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University of Balamand > Administration > Presidency > President Salem > Speech19-05-99

In the opening of the Issam M. Fares Lecture Series on May 19, 1999

In the name of the University of Balamand I welcome you, and I thank you for participating in this event - the opening of the Lecture Series that carries the name of a leading Lebanese, a man who has made strong friendships with heads of states and raised the name of Lebanon high in World capitals.

He has mobilized all his contacts in the service of Lebanon and its institutions. The University of Balamand was amongst the first to gain his attention and to benefit from his generosity.

I take this opportunity to offer our deep gratitude to our good friend, the member of Parliament, the son of Akkar, Mr. Issam M. Fares.

When I brought up with him the subject of supporting a Lecture Series at the University, a Series that will serve as platform for leading world statesmen, for scholars, and luminaries in their fields, and thus introduce our students, faculty, and members of our community to the great events taking place in the region and in the world, he cut me short saying: Go ahead.

And thus, we open today the Issam M. Fares Lecture Series in the presence of the representatives of the State, the representatives of friendly nations, and the many friends of the University who have honored us with their presence.

It is an honor for the University and for Lebanon that the first Speaker in the Series is a leading Arab statesman who occupies the highest position in the institution that binds the Arab World together from the Ocean to the Gulf, His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid.

Last year we celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of the University (1988-1998), we celebrated the accomplishment which the University has realized under the guidance of its founder, the Patriarch of the Arabs, the man of vision, His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox Ignatius IV.

We now look with confidence to the next decade which comes upon us at the meeting point of two unique historic events - the dawn of the 21 st Century, and the dawn of the Third Millennium.

When asked, why the University of Balamand ? Does it have a message that justifies its existence? I answer: The message of the University is love in faith, openness in learning, humility before the facts, recognition of the plurality of ideas, and the channeling of all pluralities in the interest of the people. The message of the University is that no Lebanese shall ever fight a Lebanese. This statement summarizes and encapsulates all theology, all philosophy, all Arts and Sciences, and all technologies. For the University shall either be a beacon of civilization, peace, and progress, or it shall not exist.

This commitment carries with it immense responsibilities. It calls for taking account of what it has done or has not done. It calls for daring self-criticism, and for taking a firm position on what should happen and what is be done.

The University of Balamand appropriates what Lebanese have agreed upon after their "Days of Trouble". The University is from Lebanon , for all of Lebanon . It is in the north but it does not recognize a north apart from the south, or any other nook and cranny of Lebanon . The University issues forth from Lebanon and follows Lebanon in its outreach. The University is Arab because Lebanon is Arab in identity and loyalty. It is international in its outlook because Lebanon , through its emigrants, exists in every part of the Globe. Our emigrants are there laboring and excelling an eye on the new world and an eye on Lebanon .

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to present one of the pillars of the University and of Lebanon Mr. Issam M. Fares.

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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,
Lebanon

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