Celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation in Lebanon

In celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation in Lebanon, the only country in the world to have a joint Christian-Moslem national holiday, a meeting was held by the “Islamic-Christian Meeting around Our Lady Mary” and NGO “Healing the Wounds of History” on Sunday, 26 of March 2017, at The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut. Over 180 people attended, including several dignitaries: His Excellency Former Minister Tarek Mitri and his wife, Member of Parliament Ghassan Mukhaiber and his wife, former Egyptian Ambassador Hussein Derrar as well as clerics from many denominations, representatives of civil society, musicians, former civil war fighters and young men and women who participated and expressed their visions for a better Lebanon.

The program was introduced by Judge Ghada Aoun, President of the Bekaa Criminal Court and a human rights activist, and the participants were presented by Mirvat Bakkour of Healing the Wounds of History. The first speaker was Mrs Alexandra Asseily, psychotherapist and founder of Healing the Wounds of History, who recounted her personal experience of forgiveness and how the vision of ​​the Garden of Forgiveness emerged in 1997. This was followed by UK guest singer Guy Hayward’s beautiful ancient Christian Marian Chant, which, to everyone’s delight, coincided with the call to prayer from the nearby mosques.  

Lawyer Paul Andari, a former Lebanese Forces fighter, and Mr Haidar Amasha, who fought in the Damour attack during the civil war and is a founding member of the Combatants for Peace organization, shared their experiences during and after the war. Mr Amasha spoke movingly about the ravages of war and apologised for his part in it. Then, addressing his former enemy, he pledged to always work peacefully together for the common good, whatever their differences. Mr Andari said that he asked for forgiveness from God and from all people, especially those against whom he had fought, and that he is now willing to sacrifice his life for his old enemies.  

After hearing the testimonies of the war generation, today’s generation was represented by participants in the “Khebz w Melh” initiative of the Institute of Middle East Studies, which brings together youth from different faith communities. Miss Manal Tayar introduced Miss Alaa Marei and Miss Jennifer Nasrallah who shared how they overcame the prejudices of their different upbringings and how their deep friendship developed. The audience was moved by their words, their youth and the promise of a new and hopeful generation. 

A message which stressed our common humanity by Dr. Jean Abi Ghanem, Director of the American University of Culture and Education, was followed by the song “You are my Brother” performed by Mrs. Amal Tomb, a singer committed to humanitarian issues.

Father Joseph Salloum, from Ghazir, and lawyer Hussein Jaber, president of the Association of the Children of Mary, Queen of Peace in Nabatiyeh, each shared a letter from a brother to his brother from a different faith. 

Al Mabarrat Association choir of 25 young girls sang a beautiful Marian Chant.

Reverend Nabil Shehadi, coordinator of the Alpha Course in the Levant, and Mr Ali Sherri, senior official of the Al-Mabarrat charity, offered prayers for forgiveness and unity. 

The ceremony ended with songs by artist Ranine Chaar, followed by members of the audience symbolically expressing their hopes for forgiveness, by writing messages on copper tags and hanging them on the olive trees in front of the Nourieh Chapel.

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HWH Helps Spring Emerge with Another Journey of Forgiveness!

Over the weekend of 24,25,26th March, 2017,  with the facilitation of Alexandra Asseily, Psychotherapist and founder of Healing the Wounds of History  and Mathew Pruen, Hoffman Institute  Coach, a group of  Syrian teachers, Lebanese coaches and healers, and a few who came specially from UK,  gathered for  another workshop of Healing the Wounds of History. The workshop took place at The Silk Museum, Bsous, surrounded by its enchanted gardens, where much forgiveness, healing and the building of friendships and community continue to transform lives for the sixth year.

The workshop Finale included an ‘ancestral exercise’ down town at the Garden of Forgiveness, preceding a wonderful sunset celebration of the Annunciation day, outside the Nouryieh chapel, with inspiring testimonials, song and prayer.. which touched hearts and moved minds.

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Healing the Wounds of History: Module II Year 4

The challenges faced by Lebanon and the region are self-evident. Cycles of violence have played out repeatedly through the ages. All of this is well documented, but what is less obvious, is how the battles of the past can stay dormant within us from generation to generation, flaring up in moments of perceived threat. And so, whether we are conscious of this or not, we may be reliving the trauma of our parents, grandparents or even long dead ancestors.

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Historians’ Strategies for Approaching Evidence and Exploring Change and ‎Continuity

“Historians’ strategies for approaching evidence and exploring change and ‎continuity‎” is the workshop that was organized by the Centre for Lebanese Studies in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for History. The workshop was facilitated by Bassel Akar, Maha Shuayb, Jihane Francis, and Amira Al Hariri. For two full days, participants experimented with the disciplinary approach for teaching history. They analyzed sources, investigated their authenticity, and looked for evidence to build new claims. They studied different types of sources included pictures and texts. The main enquiry focused on the concept of Change and Continuity with focus on the Great Depression. Participants explored the nature of the change that occurred, its pace and speed. Strategies used included mathematical operations and building graphs in addition to picture and text analysis. 
Helping our students understand the concept of “change and continuity” as a complex process rather than a consequence and helping them build their own historical narratives is nothing but a very essential first step towards building a generation of young historians capable of understanding, interpreting and contributing towards the writing of history. This workshop is part of our program entitled: “How to make our students young historians?” for the years 2017-2018.

إستراتجيات المؤرخين للتقرب من الأدلة واستكشاف التغيّر والإستمرارية

“إستراتجيات المؤرخين للتقرب من الأدلة واستكشاف التغيّر والإستمرارية” كان موضوع المشغل الذي نظمه مركزالدراسات اللبنانية بالتعاون مع الهيئة اللبنانية للتاريخ. يسّر المشغل الزملاء باسل عكر ومهى شعيب وجيهان فرنسيس وأميرة الحريري مؤخراً. طوال يومين كاملين، جرّب المعلمون مقاربة منهجية لتعليم التاريخ تقوم على قراءة وتحليل الأدلة التاريخية من خلال الصور والبيانات والنصوص التاريخية والتحقق من تلك المصادر. كان الحيز الأكبر لاستكشاف التغيّر والإستمرارية عبر درس حول أثر الأزمة الإقتصادية الكبرى. فقاموا بتحديد أنواع التغيّرات التي أحدثتها ومدى التغيّر وسرعته، وتنوّعت الاستراتيجيات فشملت العمليات الرياضية والرسوم البيانية إلى جانب تحليل الصور والنصوص. 
وبمساعدة طلابنا على فهم التغيير والاستمرارية كعملية معقدة وليس كنتيجة فقط وتمكينهم لبناء حججهم الخاصة حولها، نكون قد خطونا أولى الخطوات نحو بناء جيل مؤرخين صغار يفهم التاريخ ويحلله ويساهم في كتابته. المشغل يأتي ضمن ابرنامجنا “كيف نجعل من طلابنا مؤرخين صغار؟” 2017 – 2018