New York Athletic Club dinner, 18 April 2008
The Committee of the Society of Lebanon the Giver
in New York- Hayat Barakat, Aghnie Abi Rafeh, Wael
Chehab, Lara Kairouz, Hiam Yunan, Leila Attiye, Edgar
Chaar, Denise Zihenni, Carole Marshi, Sahar Muakasa,
Khaled Hamieh- invited to a Gala dinner to celebrate
the Silver Jubilee of the Society on the 18th of April
at the New York Athletic Club. A large number of the
Lebanese & Arab communities attended added to
the Lebanese General Consul Antoine Azzam.
Senator Sununu was the guest of honor, he was introduced
by master of ceremony Prince Wael Chehab who said
that Sununu originally Lebanese is the youngest in
the Senate & the only one of Arab origin. Senator
Sununu congratulated the “Society of Lebanon
the Giver & its extraordinary team for the Silver
Jubilee & for what it did to Lebanese families
& Lebanese culture & heritage”. He said
part of his mission in the Senate is to bring his
colleagues to focus on the opportunity of keeping
Lebanon an independent & sovereign country. He
said that USA effective role in the Middle East makes
its support to Lebanon a crucial one & this support
lies in: justice where assassins will be taken to
court in the international tribunal for killing &
undermining Lebanese stability. On the security level,
supports the Lebanese armed forces to deal with outside
forces & to promote integrity & security thus
improving economy. On the economic level encouraging
partnership through organizations like MEPI &
USAID providing opportunities like which the Society
of Lebanon the Giver benefits from. Education is another
field Supported by USA through schools & universities
such as LAU & AUB & other regional academies
like in Dubai & Egypt to foster educational development,
better understanding & better relations.
The Society's president Princess Hayat Arslan spoke
about institutionalization v/s personification; meaning
building institutions to rid personification saying:
“We the third world nations tend to personify
everything including principles, values & even
countries. This tendency is a decease that cannot
heal without treatment, patience & persistence.”
She also mentioned that the Society is in the stage
of building institutions enabled
by its credibility gained after 25 years of serious
The entertainment began by a Balloon Show where 10
children- Amanda Zihenni, Sara Gdei’, Tara Marshi,
Rhea Kairouz, Talia Kairouz, Nathaly Aucar, Patricia
Obeid, Mufid Hatoum- entered the hall cheering &
dancing with white & silver Balloons in coordination
with the Silver Jubilee.
fashion show for five Lebanese designers- Abed Mahfouz,
Nadwa Awar, Roni Richa, Maurice Abou Malhab &
Nawal Sarieddine- followed with one dress per each
designer in white & silver also. Abed Mahfouz
offered his dress to be auctioned as a donation to
the Society because he thinks that when Business meets
Charity it becomes more human.
Mada Arslan presented a DVD showing
how the Society ameliorated the kind of life of needy
families by empowering women economically.
The evening was presented by the
professional & Charismatic speaker Rita Zihenni.
Princess Hayat Arslan delivered the
Ladies & gentlemen, Excellencies & distinguished
Before I begin my speech I like to thank Senator Sununu
for being with us tonight & to welcome Consul
Azzam who knows what he means to us.
I am addressing this elitist group for the second
time to say that I am lucky to have this chance &
grateful to the New York Society committee. This Committee
which I can find no words or expressions to thank
or describe will always be the cornerstone of our
new international trend of global activities &
presence. This Committee enlarged to include new members
enthusiastic & faithful to a valid cause; a cause
I tend to summarize as “sharing God’s
Grace to deserve it”.
The subject of my speech tonight is “Pledge
Allegiance to Institutions” meaning building
institutions to rid personification.
We the third world nations tend to personify everything
including principles, values & even countries.
This tendency is a decease that cannot heal without
treatment, patience & persistence.
In Europe revolutions made the reform & the cult
of persons ended when the king, God’s representative
on earth by that time was beheaded.
In America the pledge to the flag at the beginning
of every ceremony is the continuous reminder of non
In our part of the world leaders are still cheered
by statements confirming the readiness to sacrifice
blood & soul for them. It is painful & degrading
& only enlightened people who are aware of this
illness can play the role of reform.
Reform paving the way to real Democracy that we miss
& we live the illusions of enjoying its fruits
while we only fool ourselves to believe that we are
modern & up to global criteria.
Personification represented by our feudal lords &
the neo feudal leaders of today, seems to be immune
& irresistible & our feudal lords & leaders
survive time & circumstances & generation
after generation they represent stagnation instead
A large ratio of the Lebanese is aware of this illness
& notices the necessity of curing it. Institutionalization
is the cure. We, the Society of Lebanon the Giver
were aware of the need to reform this negative aspect.
In our Society meetings, I used to give the example
of how unfairly my Arslan family name superseded the
name of the Society.
We practice what we preach.
Twenty five years ago we began as a modest Non Governmental
Organization struggling to fulfill its objectives
& exhausted all possible means to survive the
very hard circumstances the ?country was & is
still undergoing. This not to mention the hardships
& obstacles the NGOs face & suffer.
We insisted on performing with institutional spirit
ignoring oneself & giving priority to actions,
deeds & achievements. We noticed Hierarchy we
respected delegating missions to the right people
with co-ordination, collaboration & harmony among
all Society sectors. We had the intentions to become
We had the will but we didn’t have the means
as if we had nothing. No surrender, no despair kept
going on with dedication ?& achievements. We gained
credibility & trust thus paved the way to vast
support enabling us to build local institutions.
I am happy & proud to announce that we are realizing
our dreams with a premise for the New Generation school
in Hasbaya, a location for the “Vocational Training
Center for Women” in Aley, & a location
for the Society in Beirut.
