Visit to foreign affairs ministry enlightens LAU international affairs students
The students visited the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants as part of their Diplomatic and Consular Services course.
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By Hasan Baalbaki
As a part of a Diplomatic and Consular Services course, more than 15 students majoring in international affairs and political science, accompanied by faculty members Dr. Makram Ouaiss and Dr. Marwan Rowayheb, toured the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants on December 5.
Upon arrival, the group was welcomed by Junior Diplomat George Jallad, an LAU graduate, who guided the students around the different departments of the ministry.
The visit commenced with a meeting with the secretary general of the ministry, Ambassador William Habib, who explained the important role the ministry plays given Lebanon’s large diaspora, adding that Lebanon established the first ministry of foreign affairs in the Middle East.
Habib pointed out that despite its small size, Lebanon maintains 85 embassies around the world, adding that Lebanese diplomats provide important support to Lebanese nationals abroad. The Lebanese diaspora is an important source of revenue for the country and talent for the economy, he said.
Next, the group met the incoming foreign minister, Dr. Ali Al-Shami, before meeting with Senior Diplomat Nada El-Akl responsible for Asian/African and Australian affairs and Senior Diplomat Sami Haddad responsible for the office of Arab and Palestine affairs. During these meetings many issues related to the diplomatic work of the ministry were discussed, as well as how the ministry recruits new diplomats and the responsibilities they have.
The group also stopped by the office of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership where they met Abir Ali, a senior diplomat, who described the partnership and emphasized that “the role of the ministry is to protect the Lebanese abroad as well as their interests.”
Moving from the Department of Political Affairs, the group visited the Department of Ceremonial Diplomacy, where Senior Diplomat Kabalan Frangieh explained that the department is responsible for “ensuring the privileges and immunities of the Lebanese and foreign diplomats in Lebanon, as well as preparing for all the diplomatic ceremonies done on the Lebanese territory.”
The tour ended with a visit to the Department of Civil Status, the consular part of the ministry, where a discussion took place with a senior official regarding the registration procedures of the civil status of Lebanese living abroad, since the establishment of Lebanon.
The group concluded its visit by taking commemorative pictures in front of the “Palais Boustros,” the current building of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants. The students described the trip as inspiring and unanimously agreed it was useful for their international affairs degree program. Many expressed an interest in learning more about the ministry’s entrance examination process.
The Diplomatic and Consular Services course is being offered this semester at the LAU Byblos campus. This article was written by Hasan Baalbaki, a student in the course.