Christian Lebanese Foundation to host 10 registration campaigns in March

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The Christian Lebanese Foundation in the World (CLFW) announced it would host ten registration campaigns for Lebanese citizenship this March.

CLFW says there are many political, business, and social advantages to becoming a Lebanese citizen, including the right to vote in municipal and legislative elections, and the right to own and inherit property.

The organization adds that registration also helps maintain religious pluralism in Lebanon, by protecting minority religions in the country and providing them with equal governmental representation.

“The religious conviviality is the true mission and vocation of our country,” said Nada Abisamra, director of the DC-based organization. “What we need is to get each Lebanese descendant who has the right to be registered in the official registry of Lebanon to do so.”

The Arab American Institute estimates that 3.3 million Americans are of Lebanese descent, and the majority are Christian, including Maronite Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic.

CLFW hopes to add hundreds of new citizens to Lebanon’s official records in March. They plan to host registration campaigns in 9 cities across the country:

  • Cleveland, Ohio – March 4, 2015 – St. Maron Church – 1245 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115
  • Tampa, Florida – March 7, 2015 – St. Peter and Paul Maronite Catholic Church – 6201 Sheldon Road, Tampa, FL 33615
  • Phoenix, Arizona – March 7 & 8, 2015 – St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church – 5406 E Virginia Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85008
  • San Francisco, California – March 13, 14, & 15, 2015 – Our Lady of Lebanon – 600 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030
  • Encino, California – March 15, 2015 – Holy Martyrs Armenian Church – 5300 White Oak Avenue, Encino, CA 91316
  • Easton, Pennsylvania – March 15, 2015 – Our Lady of Lebanon – 55 S 4th St, Easton, PA 18042
  • Cincinnati, Ohio – March 15, 2015 – St Anthony of Padua Maronite Church – 2530 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45206
  • Livonia, Michigan – March 22, 2015 – St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church – 32765 Lyndon Street, Livonia, MI 48154
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – March 22, 2015 – St. Sharbel Catholic Church – 10325 Rancho Destino Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89183

Interested applicants are urged to bring their citizenship documents, which include a Lebanese family civil registry, marriage certificate, and birth certificate(s).

For more information, visit


Kataeb host diaspora convention in Los Angeles

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — The Lebanese Kataeb Party hosted the “USA Lebanese Kataeb Diaspora Convention” at the Embassy Suites in Los Angeles, California from Dec. 5 to 7.

MP Samy Gemayel traveled to Los Angeles to participate in the conference, which occurred at the same time as the World Lebanese Cultural Union World Council meeting in LA.

Gemayel thanked members of the U.S. Kataeb chapters for organizing the conference and encouraged them to keep believing in Lebanon.

“We know that if what’s available to you in America or Canada was available to you in Lebanon, we know where you’d be,” he said. “You all live here, but your heart is in Lebanon. We have faith that in the end, good will triumph and evil will fail.”

Gemayel urged the Lebanese diaspora to buy homes in their motherland and cast their ballots to choose “good” candidates in elections.

Gemayel also discussed issues related to Lebanon, including the attacks on Lebanese soldiers in recent months.

“This is not the first time Lebanon is going through tough times,” he said. “But trust your logic that is stronger than the logic of criminals who kill our soldiers. They are cowards because they attack and kill those who are fighting in defense of their country.”

RELATED: Samy Gemayel attend WLCU ceremony to reveal Gibran Khalil Gibran statue. Read more.

WLCU unveils Gibran Khalil Gibran statue

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) unveiled a long anticipated sculpture of Lebanese-American poet Gibran Khalil Gibran at the Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California on Dec. 5.

The unveiling, which happened during the week of the WLCU World Council Meeting at the Millennium Bitmore Hotel, commemorates the 130th anniversary of Gibran’s birth in Bsharri, Lebanon in 1883.

The statue of Gibran was sculpted by Lebanese-American artist Victor Issa at the LA Public Library, which is the largest library in the United States. Nearly 13 million people visit the library each year.

“Unfortunately a city like Los Angeles is honoring famed Lebanese people than Lebanon itself is getting an opportunity to,” said Metn MP Sami Gemayel, who attended the unveiling. “Lebanon needs the teachings of Gibran.”

Watch MTV Lebanon’s news report:

California’s House of Lebanon hosts three cultural workshops


By Lara Akl, Communications & Marketing Manager at House of Lebanon

Arabic Calligraphy: Connecting with Culture and Language Artistically

Participants came from as far as San Diego, Irvine, and Riverside to House of Lebanon in Los Angeles on Saturday, October 25, 2014 for a common purpose: To take an Arabic Calligraphy workshop presented by Dr. Imad Bayoun. The class was full and the energy was high. Participants were very excited to learn and to be introduced to this valuable form of art.

