Lebanon Dialogue Initiative (LDI), calls upon Lebanese in Lebanon and the Diaspora.

Lebanon Dialogue Initiative (LDI) is a civil society movement supported by various academic, business and civil society organizations, in particular, by Notre Dame University-Louaizé (NDU). It calls upon Lebanese in Lebanon and the Diaspora, as well as friends of Lebanon and people of good will, to support this Initiative to designate Lebanon as a universal Land of Dialogue and to establish an international center for dialogue in Lebanon in response to contemporary local, national and international disputes by contributing to conflict reduction, reconciliation, social justice, and peace building. By such international recognition, we believe that Lebanon will be able to secure the international solidarity it needs to recover its historic vocation—a vocation to which Lebanon still manages somehow to be faithful.

In his address at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Dialogue between Cultures and Religions (Item 45: Culture and Peace) in New York on November 12th, 2008, His Excellency President Michel Sleiman stated that “the philosophy of the Lebanese entity is based on dialogue, reconciliation and coexistence.” He went on to declare that he and the Lebanese people would like Lebanon to “become an international center for the management of the dialogue of civilizations and cultures and consequently a global laboratory for that inter-entity dialogue”. The initial idea behind President Sleiman’s address came from the late Ambassador Fouad el Turk who spent the last few years of his life promoting this idea in public and private settings.

President Sleiman was motivated in part by a similar declaration (11 years earlier) that touched the minds and hearts of all Lebanese, regardless of their religious affiliation. Namely, in his Apostolic Exhortation for Lebanon in 1997, His Holiness Pope John Paul II declared that Lebanon is more than just a country, that it is a mission of love and conviviality. This has been confirmed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who has also declared that Lebanon is a message of freedom, a model of pluralism and a special space for dialogue and coexistence of different cultures and religions. These declarations have resonated among the various ethnic and religious communities of Lebanon and have been adopted by a vast majority of them as the ultimate vocation of Lebanon and its people. A particularly powerful expression of this came in September, 2012, during the Muslim-Christian Summit at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke whereby the convened religious leaders called for the designation of Lebanon as a “space for dialogue among civilizations based on peace and diversity”.

Lebanon Dialogue Initiative (LDI) was initiated in June 2013 by the Honorable William Zard Abou Jaoude in cooperation with Dr Edward Alam and Dr. Guita Hourani who selected Notre Dame University to lead this Initiative. The three were later joined by Dr. Salim Sfeir, Dr. Moise Khayrallah, Dr. Habib Jaafar, Dr. Youssef Rahme, Mr. Amin Nehme, Dr. Nick Kahwaji, Ms. Rouba el -Helou, Mr. Bahjat Rizk among others. LDI is housed at NDU and operates as a non-profit organization with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that governs its relationship with the University. Mr. Suheil Matar, Vice President for Public Relations and Communication at NDU, is the Spokesperson of LDI.

Contact us:

Notre Dame University – NDU

P.O. Box: 72 Zouk Mikael


Tel: +961 9 208 992

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.lebanondialogue.org

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