VIDEO: 19-year-old Lebanese-Brazilian wows millions on YouTube

(SAO PAULO, BRAZIL) — Lebanese-Brazilian singer and songwriter Luciana Zogbi is impressing millions of people on YouTube with beautifully sung covers of hit American singles, including John Legend’s “All of Me” and James Morrison’s “Broken Strings.”

The 19-year-old singer has over 17 million YouTube views and 170,000 Facebook likes.

Watch Luciana perform “All of Me”:

Watch Luciana perform “Broken Strings”:

To watch more of Luciana, click here.

25 Life Lessons from Lebanese-American Visionary Gibran Khalil Gibran

1. Be thankful for the difficult times. They have showed you how strong you can be.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

2. Kindness is a quality of the strong.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”

3. There’s no such thing as absolute truth.

“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.”

4. It’s the small people who try to belittle and humiliate others.

“To belittle, you have to be little.”

5. The harm others do to you is easier to forget than the harm you do to others.

“If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember.”

6. You might forget those who made you laugh, but you will never forget those who were by your side in your darkest hours.

“You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.”

“Hearts united in pain and sorrow will not be separated by joy and happiness. Bonds that are woven in sadness are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure. Love that is washed by tears will remain eternally pure and faithful.”

7. It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.

“In the sweetness of friendship; let there be laughter and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

8. Love is life. And life is love.

“When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”

9. Put love into your work.

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”

“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.”

10. To understand the heart and mind of a person, look at what he aspires to be.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”

“Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.”

11. True love can’t be possessed.

“Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.”

12. Seek to put up with bad manners pleasantly.

“The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.”

13. Love binds everything together in perfect harmony.

“They say: ‘If a man knew himself, he would know all mankind.’ I say: ‘If a man loved mankind, he would know something of himself.”

14. Always look on the bright side of life.

“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.”

15. We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”

16. True love is the offspring of spiritual affinity.

“It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.”

17. Let there be space in your relationship.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

18. If you pray when it rains, make sure you also pray when the sun shines.

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”

19. When you give of yourself, that’s when you truly give.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

20. Real beauty comes from within.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”

21. Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

“Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.”

22. Every relationship should be free from bondage.

“No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.”

“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”

23. Be thankful for both the good and the bad in your life. It’s all meant to teach you something.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

24. Your attitude towards life will determine life’s attitude towards you.

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”

25. A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?”

Source: Purpose Fairy. Click here for original article.

Four Lebanese cities named in top 20 list of world’s “oldest cities”


(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A recent article published by The Telegraph named four Lebanese cities to the list of “the world’s 20 oldest cities.”

Tyre (#12), Beirut (#10), Sidon (#6), and Byblos (#2) were identified by the UK newspaper as the “20 oldest continually-inhabited places on earth.”

See the four cities featured in The Telegraph below:

12. Tyre, Lebanon

When did the earliest inhabitants settle? 2,750 BC

The legendary birthplace of Europa and Dido, Tyre was founded around 2,750 BC, according to Herodotus. It was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC following a seven-month seige and became a Roman province in 64 BC. Today, tourism is a major industry: the city’s Roman Hippodrome is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Bible: “Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes.”


10. Beirut, Lebanon

When did the earliest inhabitants settle? 3,000 BC

Lebanon’s capital, as well as its cultural, administrative and economic centre, Beirut’s history stretches back around 5,000 years. Excavations in the city have unearthed Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Arab and Ottoman remains, while it is mentioned in letters to the pharaoh of Egypt as early as the 14th century BC. Since the end of the Lebanese civil war, it has become a lively, modern tourist attraction.

Jan Morris (Welsh historian and travel writer): “To the stern student of affairs, Beirut is a phenomenon, beguiling perhaps, but quite, quite impossible.”