Arabic Calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and lettering using special pens or brush and ink. The culture of early Arabs was very creative in terms of poetry and writing. “Early Arabs acknowledged the power and beauty of words. Poetry, for example, was an essential part of daily life. This immense appreciation for the spoken word, later led to an additional appreciation of its written form,” explained Dr. Bayoun.

8The Islamic culture highly values calligraphy as a form of art. The earliest Islamic calligraphy is found in the beautiful copies of the Qur’an. Today, Arabic Calligraphy is a continuously evolving art form.  This form of art is just as appealing to young and old artists from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. They have come to adopt this script as a base for communicating the word and use this stylized script as abstract graphic elements to complement their art.

14You do not have to be an artist to practice calligraphy. “Like any other form of art, Arabic Calligraphy nurtures the soul and beautifies life,” said Dr. Bayoun. This charming and appealing form of art attracts community members, Students, and people from different cultural background who seek calligraphy classes and workshops to immerse themselves in a new experience.

9Our participants’ testimonies varied. “I love calligraphy. I never took calligraphy before and I wanted to give it a try,” said Caren Kouri, one of our participants. Nouha Sinno is one of House of Lebanon accomplished calligraphy artists. She never learned the different theories and scripts of calligraphy. “I practice my own form of calligraphy. I do not follow certain rules and I work more freely. Today, I came to be introduced to the technical way of practicing calligraphy which is based on existing established scripts.”

An additional factor that makes calligraphy a sought after art form is its meditative quality. Its practice requires patience, focus, and concentration. It helps those who practice it transcend their surrounding and context and take them into a very peaceful state of mind. “I forgot about everything around me when I was practicing how to write the Arabic letters. I forgot about my problems. It felt like I am in a different world,” expressed another participant.

Thanks to House of Lebanon Artist Reem Hammad who worked on coordinating the workshop. “Arabic Calligraphy is part of our Lebanese and Arabic cultures,” said Reem. “Offering this workshop falls within House of Lebanon’s mission. Arabic calligraphy is the first point of interest that connects the west with Middle Eastern cultures.”

“Mezze” Table: A Story about Lebanon’s Culture

tabouleh - cooking workshop spinach pies - cooking workshop

“Fatoush”, “tabouleh”, grape leaves, “baba ghanouj”, spinach and cheese “fatayer” (pies) were some of the recipes presented by Chef Najwa Massoud during the Lebanese Cooking Workshop House of Lebanon offered on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

DSC_6232 DSC_6240

“Mezze table” (appetizers) was the theme of the cooking workshop. “Lebanese food is not only healthy, tasty, and has become famous around the world, but it is a great cultural activity to introduce the community to Lebanon’s culture, heritage, and traditions,” said Artist Reem Hammad. “For this reason we reached out to Lebanese Chef Najwa Massoud who offered our participants a taste of Lebanon with every recipe she prepared.”

rice and meat - cooking workshop Fatoush salad - cooking workshop

Food is an essential part of Lebanon’s culture. It reflects generosity and hospitality, two essential characteristics of the Lebanese culture. “Lebanese Mezze” is usually prepared to host special guests, when family and friends get together on Sundays to enjoy their day off, or to celebrate special occasions. “I grew up enjoying family and social gatherings in Lebanon,” said Chef Najwa Massoud.

DSC_6191 DSC_6205

“I learned that food is an important element of our culture. I acquired most of the recipes from my mother and grandmother. Our house in Lebanon used to get full of people on special occasions and, at an early age, I used to participate and help my mother prepare food. Today, cooking Lebanese food is a passion of mine. As a chef, I witness firsthand the popularity of Lebanese food and how people from different cultural background seek Lebanese restaurants to enjoy our delicious and healthy food.”

DSC_6224 DSC_6194

Testimonials about the cooking workshop differed. For our Lebanese Americans participants, the cooking workshop brought back memories. “I thought of my “sitto” (grandmother) as I sat there and watched Chef Najwa cook,” said Jeanice Deeb. For other participants, it was fascinating for them to see how the delicious Lebanese dishes they love are prepared. “I love Lebanese food and I go to Lebanese restaurants all the time. It was great to see how grape leaves and spinach “fatayer” are actually made.” Also, the warm and friendly atmosphere during the workshop was very appealing. “It is the cozy and family-like environment that made the workshop more pleasant and enjoyable,” expressed another.

