"On October 3rd 2011 for the first time in its 25 year existence, the Association held a fund raising event in Beirut. The For a Brighter Future evening was an historic occasion following on directly from the Association's anniversary event the previous November in London in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. The anniversary in Beirut was in aid of the Association's Scholarship Fund and the Arc en Ciel Educational charity in Lebanon.The evening, hosted in the Grand Ballroom of the Phoenicia Hotel, was held under the auspices of the British Embassy and present was the new British Ambassador, HEA Tom Fletcher. He was among several who gave lively and entertaining speeches that included: Sir David Miers, Chairman of British Lebanese Association, Mr Vatche Manoukian, the evening's patron and Mrs Lisa Zakhem, Chairman of the BLA Fund Raising Committee.The night was co-compaired by Masters of Ceremonies Tania Bryers and Norma Elias Naoum who ensured a very enjoyable evening and a successful auction. Entertainment was provided from each country by the Fab Beatles (British) and the inimitable Aline Lahoud (Lebanese)."
HER MAJESTY'S AMBASSADOR TO LEBANON'S LETTERI am delighted to be able to support this booklet on the important work of the British Lebanese Association, an organisation that continues to do so much to invigorate and develop our relationship with this fascinating country. I strongly believe that the relationship between the UK and Lebanon is too important to be left only to diplomats and politicians - it needs to be nurtured by all who share a passion for our shared prosperity and security. The BLA are in the vanguard of this effort, and I am grateful to them for their commitment and creativity. I encourage you to share in this work, and to support the BLA as they expand their activities. I look forward to the opportunities we will have to celebrate the UK/Lebanon partnership, and the BLA's contribution to it.Tom Fletcher CMGHMA BeirutPATRON'S LETTERBoth Tamar and I are very honoured to be asked to be patrons of this event. The British Lebanese Association has helped the lives of so many people in Lebanon and has been growing from strength to strength, having celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Their SOS Villages have been a great success, helping disadvantaged children to a better life and the Scholarship Fund, which is now in its 26th year, is vital to teaching the new generation of young Lebanese skills and vocations that will help them rebuild and shape the future of our country.> The BLA is associated with many projects in Lebanon including Oum El Nour, a rehabilitation and drug prevention charity which guides those who have lost their way. In 2006, the BLA responded to the terrible destruction in Southern Lebanon by raising £90,000 for the Lebanese Red Cross Emergency Fund and the Help Lebanon Appeal. Their continued support for the arcenciel centre for disabled children in Lebanon is key to helping them live a normal life.> We would like to thank BLA for all their hard work and determination in encouraging friendship and understanding between the people of Great Britain and Lebanon. It is so important that we continue to support the BLA in any way that we can, so they can continue with all the incredible work that they do, of which the above is merely a small taste. We are confident that with your help and generosity this will be their most successful event ever.Vatche and TamarManoukianFOREWORD - Sir David MiersThis is the first ever event staged by the British Lebanese Association in Beirut. We are very proud to have reached this milestone, and deeply grateful to the supporters who have made it possible. We are particularly grateful to Mr Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, as well as to Mrs Frances Guy, his predecessor, for their help and encouragement and for agreeing to allow this event to be placed under the auspices of the British Embassy. And on the Lebanese side we should like to express our warmest thanks to Mr Bob Manoukian, who has agreed to be a patron of the event and is foremost among its many sponsors. Over the years he has been a most loyal and steadfast supporter of our efforts.We are also profoundly grateful to all the members of our fund-raising committee in Beirut, whose sustained and indefatigable activity has underpinned the success of this event.The British Lebanese Association was founded in Britain over 25 years ago to promote understanding between the peoples of Britain and Lebanon. A major aim has been to spread knowledge of Lebanon's art, culture, history and civilisation in the UK . At the time of our foundation the news from Lebanon mostly related to fighting and violence. Our aim has been to demonstrate that there is a different picture, to show off aspects of Lebanese excellence in style, fashion, enterprise, innovation, culture and