Under the high patronage and presence of his beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III Laham and the Sultan Qaboos Higher Center for Culture and Science, the International Center for Dialogue of Civilizations “LIQAA” held its second international congress titled “Faith and Values through Folklore, Language of Dialogue between Civilizations” in the International Congresses Department at LIQAA’s headquarters in Rabweh, which also happens to be the location of the Patriarchate.
The congress, which I was honored to take part in as an interpreter, was held on November 16, 17 and 18. Each of the three days had a specific theme:
Day 1: Lebanese Arab Day
Day 2: Armenian Day
Day 3: British – French Day
I don’t usually blog about my interpretation jobs, but this one was pretty special. The entire event was organized by the Chairman of LIQAA, Mr. Majd Sabeh. It was an exceptional congress which was so rich in its subjects and presentations and which brought together distinguished religious, political and Arab and foreign personalities and figures, such as his beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, Mr. Romeo Lahoud, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Lebanon Mr. Ashot Kocharian and many more.
The first day, which was the Lebanese Arab day, witnessed a speech on Oriental-Christian heritage given by his beatitude the Patriarch, a speech on the Folklore of the Sultanate of Oman given by Mr. Moussallem bin Ahmed Al-Kuthairi who is a musician and the Director of the Oman Center for Traditional Music since 2006, as well as a speech on the Lebanese Folklore given by renowned Lebanese artist Mr. Romeo Lahoud who is also the founder of the Lebanese folkloric theater. A buffet followed the speeches which I enjoyed translating from Arabic into English.
The second day was Armenian by excellence. The welcome speech was given by His Excellency the Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon Mr. Ashot Kocharian, followed by a speech on the Armenian Folklore given by Dr. Harutyun Marutyan who is the leading researcher of the Department of Contemporary Anthropological Studies at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. During the event, a documentary about the Armenian folklore was displayed. I particularly enjoyed it as I learned so much from it! The day ended with a mouth-watering buffet provided by the much buzzed about Armenian restaurant: Mayrig.
The third and last day was the British – French day. Mr Alain Jacob, President of the National Federation of French Folklore, gave a speech on French Folklore. It was really a special one as he stated so many interesting facts and shared amazing details about the folklore of France. As for the speech on the British folklore, it was given by Mr. Robert McDowall, President of the Folklore Society of the United Kingdom. It was also very enlightening.
The congress was extremely successful, and I commend LIQAA for organizing such an enriching event that brought together different peoples and cultures.
Below are a few pictures I was able to snap when I wasn’t on duty!