DSC_6255 DSC_6249

Just like it usually does, our “mezze table” generously brought our participants together at the end of the cooking workshop. They ate the delicious food, exchanged happy conversations, and shouted out thankful messages for Chef Najwa for preparing such a delicious feast!

Ceramic Tiles: Exploring History of Islamic Art

DSC_6153 DSC_6145

Carefully handling the clay, imprinting a pattern of choice on its surface, carving and shaping, participants looked forward to a beautifully decorated piece of ceramic tile they worked on at the Handmade Ceramic Tiles workshop offered by House of Lebanon on Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Exploring Islamic Patterns was the theme. Reem Hammad is the artist who conducted the workshop.  She guided participants through the different stages of working with and decorating ceramic tiles by choosing from a variety of classic Islamic design patterns.

handmade ceramic tile 5 DSC_6160

The intricate artistic designs, decorations, and geometric shapes used on tiles and carved architectural details in Islamic civilizations, have not only been an important field of modern academic research like mathematics, art, and architecture, but it has inspired artists from around the world. Arabesque and geometric designs have been at the center of Islamic Art and have been recreated and adapted throughout the years until this day. “I have always been fascinated with Islamic patterns and have adopted them in my ceramic tile designs to be used as Mandalas or meditation focal points, or simply as decorative tiles,” said Reem Hammad.

DSC_6138 DSC_6137

Interested in the art of ceramic tiles, participants came to the workshop with no background experience. “I love ceramics. I always wanted to do it and it wasn’t possible when my kids were younger. Today I came to learn about it and enjoy a relaxing form of art,” said one of the participants.

ceramic tile - christian DSC_6139

Christian Nahas, a calligrapher and a graphic designer who took the workshop. He was interested in learning “another method to apply calligraphy,” said Christian. He has only used paper for calligraphy, “but now I can apply it on clay and it’s exciting.” Nouha Sinno, a painter, said that this was her first time she works with ceramic tiles. “I do it for the experience. It adds more knowledge to my existing skills.”

handmade ceramic tile 4 handmade ceramic tile 3

Ceramic tiles have a long history in the Middle East. From Iran to Turkey, Egypt to Morocco, this art form went off to spread into European countries, like Spain and Italy. Ceramic tile design continued to flourish and develop borrowing old techniques of lusterware and Majolica. They were used throughout the region to decorate mosques, churches, and palaces. Ceramic tiles’ hardened and glazed surfaces offered a durable and weather proof decorative elements used as accents and ornamentation for exterior spaces. This captivating form of art can be seen in many great architectural landmarks like Isfahan Mosques in Iran, Topkapi palace in Turkey, the Alhambra Palaces in Spain to name a few.

Introducing this form of art to the community was a rich cultural and educational experience for our participants.

Get Involved: Join House of Lebanon

House of Lebanon is the nation’s first urban Los Angeles-based Lebanese-American cultural and educational center.

House of Lebanon is owned by the Lebanese American Foundation, which is a non-profit, non-political, and philanthropic organization founded more than twenty years ago to serve the Lebanese-American community throughout Southern California and abroad with one goal: to build a “House of Lebanon” – a cultural and educational center in Los Angeles.

To learn more information, visit, or join them on Facebook.

CLFW hosts Lebanese citizenship drives across USA


(WASHINGTON, DC) — The Christian Lebanese Foundation in the World (CLFW) is hosting five campaign drives during the rest of November, encouraging Lebanese-Americans to preserve their roots in Lebanon and register as Lebanese citizens.

“We want to encourage people outside of Lebanon to have an affection for their motherland,” said Nada Abisamra, Director of CLFW, in an interview with ART America.

CLFW and Project Roots aims to register people of Lebanese descent free of charge in the United States.

CLFW will visit the following locations during November:

  • Westlake, Ohio at the Northern Ohio Lebanese American Association Heritage Ball on November 15 starting at 6pm.
  • Stockton, California at St. Sharbel’s Annual Hafle on November 15 starting at 6pm.
  • Easton, Pennsylvania at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church on November 16 starting at 10am.
  • Warren, Michigan at St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church on November 22 starting at 6pm, and November 23 starting at 11am.
  • Greer, South Carolina at St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church starting at 11am.

For more information, visit clfw.orgClick here to access the campaign flyer with more information about required registration documents.

Watch the promotional video below:

[youtube url=”″ width=”500″ height=”300″]

House of Lebanon artists promote arts, culture with ‘Beyond Borders’ exhibition

House of Lebanon Artists Group

By Lara Akl, Communications & Marketing Manager for the Lebanese American Foundation, Inc.

