President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, on Tuesday received former Minister, Naji Boustany, and addressed with him general affairs and recent developments.
The meeting also tackled Shouf needs, especially the stages of construction of Deir El Kamar governmental hospital, in light of the Kuwaiti donation to this purpose and the studies and maps which were prepared by the Council for Development and Reconstruction, which costs are linked to the given value of 2 million USD.
Jaafari Cultural Council:
President Aoun met a delegation from the “Jaafari Cultural Academy for Research, Islamic Studies and Interfaith Dialogue” headed by its President, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein Al-Hajj.
The delegation also included Messrs’ Hassan Kotb, Omar Al-Masry, Qassem Kassir, Elie Sirghani, Abdel Latif Sinno and Fawzi Bitar.
At the beginning, Sheikh Al-Hajj thanked President Aoun for receiving the delegation, and praised the efforts made by the current presidential term to spare the country any security setback despite the difficult conditions it is experiencing, considering that maintaining security stability can only be put in the category of major achievements that count, although there are some incidents that can occur in every country.
In addition, Sheikh Al-Hajj presented the work of the Council, which is considered one of the most important dialogue institutions in the country. In reference to the President’s call for the establishment of the Human Academy for Convergence and Dialogue, Al-Hajj affirmed that the Council looks forward to this academy, considering that Lebanon desperately needs it and for dialogue institutions that seek to support Islamic-Christian and Islamic-Islamic dialogue, especially since Lebanon is a country of coexistence.
“We have finally noticed that there must be a call for dialogue at the political level, so we called for a civil state and adopted the project of this state, which is the state of law, and which we hope will be adopted away from quotas, politics, and sectarianism. Let the competent people be in the right place and position. Because if we adopt this state, all problems can be solved regardless of the implementation of what was agreed upon, whether in Doha or Taif” Sheikh Al-Hajj stated.
Finally, the head of the delegation wished the President that there would be attention and acknowledgment of the institutions that work to promote dialogue, especially since President Aoun always calls for and adopts dialogue and desires its establishment at various levels, and he has always shown interest in the efforts made by the Council.
For his part, the President welcomed the delegation and praised the work done by the Council, especially in terms of guiding society towards peace and love, “Which we desperately need in order for a man to know his fellow man, especially since we all believe in God and we must call for peace among us”.
“The establishment of the Dialogue Academy would bring people closer together and introduce them to each other, so that the world would be able to spread peace and love among people of different civilizations” President Aoun said.
“In our call for the establishment of this academy, we give Lebanon a model for a shared life, despite the political differences between the Lebanese, which shouldn’t reflect human and national differences since politics differ from values” the President continued.
“Here we have to exert efforts, each from his position, so that the political dispute remains within the limits of politics and doesn’t turn into a dispute between people, and the homeland remains a homeland” President Aoun added.
Concerning the crisis which Lebanon is witnessing, especially in terms of economic and financial terms, which has led numerous Lebanese to a state of extreme poverty, the President pointed out that some have personally attacked him for fighting corruption, and some attempt to portray matters as a personal or sectarian issue even though matters are the opposite.
“Banks have placed deposits in the Central Ban worth 86 Billion USD, of which the government was given 5 Billion, and the value of the remaining reserves is estimated at 13 Billion. The most important question is where the 68 Billion disappeared. This matter shouldn’t happen and whoever wants to rule cannot turn citizens into poor people instead of helping them, creating job opportunities and preserving national wealth. Today, we need the Lebanese to unite to fight corruption and not launch media campaigns” the President said.
Then, President Aoun referred to what is being said about the process of indirect negotiations with Israel, and asserted that everything that is said about waiving Lebanon’s rights in the maritime borders is not true because those who launch these rumours are not aware of what took place during the discussions, which will preserve Lebanon’s rights and its natural wealth, and this is what is important.
Finally, the President emphasized the importance of dialogue being accompanied by the dissemination of a culture of national solidarity to fight corruption and preserve the various human values and good virtues in order to be able to continue.
President Aoun asserted that the dialogue is the starting point for reaching fruitful results.
University College of Violence and Human Rights:
The President met a delegation from the University College of Nonviolence and Human Rights AUNOHR, which included its founder, Dr. Ugarit Younan, its president, Dr. Elham Kalab, and Vice President, Dr. Abdel-Hussein Shaaban.
The delegation briefed President Aoun on the role of the university, which obtained its license in 2014 and began teaching in 2015, and will soon celebrate the graduation of the first batch of its students holding a master’s degree in non-violence in the world, and these students are from Lebanon and five other countries.
The delegation also explained that the college includes specializations at the master’s level, most notably in the philosophy and skills of nonviolent education, social training and active methods, conflict management and nonviolent mediation, nonviolent educational theatre, civic education, citizenship education, human rights education culture and skills, philosophy and methodologies of nonviolence, nonviolent communication, and media skills etc…
Moreover, delegation members indicated that the college is based on thirty years of life experience and intellectual and field work, and is independent of any local or foreign party and is considered the first of its kind in Lebanon and the region. The college receives students from Lebanon and other Arab countries, and their files are accepted for registration from all academic fields according to a flexible scientific mechanism, since there are no similar previous majors in higher education.
For his side, the President praised the role played by the college in the field of disseminating the culture of non-violence and human rights, and pointed out the importance of this culture, especially in the circumstances experienced by the countries of the world, where violence prevails and expands.