Lebanese video artist listed in Art Review “Power 100”

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(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese video artist Akram Zaatari was listed number 94 on ArtReview’s influential Power 100 list.

Zaatari, who is included for the first time, stands as the sole Lebanese figure and one of only three Arabs on the annual list of the most powerful people in the contemporary art world.

The Power 100 is selected by a committee of 26 art critics, museum directors, and artists from around the world.

According to the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mark Rappolt, there are four basic criteria that determine who makes the cut: Selected figures must have an influence on the kind of art that is being produced, have been active in the past 12 months, have an international influence and have an influence over the public perception of what constitutes art.

Art Review wrote:

Zaatari, whose work involves a self-reflective examination of photography and documentary, has been busier than ever these past 12 months. His use of archival research and history as both subject and material, with a deft nod to the longstanding political turmoil of the Middle East, has won him curatorial fans far beyond his base in Beirut. Besides 2014 shows at Salt, Istanbul, and the Power Plant, Toronto, he had a survey at Wiels, Brussels, centring on the artist’s recurring motif of the letter. Last November he had a well-received exhibition of photographs and multimedia installations at Thomas Dane, London. That show included the 38-minute film On Photography People and Modern Times (2010), which, in part, is a portrait of the Arab Image Foundation, an expanding collection of over 600,000 vernacular and studio photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora, which the artist cofounded in 1997.

VIDEO: Lebanese style halloumi and tomato meze with Comptoir Libanais

(LONDON, ENGLAND) — London Live visited Tony Kitous of Comptoir Libanias in Chelsea, London to watch him make Lebanese style halloumi and tomato mezze and discuss the similarities between Lebanese and Italian cuisines.

Watch here:

Recipe here:

1/2 pound chunk Halloumi
2 tablespoons picked oregano leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 grilled lemon, juiced
Pita bread, grilled

Brush the cheese with olive oil and place onto a medium hot grill for 2 minutes on each side, or until marked. Remove and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle with oregano. Drizzle the olive oil on top and squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese. Serve with grilled pita bread.

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay, Food Network.

Report: Lebanon gender inequality among worst in world

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanon suffers from severe gender inequality, according to the annual Gender Gap Index issued by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum on Tuesday.

The survey showed Lebanon falling to 135th place in the list of 142 nations, after Morocco and Jordan, which ranked 133rd and 134th, respectively.

Lebanon was ranked 141st for female political participation, given the low number of women holding public and political office. Lebanon was also at the bottom 10 in terms of labor force participation.

Gender equality was most apparent in Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, according to the report.

Syria ranked 139th, fourth place behind Yemen, Pakistan, and Chad, which remained at the bottom of the index.

“Achieving gender equality is obviously necessary for economic reasons. Only those economies who have full access to all their talent will remain competitive and will prosper,” Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman, said in a statement.

The index ranks countries based on data reported by international organizations on four categories: health and survival, access to education, economic opportunity and political participation.

“Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its women,” the report said.

See the interactive report below:

Beirut named 14th in “Top 25 Cities in the World”

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Beirut was recently listed in the 14th spot of “Top 25 Cities in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler, a luxury and lifestyle magazine based in the United States.

Beirut was listed before Sydney, Australia, San Francisco, CA, and Chicago, IL, among others.

CN Traveler says it selected Beirut from the responses of “nearly 77,000 of our readers (who) rated their favorite cities in the world.”

CN Traveler wrote:

“Though the Middle East’s current political climate is volatile (and, admittedly, has been for much of the last three millennia), Beirut remains a popular port of call for seasoned and in-the-know travelers. As editor David Jefferys says, “it’s simply a city that won’t die.” This immortality is buttressed by a thriving dining and shopping scene—try Tawlet, the ‘farmers’ kitchen’ of Souk el Tayeb (every day, a different regional Lebanese chef is showcased) and Artisan du Liban et d’Orient for traditional local garments and crafts. Adding to Beirut’s appeal as a top world city is the presence of numerous fabulous hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, Le Gray, and Hotel Albergo come to mind.​”

The full list includes:

1 – Florence, Italy

2 – Charleston, SC, USA

3 – Budapest, Hungary

4 – Cape Town, South Africa

5 – San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

6 – Prague, Czech Republic

7 – Rome, Italy

8 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

9 – Barcelona, Spain

10 – Santa Fe, NM, USA

11 – Krakow, Poland

12 – Luang Prabang, Laos

13 – Bangkok, Thailand

14 – Beirut, Lebanon

15 – Vienna, Austria

16 – Siena, Italy

17 – New Orleans, LA, USA

18 – Quebec City, Canada

19 – Sydney, Australia

20 – San Fransisco, CA, USA

21 – Chiang Mai, Thailand

22 – Salzburg, Austria

23 – Chicago, IL, USA

24 – Bruges, Belgium

25 – Kyoto, Japan

Lebanese-American named dean of MIT School of Architecture and Planning

(CAMBRIDGE, MA) — Hashim Sarkis — a prominent scholar of architecture and urbanism, a practicing architect whose works have been built in the United States and the Middle East, and a leading expert on design in the Middle East — has been named the new dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), effective in January.

Sarkis is currently the Aga Khan Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Muslim Societies at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). He has been on the Harvard faculty since 1998, and has been a full professor since 2002.

For the last dozen years, Sarkis has also served as director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the GSD. The Aga Khan Program is located jointly at Harvard and MIT, and is a leading program for the study of architecture, urban issues, and visual culture in Islamic societies. He has taught courses and design studios in architecture and urban design that emphasize the importance of design in its cultural context across a broad range of geographic locations.

“As the longtime director of the Aga Khan Program at Harvard, Hashim Sarkis is well-known and widely admired in our School of Architecture and Planning community,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “Through his collaborations at this end of Mass. Ave., he begins this new role with a strong sense of the culture, values, and aspirations of our School of Architecture and Planning and of MIT. In the best MIT tradition, he is a person of bold ideas who likes to test them in the real world of practice. I look forward to working with him to build upon the tremendous progress made by former dean Adele Naude Santos.”

“The energy and forward-looking attitude I have encountered at one of the oldest schools of architecture and planning in the country makes it feel like the youngest,” Sarkis says. “Educators of architects and planners worldwide are emulating the MIT research-based model, and it is a true honor to build on Adele’s legacy and to guide this model forward. MIT at large provides an ideal setting for such an undertaking, especially as it invests in the future of education and in initiatives like energy, environment, and innovation that are at the core of SA+P. It is especially invigorating to see the scientists and engineers reach out to the designers and to see how much they value their contribution to the One Community.”

Cross-disciplinary work

As a scholar and designer, Sarkis has moved across boundaries and disciplines: He has published works on architecture and urbanism in Lebanon, in addition to writing about leading 20th-century modernist architects. His architectural practice, Hashim Sarkis Studios, has won numerous competitions and designed now-completed civic and commercial projects, as well as private houses, from Massachusetts to Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Sarkis’ publications include “Circa 1958: Lebanon in the Pictures and Plans of Constantinos Doxiadis” (2003). He has edited or co-edited volumes about several leaders of modernism, including “CASE: Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital” (2001) and “Josep Lluis Sert: The Architect of Urban Design” (2008). Sarkis also co-edited “Projecting Beirut” (1998), about the modern development and more recent reconstruction of Beirut.

Completed or under-construction buildings designed by Hashim Sarkis Studios include the new town hall of Byblos, Lebanon; a housing project in Tyre, Lebanon; a park in downtown Beirut; urban design guidelines for several Middle Eastern cities; and a variety of residential and commercial buildings in the metropolitan Boston area.

Sarkis’ architectural work has been published extensively and has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as at Biennale exhibitions in Venice, Rotterdam, and Shenzhen/Hong Kong.

SA+P’s 10th dean

As SA+P’s new permanent dean, Sarkis succeeds Santos, who served from 2004 until this year, announcing in January that she would step down. Santos remains on the faculty as a professor of architecture, and is also a practicing architect.

Architectural historian, critic, and theorist Mark Jarzombek, a professor of the history and theory of architecture, has served as SA+P’s interim dean since July 1. Sarkis will become the 10th permanent dean of the school.

SA+P encompasses five departments, programs, and centers: the Department of Architecture, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the MIT Media Lab, the Center for Real Estate, and the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology.

Some 40 percent of the current SA+P faculty has been hired within the past decade; during the same time, graduate applications to many programs have soared. The school has also consolidated and renewed the physical spaces in which its scholars and practitioners work, in part to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Sarkis received his BArch and BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987, his MArch from Harvard in 1989, and his PhD in architecture from Harvard in 1995.

Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office

RECIPE: Amardeen Smoothie

Watch Joumana Accad of TasteofBeirut.com:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZtK0A2yiEg” width=”500″ height=”300″]

Amardeen is the name given to a large sheet of apricot paste. Amardeen has a tangy, sweet and intense apricot flavor. It is diluted in water, made into a drink or pudding or just eaten in chunks.

For a quart-sized pitcher:

Dilute 500 g (about 1 package or 1 pound) of amardeen in four cups of water overnight. The next day, pour one cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the water. Cool and set aside. Place 2 ounces of nuts (pistachios, pine nuts) in a bowl filled with water for at least one hour.

In a blender, pour the amardeen and water mixture and the syrup and process until smooth; taste for desired sweetness. Serve the drink in cups and garnish with a few pine nuts and peeled pistachios or almonds or walnuts, if desired.

NOTE: One can add a teaspoon of rose water to this drink if desired.

Lebanese photographer featured on ABC News ‘This Week in Pictures’

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese photographer Karim Bechara posted a beautiful photograph of lightning strokes above Lebanon on Facebook on Thursday. The lightning came as a result of heavy rainfall pounding various regions of the country this week.

Bechara used a long exposure to produce the image and captioned: “The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn’t there the second time.”

Beshara’s photo was featured on ABC News as one of the week’s top photos from around the globe.

Beirut-based ABC correspondent Alexander Marquardt posted the photo on Twitter calling it an “amazing shot.”

See more photos by Karim Bechara below:



Lebanese social activist selected to speak at UN forum

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese social activist Nour El Assaad will speak at the international World Women’s Health and Development (WWHD) forum at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, which will take place from November 19 to 21.

The Lebanese National News Agency says El Assaad was selected among 2,644 other applications because of “the nature of her vision.”

The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT), which is the governing body of the forum, says they attract “world leaders” and “international policy makers” to create “policy, educational initiatives and program models” for female leaders worldwide.

El Assaad graduated at 19 years and old and held a marketing manager position at age 21. From there, she founded “No Label ME,” an anti-bullying movement in Lebanon.

“The energy and enthusiasm of El Assaad will be invested in expanding the horizons of Woman’s Health and Development locally and regionally,” the UN World Women’s Health & Development Forum wrote on Facebook.

The Forum will include several topics, namely women’s health and sustainable development, international women’s health policies, environment, media, lifestyle and economic conditions and their impact on women’s health, women’s mental health, scientific research and its importance in developing women’s health through early detection and treatment.

“I am not only excited because I was given this opportunity, but also because I am also Lebanese, and a Lebanese participating in a forum discussing a very understated topic in the world,” El-Assaad wrote on Facebook.

Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) an international non-governmental organization accredited by the United Nations was founded in 1968 and is working on a service rights to education, health and scientific research and other programs for sustainable development.

Sally Greige becomes Miss Lebanon 2014


(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Sally Greige was crowned Miss Lebanon 2014 during a ceremony on Sunday evening in Beirut, beating 13 other contestants in the annual pageant.

When asked what cause she would feel compelled to join, Greige vowed to champion women’s rights.

“If I were to take part in one demonstration, I would choose to participate in a demonstration to defend the rights of Lebanese women,” she responded to panelists.

Greige, along with the 13 other contenders were dressed exclusively by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad’s 2014-2015 Fall/Winter collection. The event was hosted by TV Journalist Dima Sadek who also wore a design by Murad.

Greige, a brunette with green eyes, won the highest marks in the swimming suit and evening gown competitions, impressing social media followers and the panelists, which included Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, Future Movement MP Serge Torsarkissian and TV Host Georges Kordahi.

Among the prizes she won were a $300,000 apartment, a 2014 Audi Q3 and $50,000 worth of jewelry.

The new Miss Lebanon was styled in a black and white embroidered sheath dress.

Greige is from the Koura region of Lebanon and is a student at the University of Balamand.

Greige will represent Lebanon at the Miss World pageant on December 14 in London and at the Miss Universe pageant, which will take place at Florida’s International University, on January 25, 2015.

Watch Sally Greige the moment she was crowned Miss Lebanon 2014:



VIDEO: This incredible Lebanese wedding entrance will amaze you!

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — It’s no surprise Lebanese people like to take things a few step further.

Watch this Lebanese couple from Zahle go above and beyond with one of the most incredible wedding entrances ever!

Watch below (fast forward to the 10-minute mark):

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