With friends like you we’ll have a remarkable
place under the sun denoting that we gave the example
- healing a social illness
- reforming a mentality
- bridging a gap in our socio-political system
- proving that loyal efforts are fruitful
We were faithful to our pledge & we promise we
will always be with your help & support.
Fashion Show Dinner 22 March 2007
The fourth international Dinner was organized in Abu-Dhabi
at Beach Rotana Hotel & Towers under the High
Patronage of H.H Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan.
A Lebanese Folkloric Traditional Dance/Dabke
was peformed by students of al Dhafra school
directed by Mrs Nada Saab
غذاء في 14 آذار
في نادي السيدات
بن محمد آل
. حضر الحفل
في قاعة الإستقبال
وقد حاز المعرض
عشاء في 22 آذار
لم تزل تشغل
في عام 1983.
منذ عام 1993.
875 امرأة في
إلى أن الجمعية
منذ 2004 في الدول
Flower Fashion Show Lunch, 14 March 2007
The third international event/lunch was organized
in Abu-Dhabi at the “Ladies Club” under
the High Patronage of H.H Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan
al Nahyan. The event was in co-ordination with the
UAE Red Crescent where H.H Shamsa Bint Hamdan is the
assistant of the President of the Red Crescent for
Local Flower shops designed sumptuous real flowers
outfits & young volunteer girls modeled them graciously.
The Lebanese designer Jamil Khansa showed his stunning
Haute Couture Collection & the event was closed
with the pianist Elie Barrak & the Vocalist Kathy
York Athletic Club dinner, 11 Nov 2005
second international Dinner the Society organized
in New York. A Committee of well established Lebanese
friends was established to organize & sponsor
the event. DOCO was the umbrella as a tax-exempted
Society registered in New York. ( Invitation
The revenues were used to renovate the Society Technical
School in Aley
The event included traditional Lebanese Costumes Show,
Artisanal Abaya show & modern Haute Couture Show;
showing Lebanese culture & heritage costume evolution
across the Ages.
The Society of Lebanon the Giver” organized
the second international fund-raising dinner at the
“New York Athletic Club” in New York,
NY, USA, on 11 November 2005. The following committee
members organized the successful event for the foundation.
||Aghnie Abi Rafeh
event attracted many people from the New York Metropolitan
area including dignitaries and honorable guests such
as Lebanese Ambassador Tony Chedid, manager of the
international organizations’ department in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Klovis Maksoud;
Mrs. Mona Safadi; Ambassador Mohamad Harake, Consul
General of Lebanon; Ambassador Ibrahim Assaf, First
secretary of the Lebanese permanent mission to the
UN and Consul Antoine Azzam. We were also honored
to have Dr. Abdul Rahman Jdaia, Ambassador of Saudi
Arabia; Mr. Fouad Hanai, Ambassador of Sultanate of
Oman; Mr. Toufic Al Mansour Ambassador the Kingdom
of Bahrain, Mr. Abdul Aziz al Shamissi Ambassador
of the United Arab Emirates; Mr. Abdallah Ba’li,
Ambassador of Algeria and Mr. Sherif al Kholi, Ambassador
Prince Wael Chehab, Master of Ceremonies
opened the fundraiser by introducing the president
of the Society, Princess Hayat Arslan, who spoke about
the theme of this years’ event, “Empowerment
of Women in Lebanon”. Princess Hayat addressed
the current efforts to empower women within Lebanon
as well as the challenges they are currently facing.
Empowerment of women throughout our region is an international
issue of socio-political importance which thus captured
the guests’ attention and interest.
Princess Ghina Arslan followed with
an overview of the Society’s vision, goals as
well as the various activities it currently is involved
in. The presentation also included a slide presentation
by Mr. Tony Baroud who articulated the emotional relationship
between the Lebanese and their mother country.
The slide show was followed by a
fashion show which showcased traditional and modern
‘abayas’. The distinguished traditional
‘abayas’ were designed by Ms. Samia Saab
and were shown alongside her collection of ancient
traditional wedding dresses which were designed more
than a century ago. Designers, Roni Richa’s
collection of Haute Couture were also showcased during
the fashion show. The lovely volunteers who modeled
the beautiful pieces are: Sylvia Moulos, Jessica Kalache,
Dana Barakat, Lana Kuptan, Joyce Kassouf, Jessica
Schinazi, Raya Abi Rafeh, Nada Sara, Liliana Abi Rafeh,
and Mada Arslan.
The evening closed with a silent
auction of Samia Saab’s & the Society’s
‘abayas’. All proceeds from the auction
will directly benefit the work of the Society.
On 14 and 15 November, the Society
held another successful artisanal exhibition under
the Patronage of Ambassador Mohamad Harake at the
Lebanese Consulate in New York. Many visitors &
representatives of foreign Countries visited the exhibition
showed their appreciation of the sophistication &
finness of the exhibited handicrafts. Mr. Richard
Murphy, former American envoy to Lebanon visited the
exhibit and expressed his admiration for the Lebanese
Story of a Costume, Abou-Dhabi, 7 November
first Dinner the Society organized abroad; in Abu-Dhabi
at Intercontinental Hotel under the High Patronage
of H.H Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan.
It was a revised copy of the earlier Dinner “Histoire
d’un Costume” organized in Lebanon in
2002. In that evening the story of the phoenician
discovering the purple-red color was told. The 2 Guests
of the event Tony Baroud & Christina Sawaya represented
the King & Queen of Tyre appeared at the stage
dressing the purple- red color thus opening the Party.
We made it a point showing a relevant part of Lebanese
history abroad. Then Costumes & happy memories