WATCH: TRUMP, HARIRI MEET AT THE WHITE HOUSE
(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Today Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon where he met with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Jean Qahwagi, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag.
He also visited the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center in Bourj Hammoud, which serves both Lebanese community members and refugees.
Deputy Secretary Blinken toured the facility and observed a legal rights awareness session aimed at preventing the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable refugees.
In addition, he visited the offices of AMIDEAST Lebanon and met with Lebanese students studying English through the Access Microscholarship Program.
“I urge Lebanon’s leaders not to look outside of their country for a resolution to the presidential gridlock, but instead to find a solution from within,” Blinken said. “Responsible voices in the international community will support you. But unless and until a president is chosen, the erosion of Lebanon’s political institutions will only deepen.”
Blinken says he hopes to “strengthen” the relationship between the United States and Lebanon.
“I have appreciated the opportunity to engage in meaningful exchanges, as we deepen and strengthen a relationship that reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Lebanon and its people.”
VIEW photos of Blinken’s visit to Lebanon:
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(NEW YORK, NY) — The Consulate General of Lebanon in New York hosted a reception welcoming Lebanese filmmaker Philippe Aractingi, who was in New York for the screening of his film “Heritages.”Facebook API came back with a faulty result. You may be accessing an album you do not have permissions to access.
(ROCHESTER, MI) — More than 200 people celebrated Lebanese Independence Day at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. on Friday, marking the 71st anniversary of Lebanon’s Independence from France.
“We wanted to promote the Lebanese culture around campus and end the false stigmas about Lebanon,” said Lisa Shammas, President of the Oakland University Lebanese Student Association (OU-LSA). “It adds to the diversity of our university and provides students with important knowledge about cultures.”
The student association premiered their new dabke group, which Shammas says was instructed by a choreographer from Lebanon. The group will perform at the LSA Unified Gala, which will take place on January 17, 2015.
“It’s exciting to spread the word about our culture,” said Amanda Fawaz, Vice President of Fundraising for the student group. “Even though people leave Lebanon, they still interact with their heritage.”
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam cancelled official Independence Day celebrations on Friday, citing the “current situation” for scrapping government-hosted events. Students say the security crisis shouldn’t deter Lebanon from celebrating its independence.
“I think we’re making up for their lack of celebration,” said Fawaz. “We hope to make the people of Lebanon proud for hosting events like these.”
VIEW photos of the event:
RELATED: Students at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor hosted a Lebanese Independence Day celebration on Thursday. Click here to read more.
(DETROIT, MI) — Over 900 people attended a special service intended to pray for Christians in the Middle East at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.
Allen Vigneron, Catholic Archbishop of Detroit, called the gathering for Chaldean, Melkite, Maronite, Armenian, Syriac, and Latin Rite Catholics.
“It was very inspiring and very uplifting,” said Khouloud Yammine, a Maronite Catholic who attended.
Lebanese Maronite Bishop A. Elias Zaidan, Maronite priests Chorbishop Alfred Badawi and Father Tony Massad, Orthodox Archpriest George Shalhoub, and Melkite priest Father Michel Cheble participated in the prayer.
VIEW photos of the service:
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(TROY, MI) — The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce recognized 10 women during the Autumn President’s Power Lunch “A Salute to Women in Leadership” event at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Troy, Michigan on Friday.
FBI Community Outreach Specialist Bushra Alawie, Wellness Expert Julie Booksh, Attorney Sabrina Cronin, WXYZ-TV Medical Expert Dr. Victoria Dooley, Judge Vonda Evans, Radio Personality Shelley Irwin, Businesswoman Jennifer Deeb Kluge, Eastern Michigan University President Dr. Susan Martin, Author Yasmeen Suri, and Consul General of Macedonia Elena Zarkovska spoke about their professions and life as successful women during a panel hosted by PR agent Josephine Dries.
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(DETROIT, MI) — Lebanese American University (LAU) officials visited Detroit this week to network with local Lebanese-Americans and potential scholarship donors during planned banquets and private gatherings.
LAU Vice President for University Advancement Marla Rice-Evans and LAU Assistant Vice President of Development Robert Hollback visited St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church on Friday, touring the church and joining potential donors for a dinner at La Saj Lebanese Bistro.
LAU operates a $20 million scholarship budget, which requires corporate and individual financial contributions and grants.
“Any student who has the credentials should be able to come to the university regardless of their income,” said Robert Hollback, LAU Assistant Vice President of Development.
The Lebanese American University is a private American university and research institution located in Lebanon. The university is chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.
The university receives financial assistance from the United States government and other educational aid organizations.
In a past news release, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut said LAU gives students a chance “to pursue American-style education that promotes tolerance, gender and social equality and challenges students to develop leadership skills, critical thinking, and initiative.”
According to Rice-Evans, LAU has over 8,200 students in their Beirut and Byblos campuses and around 2,300 graduating students each year.
(Left to Right) Prominent Lebanese-American Attorney Joumana Kayrouz, LAU Vice President for University Advancement Marla Rice-Evans, and Chorbishop Alfred Badawi of Saint Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church.
(VENICE, ITALY) — George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin arrived in Venice on Friday with wedding guests trickling in around them as rumors that they would marry on Saturday appeared to be coming true.
See photos below:
George Clooney’s fiancée Amal Alamuddin smiles in Venice, surrounded by family, the night before their wedding.
Clooney raises a glass before the couple’s rehearsal dinner on Friday.
Alamuddin wore a red dress on the eve of her wedding.
(WARREN, MI) — The Lebanese Forces Michigan Chapter recently hosted a memorial mass for Bachir Gemayel, Lebanese politician, militia commander, and president-elect, who was assassinated on September 14, 1982 at the age of 34.
The mass was held at Saint Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church in Warren, Michigan.
(WASHINGTON, DC) — A three day conference dedicated to aiding the Christians in the Middle East opened yesterday in Washington, DC. The “In Defense of Christians” Summit (IDC) will bring together lawmakers, Eastern and Western churches, community leaders and various Christian groups to address the issues that concern Middle Eastern Christians.
Lebanese Patriarch Beshara Rai is participating in the conference.
“Christian institutions provide social service, health care and education for millions throughout the region. Christians are not only the lawyers, doctors and businessmen in their communities, they are also the servants…their very presence is the source of pluralism that has a moderating influence throughout the region,” said Doran.
“Our brothers and sisters are suffering terribly,” Baaklini said. “Our duty, the moral duty of the hundreds of you that are here today from all over the world, is to stand together under the banner of our common cause, the cause of faith, existence and tranquility.”
“We are here because there are those who are the victims of individuals around the world, who are victimized because people seek to impose on them their idea of some construct of God, some construct of morality, some construct of human existence,” Ashcroft said.
“It is very significant that the meeting is taking place between people of different Christian denominations and people of religion who believe as Christ the value of the freedom of the human person,” the Cardinal said.