As the first year of my election comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity
to again thank the entire WLCU family in North America (USA and Canada) for their support and confidence in me. This fall, we completed the first year of implementation of our Strategic Plan, (Peace, unity and bridging) establishing an institution through involvement, support and advocacy with a clear vision.
The duly elected board of the WLCU-NA, as you are well aware, has been frequently and regularly meeting through conference calls. The minutes have been distributed to all members of the board and I am happy to report to you that this is a unified board in spirit and goals. Our milestones and goals are bold and aggressive yet realistic.
In addition, the Strategic Plan should be considered a “living document,” one that, with appropriate review and consensus, evolves to reflect current conditions and new information. As a result, new goals may be added and existing tasks may be modified to adapt to changing conditions.
In all cases where new goals are added or goals are modified, the ambitious standards set by the original Strategic Plan document will guide such adaptations, and the adaptations will remain consistent with the stated vision: “to become the leading continent of the WLCU” .
Noteworthy progress made during the first Year includes:
We find ourselves, in the NA Region, faced with multiple challenges, legal, constitutional, structural, etc… As I have stated in my letter dated October 23, 2013, that understanding your thoughts, ideas and concerns, is critical to advancing the WLCU-NA to new heights. With a clear understanding of our shared vision of the future, we can build the WLCU-NA to be uniquely capable of solving the most critical challenges of both today and tomorrow.
New initiatives in development and in having internal peace, unity and bridging were taken and communications are showing early signs of progress and indicate far-reaching impact in the future. A series of informal visits by me as a president of the WLCU-NA was instituted to improve communication between chapters, members and WLCU leadership. The first visit was Toronto where a series of meetings with WLCU members and leaders took place addressing concerns and issues needed to create proper bridging and improve communications between the WLCU bodies in North America. Mr. Georges Murr – WLCU World Vice President of North America (USA & Canada) who travelled all the way from Victoria joined us in Toronto to participate in the ceremony of electing Miss Emigrants in Canada representing the World President Mr. Alejandro Kuri Pheres. Mr. Murr presence has also opened wider channels for communications, reaching out and building bridges in Canada and indeed it was welcomed and appreciated as well.
The second visit was to British Columbia Province – Vancouver and Victoria as part of the internal peace, unity and bridging elements aimed at listening to all concerns, ideas and to bring the BC Province back to action where they belong with the mother organization. Inarguably, substantial progress has been made and a unified communications and collaboration environment was evident in the World Council meeting held in Los Angeles. The visit to BC province was remarkable one where social and cultural activities took place. The Lebanese community in Vancouver held a book signing reception at the Public Library prepared by the LCS of BC (WLCU Vancouver chapter in recognition of a great talent for the Lebanese Canadian author, and the director of CBC (Arabic section) Mr. Pierre Ahmaranian. A course of additional meetings took place, such as, a dinner was held to celebrate the 6 years of cooperation between the WLCU-BC council and the Simon Fraser University. The WLCU BC council presented to the SFU Library a series of Arabic books from Lebanon. Also, we visited the capital of BC and met with the World Vice president Mr. Georges Murr and WLCU Victoria’s chapter. Over all, the visit was very fruitful, productive and explained very well the cultural mission of the WLCU and its importance in the diaspora in all aspect of achievements and success.
Last, but not least, is the WLCU World Council held its meeting in the “Millennium Biltmore” hotel in the city of Los Angeles – United States from 4 till 6 December 2014. The meeting started with a minute of silence for the martyrs of the Lebanese army and security forces. Also, the participants saluted the brave Lebanese army, and demanded the election of a president very soon respecting the Constitution and the integration of the authorities.
Then, the participants studied the items listed on the agenda and they took the appropriate administrative and organizational recommendations which will be e-mailed at a later date to all WLCU chapters. The meeting was chaired by the World President Alejandro Kuri Pheres, in the presence of the World Secretary General Toni Kaddissi, former World Presidents Bechara Bechara, Anise Garabet and Michel Doueihi, World vice Presidents Najib Khouri, Alberto Cheker, Georges EL Murr, Georges Khouri and Roger Hani, Vice President of the Board of Trustees Elias Kassab, President of the Regional Council for Europe Said Yazbek, President of the Regional Council for North America Mohamad El Choum,President of Regional council of Venezuela Michel Assef, World Treasurer Soly Asmar, Chairperson of the world council for youth Nissrin Esber with a youth delegation, Regional Secretary General for North America Elie Gideon, former World Secretary General Nick Kahwaji, former President of the Regional Council for North America François Bou Naaman, former World Vice Presidents Antonio Arida and Edward Nahhas, and Farid Makarem, the Presidents of the National Councils Edmond Abdel Massih, Wissam Azzi, Hector Chamlati, WLCU Chairpersons of committees Judge Georges Khouri and Antoine Menassa, Attorney Steven Stanton, President of the WLCU chapters Khalil Curi, John Badr, Miled Oueijan, Wassim Massoud, Mourad Kario, and WLCU officers from all continents.
The major issue was the By-laws reform which was adopted unanimously. Later, A reception was held for the unveiling of the sculpture of Gibran Khalil Gibran where officials from the city and the WLCU made speeches (attached is the WLCU-NA speech).
