation as a country of freedom, plurality and conviviality.
Director Hourani meets with the Druze Community of Mexico
July 30 2014
The Lebanese Emigration Research Center Liaison Officer for Mexico Mr. Antonio Trabulse organized a meeting with the Druze Community of Mexico for Dr. Guita Hourani to introduce the Lebanon Dialogue Initiative to them.
The meeting took place at the Centro Libanése in Mexico City. The meeting was presided by the president of the Community Mr. Salman Akabani Hneide. It was attended by members of the Druze community of whom we can mention Mr. Suleiman Al Hassan Akabni, Professor Anwar Said Said, Attorney Alberto Fouad Said, Mr. Faysal Abou El Hessen, Jose Louis Manderas Torbey among others.
Following a welcoming note by Mr. Akabani Hneide, Mrs. Martha Trabulse of the Mexican Lebanese Cultural Institute read Dr. Hourani’s speech in Spanish. A question and answer session followed during which members of the Community expressed their interest in the Initiative and attested to its value. Professor Said took the word and stated that “I read with great interest the LDC Initiative and I welcome this effort which brought me happiness and hope. This Initiative is complete and timely. Its importance is historical because it supports the ultimate search of humanity for harmony among people….” He then went on to declare that Lebanon can achieve much in the Middle East in terms of its experience in conviviality, connectedness, dialogue and understanding especially if it becomes a secular state where by all will be equal before the law and public interest will be above private interest.
Attorney Said then took the floor to state that him and his family endorse the Initiative and then spoke of the role of the Scholar Boutros al Bustani in the renaissance of the 19th century especially in his understanding and conceptualization of what is a “country” that had humanity as its dimension and not religion or ethnicity. He then closed by saying that he hopes that we can achieve the Initiative’s objective in the 21st century.
The meeting was interpreted by Mr. Jihad Radwan Radwan, a Druze from Souaida.
Mexico LERC Staff