August 7, 2019 – In collaboration with the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), headed by Chakib Ramal, and the Lebanese Center for Migration and Diaspora Studies (LERC), Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) held a cultural event at the Lebanon and Migration Museum titled: “Migration and Art.”
The event was intended as a reflection on the different ways in which migration can be expressed visually, and to emphasize the importance of art as a means of expressing cultures of migration. In keeping with the theme, the event also saw the unveiling of an original painting by the artist Hussein Kahwaji painted specifically for the "Lebanon and Migration Museum”.
Diplomatic, military, academic, business, journalistic, and social personalities from Lebanon and abroad were in attendance.
Speaking on behalf of NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem, Director of Public Affairs and Protocol at NDU, Majed Bou Hadir said: “The LERC is part of the core of NDU’s mission. It aims to help the Lebanese diaspora maintain strong cultural ties to each other and to their ancestral home in this age of increasing globalization.”
Dr. Guita Hourani, Director of LERC, spoke about art and migration saying that: "art has the potential to change public discourse by educating each of us and changing our outlook on ourselves and “the Other” … The world of contemporary art is swift to engage with topics of human interest such as migration – one of the most pressing global issues of our time.” Dr. Hourani reflected on how art “reconnects us with our humanity and moves us further away from our extremism." She closed by reiterating the Museum’s role as a bastion of visual expression on migration, with unique paintings and sculptures by artists from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, the Congo, Ghana, Australia, America, and Lebanon.
Dr. Dunia Fayad-Taan, Chairperson of the Legal Committee at the Lebanese Council of Women and Researcher at LERC, spoke next, saying that: “NDU founded LERC realizing that migration has recently become an essential engine of modern social dynamism and an important factor in the field of international relations.” Dr. Fayad-Taan reflected on NDU’s policies of inclusivity and diversity, and the University’s aim to be a leader in the accumulation of experience and knowledge in the field.
Ramal, the patron of the event, spoke about the role culture plays in educating the society which creates it: “Culture is a moral source that contributes greatly to building individuals and to enriching societies, as such we do not want it to be ignored, but instead for it to be a real and powerful tool, which enriches minds, and changes social behavior for the better." He reflected on the WLCU and NDU’s shared goal of preserving Lebanese heritage and culture across the world.
The event concluded with the unveiling of an original painting by Kahwaji, and awarding him with a Plaque of Acknowledgment by the WLCU and a Certificate of Appreciation by the LERC.