From Diversity Comes Power
LAU student club honors champion of Lebanese diversity and renowned artist Georges Khabbaz.
One of Lebanon’s strengths is its diversity. That was the message celebrated at a reception hosted on November 29 by the Aie Club in honor of prolific Lebanese artist Georges Khabbaz.
“We all know diversity is a necessity in any workplace. It creates a platform for knowledge accumulation and collection,” said LAU student Majd El Fakih, president of the LAU chapter of Aie Club, a youth-based non-profit organization.
Before him was a full-house audience that had gathered in the Irwin Auditorium to celebrate Khabbaz’s unwavering promotion of Lebanese unity.
“We are all unique in our small nation, but collectively we are one,” said El Fakih, reminding the audience that the people of Lebanon resisted the Ottoman occupation, the French mandate and others since.
Khabbaz — an actor, director, playwright, musician, producer and, said Provost George K. Najjar in his welcoming comment, “a writer of iconic proportion” — took to the stage to thank the Aie Club and the hundreds of students gathered. He also read out one of his well-known poems, which begins: “I’m afraid the world will end with us all sleeping on a bed of sectarianism, covered in a blanket of religion.”
Elie Samia, assistant vice president of outreach & civic engagement and advisor to the Aie Club, took to the podium to congratulate Khabbaz. “Lebanon’s civil society is creative, innovative and spontaneous and full of vitality,” said Samia, praising the efforts of LAU’s civic-minded students and the important role activists like Khabbaz play in the development of a strong and united Lebanese nation.
“We have witnessed civil war, confessional war, sectarian war, geographic war, and it is so important when Georges Khabbaz tells us not to look at the accident of birth … His message is a humanitarian one … of ethics, emotions and logic.”
Also honored at the ceremony was Minister of Culture and surgeon Dr. Ghattas Khoury, described by the provost as a perfect embodiment of “leadership, multi-tasking, commitment and public service.”
At the root of the strength and resilience of the Lebanese nation, said the minister, is “our commitment to family and home.”
“Diversity is very important,” added Khoury, referring to the theme of the ceremony, “Diversity is Power.” And despite Lebanon not having the budget to compete with the national cultural institutions in the Gulf nations, “I am not down, because we have the likes of Georges Khabbaz to enrich our country.”