6= Sidon, Lebanon

When did the earliest inhabitants settle? 4,000 BC

Around 25 miles south of Beirut lies Sidon, one of the most important – and perhaps the oldest – Phoenician cities. It was the base from which the Phoenician’s great Mediterranean empire grew. Both Jesus and St Paul are said to have visited Sidon, as did Alexander the Great, who captured the city in 333 BC.

Charles Méryon (French artist): “Few persons new to the climate escape a rash of some description.”


2. Byblos, Lebanon

When did the earliest inhabitants settle? 5,000 BC

Founded as Gebal by the Phoenicians, Byblos was given its name by the Greeks, who imported papyrus from the city. Hence the English word Bible is derived from Byblos. The city’s key tourist sites include ancient Phoenician temples, Byblos Castle and St John the Baptist Church – built by crusaders in the 12th century – and the old Medieval City Wall. The Byblos International Festival is a more modern attraction, and has featured bands such as Keane and Jethro Tull.

To see the full article, click here.

Microsoft hires Lebanese as region general manager

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Microsoft Corporation hired Leila Serhan Salem as the new Regional General Manager for North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Pakistan on Tuesday, replacing former regional GM Sayed Hashish.

Salem was previously the General Manager of Microsoft Lebanon and Emerging Marekets.

“I am very excited” said Serhan. “It is a place where you can bring Lebanese talent to the forefront.”

Serhan who lives and works in Lebanon, said that the “Lebanese have big ideas.”

“We have a reservoir of creativity in Lebanon but the country still requires more investment,” she said. “Microsoft can bring this combination of investment and talent.”

Serhan graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She went on to work six years with Libancell, where she headed the Financial Planning and Budgeting unit, and was one of the youngest managers in the company.

She joined Microsoft in September 2002 as the financial controller for the Eastern Mediterranean subsidiary. In 2003, she moved to the marketing department, holding the Marketing manager position for three years, where she was responsible for the marketing strategy and the product marketing strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean and Pakistan region.

In 2006, she was promoted to become the Small and Medium enterprises and Solution Partners Manager for Microsoft Eastern Mediterranean and Pakistan.

Serhan received membership in the Platinum Club of the Circle of Excellenence Awards at Microsoft, one of the highest achievement awards in the company.

Lebanese-American crowned “Miss Arab USA”

(SCOTTSDALE, AZ) — Lebanese-American Guinwa Zeineddine was crowned as Miss Arab USA at the Talking Stick Resort & Casino in Scottsdale, Arizona on September 6.

The 22-year-old was born in Canada and raised in the United Arab Emirates before moving to the United States at 16 years old. She is of Lebanese descent.

Zeineddine is currently pursuing two degrees in pre-pharmacy and communications, while maintaining a competitive GPA. She has remained on the Dean’s list and has been inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Zeineddine is an advocate for community involvement and female empowerment. She has served in several community organizations including the Boys & Girls Club, Center for the Blind, Operation Christmas Child, the Salvation Army and adopting needy families for the holidays.

Zeineddine honorably became the first Arab American president of a Latina-based sorority at her university.

She believes that The Miss Arab USA crown serves as an opportunity for her to receive new and greater heights in her life.

“As your Miss Arab USA, I am committed to be the best representation of what a Miss Arab USA should be.” she said.

The Annual Miss Arab USA Pageant was founded on the basis of advancing the cause for young ladies of Arab descent. The Pageant is a charity event for the community, uniting Arab Americans and their friends in celebrating the Arab cultural heritage in the United States.

“This was one of the most exciting pageants we’ve witnessed” said Egyptian singing sensation Mohamed Hamaki. “Every year The Miss Arab USA Pageant continues to grow and improve.”

Watch the moment Zeineddine was crowned Miss Arab USA:

14102118576Congrats Guinwa!

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.

CNN in Lebanon: ‘How to make the “sexiest wine on the planet”

lebanon-wine(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — CNN recently visited the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon to feature winemaking described as the “sexiest wine on the planet.”

