American University of Beirut
Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - While in Lebanon there has been a rise in the number of infections due to Covid 19, and prestigious institutions such as the American University are showing signs of crisis, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai continues the campaign he has undertaken to reaffirm the "0Lebanese political and geopolitical neutrality with respect to geopolitical actors and global and regional axes of force confronting each other in the Middle East.
On Thursday 23 July, Cardinal Rai had the opportunity to expose his revival "project" of Lebanese neutrality to some Heads and representatives of the churches in Lebanon, received by him in the summer patriarchal residence in Diman. Melkite Catholic Patriarch Youssef Absi, Patriarch of the Syrian Catholics Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Patriarch of Armenian Catholics Krikor Bedros XX and two representatives of Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia of the apostolic Armenians took part in the meeting in Diman. Representatives from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and the local Evangelical Christian churches and communities did not attend the meeting.
In his speech, relaunched by the national media, the Maronite Patriarch wanted to document through various historical references that the "neutrality status" represents a sort of identity code of the Lebanese nation since its inception, a figure that must be protected and also reaffirmed as a factor defusing the conflicts that have plagued the Middle East for decades. "Since the adoption of the 1943 pact", said the Patriarch, "Lebanon has committed itself to a policy of neutrality and non-alignment, based on the following principles: no protection, no protectorate, no privilege or privileged place available to any country, both from the East and from the West, but rather a status of sovereign homeland, free and fully independent".
The red thread of the reaffirmation of one's neutrality - continued the Lebanese Cardinal - went through all the declarations on the national identity and institutional structure of Lebanon, up to the Baabda declaration of 11 June 2012, which again confirmed the "neutrality" of Lebanon as regards to the regional and international axes and conflicts, so as to avoid the negative repercussions of regional tensions and crises".
Meanwhile, in recent days, the significant rise in the number of infections from Covid-19 in the Country of the Cedars - mainly due to the scarce precautions observed by infected people who have come to Lebanon from abroad - has once again spread concern and worry among the Lebanese population.
Among the worrying signs of the crisis highlighted by the media in recent days, is also the partial demobilization of the American University of Beirut (AUB, in the photo), which has recently announced that it will have to lay off about 800 employees. The prestigious institution has so far been an effective tool for introducing the standards of the US educational and academic system in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/7/2020)