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — While war and conflict in the Arab world are the mainstream media’s current focus, here in Los Angeles, House of Lebanon Artists Group are focusing on their passion for Art to promote culture. Their aim is to showcase their work that brings attention to their collective rich Middle Eastern heritage.

As a group of artists, they are planning the House of Lebanon 4th Annual 2014 Beyond Borders Art Exhibition and Artists & Welcome Reception on Saturday, October 18, 5:00pm – 9:00pm.

The event is open to the community and will be followed by a month-long exhibition that ends on Saturday, November 15, 2014.

“We are a group of Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Arminian, Middle Eastern and American Artists who want to make a difference and promote our heritage and culture,” said Reem Hammad, Beyond Borders Art Exhibition Director. “We want a world of happy colors to paint the rich and diverse cultures of the Middle East and the Arab world. We thrive, through our paint brushes, musical instruments, pencils, cameras, and singing voices to give a different impression of the Arab countries and deconstruct existing negative stereotypes about our cultural group.”

“(The Lebanese American Foundation) embraced our ideas and our vision,” said Carole Choucair Oueijan, Chairman of House of Lebanon Artists Group. “We started as a small group of artists in Los Angeles and now we have expanded to include artists from the USA, the Middle East, and Europe. Thanks to our diverse Artists Group Members, the welcome reception will include an art exhibit, music, film screenings, and live performances. In conjunction with our show, we are offering a series of weekend workshops aimed at inviting the community to explore the Arts from the Middle East. Last year, over 500 people showed up to our 2013 Beyond Borders Art Exhibition Artists and Welcome Reception.”

“Our goal is to represent and empower our artists whose work, in its various forms, is an inspiring, powerful, and educational tool that opens a path to intercultural communications and understanding,” said Judge James Kaddo, Chairman of House of Lebanon Board of Directors. “Through the development of the first Lebanese American Cultural Center in Los Angeles, we offer the community a chance to learn more about our culture via art. Our artists own a unique creative voice that tells our story beautifully.”

4 2013 Beyond Borders Art Exhibition - 1

About House of Lebanon

House of Lebanon is a non-profit organization located in Los Angeles. Its mission is to preserve, communicate, and celebrate Lebanese heritage and culture.

For more information visit You can also find the Facebook page at this link, and the ‘Beyond Borders’ exhibition event here.

About House of Lebanon Artists Group:

House of Lebanon Artists Group is a diverse group of Lebanese, Middle Eastern and American artists whose common goal is to share their love for art with their community and connect with their roots.

Gebran Bassil meets with Armenians in CA, NV

Please try entering,link,name,images,album&limit=1000 into your URL bar and seeing if the page loads.

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee led a delegation, headed by its chairman Dr. Viken Hovsepian, to welcome Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who was visiting Los Angeles over the weekend.

During a reception on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, hosted by the Lebanese Consulate General to Los Angeles, members of the delegation had the opportunity to welcome Bassil.


Pictured from left: Ghazaros Ghazarossian, Harry Nadjarian, Maya Ibrahim and Consul General Johnny Ibrahim, Chantal Aoun-Bassil, Toros Kechejian, Foreign Minister Gibran Bassil, Harout Madenlian, ARF Western US Central Committee chairman Chair Dr Viken Hovsepian, Karo Khanjian, Varouj Ourfalian, Hovig Bedevian. Photo courtesy Asbarez Armenian Daily News.

Bassil also visited the Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. See photos below:

Facebook API came back with a faulty result. You may be accessing an album you do not have permissions to access.

Bassil encourages Lebanese-Americans to invest in Lebanon

Please try entering,link,name,images,album&limit=1000 into your URL bar and seeing if the page loads.

bassil(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — During a trip to Los Angeles, California, Gebran Bassil spoke to a group of Lebanese citizens and Americans of Lebanese descent, saying it was their duty to purchase investments and Lebanese goods.

“We encourage you to invest overseas but to also dedicate some profits to investing in Lebanon through the ‘We Invest to Stay’ project,” he said.

The project intends to financially support Lebanese expatriates who invest in their countries of residence, on the condition of moving 20 percent of their investment onto Lebanon’s economy.

He also called on them to encourage their families in Lebanon to insist on staying in their homeland, “so that we do not become all emigrants without any land.”

Underlining the importance of preserving cultural heritage, Bassil called on the expatriates to stick to their native language, and disclosed a plan to draft a “Lebanese expatriate school” model, in collaboration with the Education Ministry.

See photos of his Los Angeles visit below:

Facebook API came back with a faulty result. You may be accessing an album you do not have permissions to access.