“We [Lebanon] produce eight million bottles of wine a year which may sound like a lot but if we compare that to Turkey, which produces 70 million, Cypriots around 35 to 40 million. Israelis produce about 50 million — so even on a regional scale we’re tiny. Global scale? We’re a dot,” wine writer Michael Karam told CNN.

But the rarity of Lebanese wine, he says, is a distinguishing factor that businesses can capitalize on to help their product stand out.

The CNN crew visited Chateau Ksara and Domaine Des Tourelles.

Watch the report:

Ambassador David Hale: Bridging cultures brings stability

ambassador-david-hale-speaking(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — On September 4, American Ambassador David Hale inaugurated the Art in Embassies exhibit in his residence at the U.S. Embassy. Speaking to a diverse audience that included cultural, political, educational and economic leaders, Ambassador Hale underscored the power of art in strengthening cultural understanding, and highlighted the Embassy’s cultural exchange work.

“In this exhibit we see common themes and revelations in the works of the Lebanese and the Americans. But we also see how the artists themselves can be the bridge of mutual understanding. By having a foot – or paint brush – in both worlds, they become the bridge that we use to understand and accept each other,” Hale said. “Generations of Lebanese immigrants and their children have influenced America. In the art world, two of the most well-known are Nabil Kanso and Sam Maloof.”

The Art in Embassies program encourages cross-cultural dialogue through the visual arts and artist exchanges. The residence currently hosts eleven pieces of art from Lebanese, American, and Lebanese-American artists, and emphasizes bridging culture as its theme.

“(The exhibit) is a metaphor for the bridging of cultures that promote mutual understanding,” Hale said. “And from that understanding comes acceptance, and from acceptance, tolerance. And from tolerance, stability.”

Art in Embassies is a public-private partnership provided by the U.S. Department of State engaging more than 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, and encompasses more than 200 venues in 189 countries. Professional curators and registrars create and ship about 60 exhibitions per year, and since 2000, more than 58 permanent collections have been installed in the Department’s diplomatic facilities throughout the world.

Salma Hayek on producing Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — Salma Hayek remembers the first time she saw a copy of The Prophet, a book of poetry by Kahlil Gibran.

It was at her paternal grandfather’s house in Lebanon. “I’m sorry, I was his favorite. We were very close and I lost him when I was six. He used to have this book on his bedside table. Many years went by and, when I was 18, I found this book again and I read it. For me, it was my grandfather teaching me about life through the book, and I learnt so much about the man who meant so much to me.”

Hayek has returned to the book, time and again, each time taking new meaning from it. In her teens it was the tales of love, in her twenties and thirties, the sections on good and evil. Now, in her forties, it’s the chapter about children. Hayek has a seven-year old daughter with her husband, French billionaire businessman François Henri-Pinault.

The Prophet will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month, following a rather spectacular preview at the Cannes Film Festival. The Oscar-nominated director of The Lion King, Roger Allers, wrote the screenplay and directed the segments that inter link the chapters. A who’s who of world animation – Joan C. Gratz, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar and the Brizzi brothers – are also involved.

Hayek produced the film. She founded her company, Ventanarosa, in 1999 and has always used it to realise difficult projects such as her biopic of the artist Frida Kahlo. “If they tell me it’s impossible and a ridiculous idea then I want to do it. When I had to sell Frida, I would say to financiers, ‘It’s a biopic about Mexican communists and artists. And it’s a love story about a hairy cripple and a fat man.’ Now I’m saying, ‘I’m making this animation about a philosophy book, and by the way it has nine directors attached to it, they all have different styles, nothing looks the same, and it’s 2D. But don’t worry because the author is Lebanese.’”

Hayek also voices Kamila, the girl who discovers the works of Kahlil Gibran. She’s excited finally to make use of her Arabic roots: “As a Lebanese woman, I’ve been looking for a part where I could represent Arab women. In my long career, I’ve not been able to find one, which made me really sad. This film is a love letter to my heritage.”

