Notre Dame University



LERC and NDU attend The National Feast Day of Uruguay

Thursday, 19th June, 2008. LERC, NDU.

At the invitation of H.E. Jorge Luis Jure Arnoletti, Ambassador of Uruguay, Ms Guita Hourani, Director of the Lebanese Emigration and Research Center, attended the National Feast Day of Uruguay that took place at the Hall of the Municipal Palace in Jounieh on June 19th 2008.

The event was an opportunity for LERC to meet the Lebanese-Uruguayan community and while Ms. Hourani represented the NDU President and the Vice President of Research and Development, LERC was also represented by Mr. Roberto Khatlab, LERC’s Liaison Officer for Latin America.

The event was held in collaboration with the President of the Town Hall of Jounieh, Mr. Juan Hobeich, and was attended by many prominent personalities including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Faouzi Salloukh representing the President of Lebanon Michel Sleiman; Deputy Mr. Naamtallah Abi Nasser representing the President of the National Assembly Mr. Nabih Berri, and Mr. Nassif Kallouch, Governor of Beirut and the North representing the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Uruguay's celebrates its National Day Feast (L-R) Roberto Khatlab, LERC's Latin America Liaison Officer, H.E the Ambassador of Uruguay, Jorge Luis Jure Arnoletti, and Guita Hourani, Director of LERC

The event itself was to mark the 244th birthday of Jose Artigas, a national hero in Uruguay, who had stood up for sovereignty  and unity of the South American people while at the same time balancing the desire for independence with the need to maintain friendly ties throughout the region.

Several of its close South American neighbors including Mexico, Paraguay, Columbia, and Cuba were represented by their Ambassadors.

Also present at the occasion were MGR Roland Abou Jaoude representing His Beatitude
Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Attorney Antoine Richa and Attorney Walid Fares representing
President Amine Gemayel; Mr. Michel Chadarevian representing the former prime minister and Deputy Michel Aoun, Dr. Daoud El Sayegh representing Deputy Saad Hariri, the President of the Municipal Council of Ghazir, Mr. Ibrahim Haddad, the Colonel Fabio Matiasse representing Mr. Claudio Grazziano and Deputy Hassan Yaacoub Member of the Parliamentary Group of Friends of Uruguay.

In his welcome address, H.E. the Ambassador of Uruguay, Jure Arnoletti emphasized the special and historic relationship existing between Lebanon and Uruguay. This began with consular relations in the 1920’s and full diplomatic relations in 1945 after Lebanon’s independence.

He explained that since the early nineteenth century Lebanese immigrants coming into Uruguay had began the process of their integration into all levels of Uruguay’s social and cultural life.

In this light the Ambassador introduced the exhibition of the Uruguayan painter Mr. Bruno Sfeir, born in 1970 of mixed Lebanese and Italian descent, his grandfather having emigrated from Reyfoun to Uruguay in the early 20th Century. His paintings exhibited at the event reflected a true vision of Uruguayan society, according to H.E Jure Arnoletti.

Since 1987 Mr. Sfeir’s work has been recognized and awarded several prizes and the painter has held many exhibitions of his work bringing his images of Uruguayan life to people throughout the world. According to his biography, Sfeir’s paintings can be found in public institution and private collections in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Chile, Mexico, Lebanon, Kuwait ( Museum of Modern Art), USA, Belgium, Spain, France and China.

Mr. Sfeir’s work is best described in the words of Jacob Klintowitz, who defined them as “characterized by high precision. The determined design highlights the figures with clarity; the chromatics a delicate scheme which unites the subjects and the scenes with an entirely active rectangle, in which one can observe, besides the appearance, a composition of rare certainty. That scientific approach to his work is exactly what accentuates the originality of the images created by the artist, his particularity and the everlasting sensation of incognito. A glimpse of a peculiar iconography that reveals itself and surprises every time.”

The Ambassador then concluded by thanking the staff at the Embassy for their support during his first year in the country, the Honorary Consul of Uruguay Mr. Chaghoury and the Honorary Attache Miss Chelela, while extending his gratitude to Lebanese friends for attending, and greeting the Lebanese in general for their infectious enthusiasm and love of life.