Beirut Arab University launched the Second Egyptian-Lebanese Cultural Forum entitled "Culture in the Arab World from Disintegration to Reconstruction" in cooperation with Al-Aram Foundation and the Egyptian Lebanese Businessmen Friendship Association in the presence of HE Prime Minister Saad Hariri represented by Dr. Ammar Houri, MP Mohammad Kassem Al Karaawi Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arab Medical Services Company - Bekaa Hospital represented by Mr. Kassem Yousef, HE Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt Mr. Nazih Al-Najari, Ambassador of the State of Palestine Ashraf Dabour represented by Dr. Maher Mishael, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Lebanon Mohammed Karin, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Ahmad Khazen Khamidi, as well as the heads of syndicates, deans of faculties, university administrative staff and a crowd of interested audience.
After the Lebanese and the Egyptian National Anthems, a documentary about BAU was presented and colleague Rima Chehab opened the event saying, "The Arab world suffers from the chronic problem of the marginalization of culture as it is considered economically unviable by governments, a dispensable luxury by communities or insignificant on our list of priorities as compared to the political and economic affairs.” She added, “An extremely dangerous illusion lies behind the Arab crises that have become endemic and interrelated. The absence of this illusion in other countries is the reason behind their advancement and development as these societies realize the value of culture in their lives."
Director of the Al-Ahram Foundation Omar Ahmad Sami stated that, "Al-Ahram launched and sponsored the idea of holding the Egyptian-Lebanese Cultural Forum in the hope of becoming an annual meeting not only between Egypt and Lebanon but among all Arab countries as well,” believing that “Arab culture and intellectuals represent one of the important pillars of the Arab union, if not the most important of all.”
In his speech, President of Egyptian Lebanese Businessmen Friendship Association Fathallah Fawzi said, "This forum is held within circumstances that call for confronting the major internal and regional challenges, first and foremost the phenomenon of terrorism that was rooted in our region with the aim of weakening and pulling it apart. This requires us to move effectively at all security, intellectual, economic and social levels to eliminate this phenomenon. Today’s forum is but a means towards achieving such a goal as it brings together thought leaders in both countries which are bonded due to solid stands over centuries that are way more important than can be expressed by words or phrases.”
BAU President Professor Amr Galal El-Adawi confirmed that “BAU has always been a bridge of cultural communication between Egypt and Lebanon since its establishment in the 1960s. It is always keen on achieving the vitality of the Arab cultural exchange and embracing the development projects and potentials that will help raise the scientific and intellectual level and create an atmosphere conducive for creative dialogue, both in humanities and applied sciences.”
El-Adawi continued, "BAU’s achievements embodied in the development of its academic and administrative structure represent its constant renewed and proactive pursuit in the various fields of knowledge. BAU hosts activities and exhibitions for Lebanese as well as Egyptian artists and is committed to encouraging scientific and publishing, thus ensuring its Arab cultural and scientific leading role.”
Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Lebanon Mr. Nazih Al-Najari assured that "the meeting held concerning the role of culture in the Arab world is of great importance in light of the difficult political and social conditions in our Arab countries and the imminent threat to the concept of a national state with its associated values of pluralism, civil peace and coexistence against splits and fragmentation as in Syria, Yemen, Libya or Iraq. This, eventually, led to the return to the narrow religious and sectarian identities due to internal and external pressures caused by terrorism and groups that take violence, hatred and rejection of the other as the bases for their trends and beliefs, trying to implant them in societies that have always recognized the meaning and value of peaceful coexistence among the various religions and doctrines which have formed unified identities for our peoples.”
Finally, Former Minister Mohammed Mashnouk believed that "Arab intellectuals did not test their scientific abilities and intellectual capabilities in this disastrous spring, but they were witnesses to the cultural disintegration after their roles had been marginalized. This reflects a mixture of fear and anticipation of power changes and sovereignty or the need to bow before the storm. However, as soon as these intellectuals find a country to resort to with their families, their ability to express themselves is revitalized with words that sting the oppressors. This is the culture of realism, isn’t it?”
Then, President El-Adawi presented the university shield to the Director of Al Ahram Foundation Omar Ahmed Sami and the President of Egyptian Lebanese Businessmen Friendship Association Fathallah Fawzi who, in turn, presented the shield of the foundation to both BAU President and the President of Egyptian Lebanese Businessmen Friendship Association.