By: Claude Geaitani
President of the Youth Council (World Lebanese Cultural Union)
Within the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the WLCU Youth Gathering in Montevideo in 1986, twenty young Lebanese from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay gathered in the WLCU Youth World Meeting in Uruguay from September 22 to 24, 2016. The encounter started on Thursday with a welcoming cocktail where Mr. Juan Saliba, president for the Hispanic America and the Caribbean Council gave a warming speech followed by Mr. Gastón Akiki, president for WLCU Uruguay National Council, thanking all for participating in this event. Dr. Fernando Helo, vice president for Latin America shared a message sent by World President Elias Kassab, who thanked the Latin American community for their commitment and all the love shown for Lebanon, as well as the support given to the youth who are now starting to lead the path of the World Lebanese Cultural Union
On Friday 23rd, members of JUCAL, JUCOLI, JOMALI and AJUL, youth groups affiliated to the WLCU Youth Council, headed to ‘Obra Don Calabria’ Center for Infant and Family Care, where they restored seven floor games for the kids that attend this center. Girls and boys up to 14 y.o. receive integral assistance, workshops and homework support offered by social workers from the government. “Dejando Huella” (Leaving our footprint) aimed to mark a difference on these children’s life and each of the WLCU Youth members was strongly satisfied to have contributed with this charitable act.
After the activity was over, WLCU Youth members headed to ‘Universidad Católica del Uruguay’ where they participated in the CELIBAL Symposium ‘Perspectives of a Middle East in crisis’. (CELIBAL stands for Center of Lebanese Studies for Latin America, in Spanish). Four well known academics offered a wide view on the Middle East situation and shared some ideas about the authoritarian governments, Islamic fundamentalism, the development of Da’esh (Islamic State) and the refugee situation in Lebanon. Mr. Sergio Jalil gave an interesting conclusion: “Lebanon is the best experience of pluralism and respect in the Middle East” where religions, ethnicities coexist, wishing to be the model of pluralism and respect in the whole region.
Saturday September 24th, the Youth headed to “Maroñas” Racecourse where meetings started. WLCU Youth objectives and activities for 2016 – 2018 period were presented. After this, they joined the Hispanic America and the Caribbean Council to listen to several participants of the 1986 encounter share their experience regarding the logistics and development of this Youth encounter. A main conclusion arose from a Q&A session, saying that what unites us until now is this feeling that can’t be explained and keeps us working for our institution and for Lebanon.
After concluding with this talk, the “World Lebanese Cultural Union” race took place. Meetings were resumed and “Feel Lebanon” and LEBolution 2017 were presented to the attendees. More information on these two projects will come soon. That night the Youth attended the closing dinner in Hemingway restaurant, where with a spectacular view of Montevideo all the attendees gave a warm Lebanese farewell to all.
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