the arts, and to remind people of Lebanon's historic role as a centre of civilisation in the Middle East.We have also raised substantial sums for deserving charitable causes. These causes have included, amongst others, respected charities such as SOS villages, Oum al Noor, and the Lebanese Red Cross. One important beneficiary of the current event in Beirut will be arcenciel and its campaign to integrate disabled children into mainstream schools. Another will be the main and continuing object of our fund-raising activity which for almost 20 years has been the BLA's Scholarship Fund. This assists Lebanese students to follow courses in Britain which are not available in Lebanon. Originally the intention was to help counter the disruptive effects of the civil war on the aspirations of Lebanese students. More recently the Fund has had a wider application. Since inception it has helped over 120 Lebanese to follow courses in 23 disciplines at 39 British Universities, colleges or training centres.We hope that the BLA will be able to continue its cultural, educational and charitable mission with renewed vigour in coming years, both in Britain and in Lebanon.Sir David MiersChairman, British Lebanese Association21 September 2011FOREWORD - Lisa ZakhemSeveral years before our 25th Anniversary, I had already begun thinking how wonderful it would be, despite the years of civil war, to be able to celebrate the Anniversary in our beloved Beirut, and in Lebanon the country of our birth. What better way was there to prove that Lebanon has survived against all the odds, the dark years of war, trauma and tragedy, than to celebrate here in the very centre of our city?Tonight, a year later from our 25th Anniversary, I have noticed more than ever that we have not just survived, somehow, through it all, we were still able to produce our geniuses to send out to the world; doctors, surgeons, engineers, artists, fashion designers, financiers, builders, philanthropists, architects, businessmen, scholars, leaders and more.The British Lebanese Association was established to support this extraordinary phenomena both through the establishment of our scholarship fund, a program that has helped over 100 students to go to Britain to specialize in skills and then to return to become our experts (and geniuses) of tomorrow, and through our many cultural events (major exhibitions, fashion shows, operas, etc...) that promote and show case the creativity and the best of Lebanon in the outside world.At the same time, several years ago, I began to notice extraordinary and wonderful things going on in our Lebanon. I was being impressed by institutions set up by ordinary Lebanese to help the disadvantaged and disabled, often children and often innocent victims of war. I vowed that I would try and persuade our British friends to support these noble and selfless foundations. Today the British Lebanese Association's support for many of these institutions is a fact of history.Amongst many of these associations we have helped is the extraordinary institution we are supporting tonight: arcenciel whose pioneering work amongst the disabled is chronicled elsewhere in tonight's program. These foundations represent the best in our character, a kindness and an altruism that has not always been seen in our darker days but that has always been there.I have longed for the time when we could celebrate this excellent side of our character. Tonight that time has come. With our British friends and our loyal supporters this special evening is a symbolic return to our country announcing to the world that Lebanon has survived and is back with an energy to rebuild itself and to return to a level of excellence that was once the wonder of the civilized world.None of these 25 years or any of our successes would have been possible without the continuous and incredible support of our benefactors and sponsors, especially our patrons for tonight VATCHE and TAMAR MANOUKIAN who at every turn have supported, helped and encouraged us through their generosity, kindness and noble spirit.Lastly, I cannot finish without thanking the fund raising committee here in Beirut, their enthusiasm, generosity and sheer determination has ensured that tonight is indeed a historical occasion for the British Lebanese Association, and a success to be remembered for many years to come.It is a Thanks to all of them that our future is indeed brighter.God bless you and bless Lebanon.Lisa ZakhemChairman of the BLA fund raising committeeBEIRUT FUND RAISING COMMITTEE MEMBERSRonda BdeirHala Cochrane Viviane Debbas Sawsan Farra Dawlat Fawwaz Alain HadifeClaude KenaanLena Kelekian Sulahian Houda Kheireddine Nadia KhlatLaura LahhoudPapou Lahoud SaadehNada Le Cavelier Janine Maamari Michelle Mallat RishaniMay Ogden - Smith Therese Rayess Mona SafadiLama SalamCarole SalamounBushra Salha - Vice Chairman Nada SalameRonda SmadiLisa Zakhem - Chairman