Arab Film Festival sponsors House of Lebanon “Beyond Borders” film screenings


(LOS ANGELES, CA) — “Arab Films provide a sense of empowerment to the Arab community, especially to our youth…They help generate a sense of pride of who we are and invite us to embrace our cultural identity.” Serge Bakalian, Arab Film Festival Executive Director.

The Arab American Film Festival is sponsoring House of Lebanon “Beyond Borders” Film Screenings, to be featured during our 2014 “Beyond Borders” Art Exhibition Opening Reception weekend (Saturday, October 18, 5:00pm – 9:00pm and Sunday, October 19, 9:30am – 5:00pm).

1“Screening Lebanese and Arab films is one of “Beyond Borders” Art Exhibition highlights,” said Karen Srour, House of Lebanon Executive Director. “House of Lebanon realizes the power of films in depicting Lebanon’s culture and telling its unique story.” From here stems the partnership with the Arab Film Festival who will present a selection of Lebanese shorts during “Beyond Borders” Art Exhibition Opening Reception weekend. “We thank the Arab Film Festival for their sponsorship.”

“It is a great opportunity to be able to partner with the House of Lebanon,” said Serge Bakalian, Executive Director of Arab Film Festival. “Lebanese modern films are part of a larger emerging talents of the Arab film industry and are a powerful tool in promoting Lebanon’s culture. House of Lebanon is the first Lebanese American Cultural center of its kind in the USA. We are happy to support its mission of preserving the Lebanese culture. Featuring Lebanese films will enhance the guests’ cultural experience.”

With an international standing, the Arab Film Festival is considered one of the most important showcases of Arab cinema outside the Arab world.”Our mission is to present an alternative perspective of Arabs and to show the beauty and diversity of the Arab world. Arab films give Arabs a strong voice to tell their own story and present their reality as they see it through their own lenses,” said Bakalian. “In their different genres,” he added, “Arab films are a powerful and accessible egalitarian medium that can reach a broader audience and make an impact.”

In addition, featuring Arab films “serves dual purpose,” said Bakalian. On one hand, “they introduce and educate the non-Arab audience about the diversity of the Arab world cultures, which are lumped together and presented as one in the American mainstream media. Exposing non-Arab audience to messages and stories featured in Arab films helps influence and reshapes mainstream American culture’s misconceptions of Arabs and deconstructs negative stereotypes.” On the other hand, “Arab films introduce the diverse Arab audience to each other. Arab people have different cultures, religions, customs, food, and dialect depending on their country of origin. Through Arab films, they get introduced to each other’s cultures and customs.”

Moreover, “Arab films provide a sense of empowerment to the Arab American community, especially to our youth.” Bakalian used his own personal story to elaborate his point. “I was born and raised in Lebanon. I came to the USA at the age of ten. Growing up, I was shocked at how the American media represents and portrays Lebanon and the Arab world through the issues it focuses on. It was all about violence, war, and conflict. I didn’t see the beauty of our culture being represented, which made me, as a youth, disassociate myself from my Lebanese origin and upbringing. It wasn’t until my college years, after I saw the Lebanese film “West Beirut”, that I was re-connected with my roots. The film empowered me and helped me embrace my Lebanese identity. I related to the story, the neighborhood, and the characters. That’s the power of films. They help generate a sense of pride of who we are and invite us to embrace our cultural identity.”

Ultimately, films may open up a dialogue and pave a path to intercultural communications and understanding. “They connect viewers on a different level by helping them transcend cultural barriers and encourage us to overcome our differences and see our commonalties as human beings,” concluded Bakalian.

Coachella Valley High School retires controversial Arab mascot

coachella-valley-schools(COACHELLA VALLEY, CA) — Coachella Valley High School in Riverside County, California has retired its controversial Arab mascot amid protests by several national groups of Arab Americans.

The mascot did not appear at the school’s season opening football game on Friday night. A belly-dancing genie that often appears with the mascot also retired.

The mascot came under fire last November when the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) complained that the mascot enforces negative stereotypes of Arabs and Arab-Americans.

“Bombers, billionaires or belly dancers. There’s a lot more to Arab-Americans and the Arab culture and the Arab heritage than what’s being depicted by this high school,” said Abed Ayoub with ADC.

The Arab mascot had been around since the 1920s and was chosen to recognize the area’s reliance on date farming, traditionally a Middle Eastern crop. 

The Coachella Valley Unified School District refused to change the school’s Arab nickname, but did agree to give the caricature a makeover.

A new design has been approved by the D.C.-based Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and may go into use, but it would need approval from the East Valley school board first.

The possible design:

possible design

According to a statement from Coachella Valley Unified, there will soon be a news conference featuring both the district and the ADC to discuss their resolution.

Send this to friend