As far as the agenda of the WLCU in NA the participants after a round table discussions the following items voting on and passed unanimously which includes:
I- The Constitution and By-Laws. My sincerest thanks to all chapters’ presidents who shared their feedback on the WLCU-NA By-Laws.
II- The creation of a new non-profit corporation “WLCU-NA” or the adoption of an existing corporation where the WLCU-NA will be the executive board governed by the newly adopted By-Laws and the duly elected and appointed board. By doing this, we would have accomplished the following: ( this list is representative, not comprehensive):
- WLCU-NA becomes a legal entity with well-defined rights and responsibilities towards the local chapters.
- WLCU-NA will be able to collect funds nationwide (legally), in all states without jeopardizing its 501-C status.
- WLCU-NA will eventually become the owner of all licenses and assets (tangible and intangible) that affect the region as a whole and will have the responsibility to manage and defend these assets.
(Chapters real estates and cash are not included).
Additionally, the state of the WLCU communications has improved over the past year but there is much more that needs to be done. We have accomplished the following:
- Regular meetings of the WLCU North America Board are being held by teleconference. Meetings minutes are distributed to members. This has allowed the North America Board to become more cohesive and effective.
- Upgrade consisted of new software, new host, and content reorganization. Website technical administration is managed in North America. Lebanon Office manages content administration.
- North America child site http://wlcu.com/na/ chapter sites created. Chapter sites support: public events calendar, private file sharing, photo sharing, and member directory management.
- North America is also assisting in the creation and management of WLCU mobile application.
WLCU in NA will grow in size and increase in selectivity, creating a solution-oriented, forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.
The challenges facing us include the following:
- WLCU North America needs to implement item II ASAP so that we can fill the gap as a legal entity and thus can own assets and legally defend them or be an effective organization.
- While we have made progress in healing the wounds we still have work to do in order to join WLCU.COM and WLCU.ORG under the same roof within the WLCU.
- Our social media presence is fragmented and not cohesive. We don’t have WLCU North America Facebook group. Our chapters do not coordinate their social media presence or strategy.
- North America does not have a budget for its media or communication needs. When we attempted to create a Google enterprise WLCU presence, despite early enthusiasm, it could not be funded. Members currently privately fund the skeletal WLCUNA.COM Google domain and hosting presence.
- We are not making use of http://wlcu.com/na/ or chapter sites under NA even though there is no cost to using them.
- We need to organize our internal communications by creating formal email distribution lists instead of ad-hoc CC and BCC email communications.
- We need to create a North America media and communications committee with a clean and unambiguous charter that meets regularly and implements the decisions of the North America Board.
- Youth needs to be more involved. The youth are the future of this organization and we should invest time and money to help them build their own empire.
- WLCU President along with the International body of the organization must take an action to come up with a plan and budget to cover the expenses of the office in New York
- Membership drive in North America must be increased.
- Ethics, processes and protocol, clearly spelled out, to govern all communications, conduct and relationships among the officers and members of the WLCU to prevent any mis-haps or misunderstandings (the examples from the past are numerous).
- The creation of an “Orientation and Training Manual” to assist the newly elected and appointed officers in assuming their roles and for a smoother transfer of posts and responsibilities.
- Chapters follow up and progress report
I thank you for your support and determination to help advance us to higher levels of accomplishment and recognition, and I ask that you remain engaged as we move forward. Your continued engagement will be essential as we take the Constitution to ever-greater heights, guided by the new Plan as it charts our upward course for the next decade.
I trust you will find the above in line with our goals and our desire to accomplish them.
Dr. Mohamed El-Choum
WLCU-NA (USA & Canada)
Learn more about Dr Mohamed El-choum:
Dr. El-Choum biography
Dr. Mohamed El-Choum was born in Jaboule’, Lebanon. He is the President of the El Choum Consulting LLC in New York and a Professor of Civil, Environment and Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Prior to joining Stevens, Dr. El-Choum Lectured at Polytechnic University in the Civil and Environmental Engineering, and also, as an adjunct professor he taught in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. He conducted periodic training seminars for large Engineering firms and institutions in New York and in different states.
He studied in Lebanon and completed Baccalaureate Part II – Mathematics. Travelled to France where he stayed few months and then moved to New York. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering, M.S. in Structural Engineering and M.S. in Transportation Planning and Engineering from Polytechnic University. Also, received his M.S. Engineering from City University of New York – City College and Ph.D. from Stevens Institute of Technology where he received Dean of Faculty Scholarship. His research dealt with Mega projects 17.6 billion dollar case study.
Dr. El-Choum is an internationally renowned scientific leader in the field of mathematical modelling using multivariate statistical methods in construction cost overruns. Utilization of ARMA models to measure damage potential in seismic record and ARMA models for earthquake response spectra. His research focuses on Parametric Estimates, Multivariate, Analytical Models, Statistical Models, Uncertainty, Risk, Construction Cost, Infrastructure and Cost Overruns and Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA), Seismic, Time Series, Earthquake, Response Spectra, Modeling, Ductility, Hysteretic Energy and Stochastic Process.
He has authored over 24 peer-reviewed publications and was used as a reference in many countries including USA and Canada((BCU).