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D I N N E R S (Local, International)

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 work.

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.





A 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 following speech:
Ladies & gentlemen, Excellencies & distinguished guests
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 personification.
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 of renovation.
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 an institution.
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 of:
- 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.

Flower 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

في إطار برنامج "التضامن العربي الإجتماعي" نظمت جمعية لبنان العطاء الخيرية مناسبتين في أبوظبي- دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة.
إن الجمعية تسعى لخلق مناسبات تؤدي إلى تكامل عربي في مجالات القطاع الأهلي مما يؤمن تقارب وإلفة مطلوبين. وهاتين المناسبتين تشكلان مدخلا هاما لهذا الهدف.
الأولى كانت غذاء في 14 آذار في نادي السيدات برعاية سمو الشيخة شمسة بنت حمدان بن محمد آل نهيان مساعد رئيس هيئة الهلال الأحمر الإماراتي للشؤون النسائية . حضر الحفل إضافة إلى سمو الشيخة شمسة عددا كبيرا من سيدات المجتمع الظبياني والجاليات الأجنبية وزوجات السفراء المعتمدين.
برنامج الإحتفال اشتمل على عرض أزياء بالأزهار الطبيعية قدمته محلات الأزهار المحلية الشهيرة في أبوظبي.
شارك المصمم اللبناني العالمي جميل الخنسا بتصاميمه الباهرة فحصد الإعجاب والتقدير.
كذلك كان عرض مجوهرات وفقرة شعرية للشاعرة سهام الشعشاع وختم الحفل بفيروزيات للمطربة كاثي يرافقها عازف البيانو إيلي براك.
عرضت الجمعية منتجاتها الحرفية في قاعة الإستقبال وقد حاز المعرض على إعجاب الحضور وأثنت سمو الشيخة شمسة على دقة الأشغال وإتقانها.
المناسبة الثانية كانت حفلة عشاء في 22 آذار في روتانا بيتش اوتيل برعاية سمو الشيخ نهيان مبارك آل نهيان وزير التعليم العالي والبحث العلمي. حضر الحفل عدد من الوجوه البارزة المحلية والجاليات الأجنبية إضافة إلى سمو الشيخ نهيان الذي ألقى كلمة بالمناسبة شدد فيها على أهمية الدور الذي تلعبه الجمعيات الأهلية في تنمية المجتمعات وقدم هبة كريمة ثلاثماية ألف درهم إماراتيٍ.
 يعود ريع النشاط لبناء مدرسة الجيل الجديد في حاصبيا التي لم تزل تشغل بناء الوقف منذ تأسيسها في عام 1983.
كما يساهم هذا الريع بدعم برنامج تمكين المرأة اقتصاديا لتحريرها وإعطائها ثقة أكبر بنفسها. هذا البرنامج  تتابعه الجمعية منذ عام 1993. وقد مكنت حتى الآن 875 امرأة في مجالات يدوية وحرفية مثل الخياطة والتطريز وشك الخرز وماكياج الخ....      
عرضتها تلميذات متطوعات من مدرسة الظفرة- أبوظبي.
وتجدر الإشارة إلى أن الجمعية تنظم مناسباتها منذ 2004 في الدول العربية وعالميا.

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 Women Affairs.
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 Zakkhour.



New York Athletic Club dinner, 11 Nov 2005
The 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 Card)
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.

bullet Aghnie Abi Rafeh 
bullet Leila Atiye  
bullet Hayat Barakat 
bullet Wael Chehab
bullet Raniya Kassem
bullet Lara Kayrouz
bullet Rabih Khoury
bullet Sahar Mouakassa
bullet Hiam Yunan

The 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 of Egypt.

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 people.

 Story of a Costume, Abou-Dhabi, 7 November 2004
The 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 rolled on.





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