Salma is Arabic for “calm”, ironic given that the actress is usually cast as the whirlwind in any screen relationship. It’s also odd to hear her speak so vociferously about being Arab. While her grandfather was Lebanese, her parents were born in Central America – her mother an opera singer and talent scout, her father a businessman, who once ran for mayor in the port city of Coatzacoalcos, where she was born. After studying international relations in Mexico City, she landed the title role in Mexican telenovela Teresa, when she was 23. It made her a star in her homeland. Hollywood came after she appeared opposite Antonio Banderas in the 1995 hit Desperado. Superstardom was assured when she appeared in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborations Four Rooms and From Dusk Till Dawn.

While appearing in blockbusters such as Wild Wild West and The Faculty, her personal sensibilities were clear from the films that she chose to produce. In 1999 she adapted Gabriel García Márquez’s novel about Colombian peasants living under martial law, No One Writes to the Colonel. It was followed in 2001 by In the Time of the Butterflies, a TV movie based on Julia Alvarez’s novel about the Mirabal sisters, a group of Dominican revolutionary activists.

Her one stint as director came in 2003, when she directed The Maldonado Miracle for Showtime. While Hollywood is willing to accept actresses who become producers, directing is a different ball game, she says. “After I produced Butterflies, the head of Showtime called me and said, ‘I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I want to tell you that you’re not really a producer or an actress, you’re a director. I want you to direct a movie.’ I was so shocked and I said, ‘I don’t think I can.’ But after I did Frida, I was getting offered the same parts, so I went back to him and said, ‘Do you have the project?’ He said yes and I asked to rewrite it.”

She was warned by others not to direct. “I was told if you direct you’ll never get hired as an actress again in this town, because directors don’t want to hire an actress who is also a can director. It’s not the same for actors. We did the movie and I stopped working for some time. Then we got nominated for six Emmys, Best Director among them. But I didn’t go pick it up and I did zero publicity. I would have stopped working even more as an actress.”

The film was nominated for five Daytime Emmy awards and won one, for Outstanding Directing in a Children/Youth/Family Special. But it is true that the acting roles dried up – a change in direction that is also down to her daughter. “Now it has to fit in with my lifestyle. Can I bring my daughter? Is it the right environment for her?”

This is her busiest year as an actress for a long time. She is starring opposite Pierce Brosnan in the Cambridge-set romantic drama How to Make Love Like an Englishman. She’s also in Everly, an action thriller in which she plays a woman who faces assassins sent by her mob boss ex-boyfriend. She is most excited by working on Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone’s period drama The Tale of Tales. “We were shooting in Sicily and Tuscany, but it’s difficult because all the locations are so complicated. I had to climb up onto a rock with a cable attached to me in a 17th-century costume. John C Reilly was in an old diving suit walking against the current, and I’m asking, ‘Is this safe?’”

Michael Kors opens first standalone store in Lebanon

Picture 341(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — American fashion brand Michael Kors hosted a grand opening party Tuesday for the opening of its first store in Beirut, Lebanon.

Michael Kors, who built the successful brand, said Lebanon was a perfect choice for a new store.

“Fashion and style have really become global over the past few years. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to open stores in new regions around the world, and I think Lebanon, which has always been renowned for its sophistication, is the perfect choice for our newest location,” he said.

While the brand already sells at department stores, the 126-square meter space on Fakhry Bey Street in the Beirut Souks area is the first standalone store in the country.

The popular brand is the latest foreign label to open a shop in spite of its security issues in Lebanon. Other high-end brands that have opened standalone stores in Downtown recently include clothing brand Joseph and shoe maker Roger Vivier.

“It’s always exciting entering a new country,” said John D. Idol, the company’s CEO. “The Middle East is a key piece of our expansion strategy, and Beirut is a shopping destination for many fashion and luxury customers. We’re looking forward to introducing them to our jet set lifestyle.”

Send this to friend