BEIRUT, Lebanon—Organized by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Haigazian University in association with the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature at the American University of Beirut (AUB), a one-day virtual symposium titled “Centennial of Greater Lebanon: Reconstituting the Idea of a Lebanese Identity: Perspectives from the Lebanese Arts and Letters” took place on February 5, 2021.
The full-day conference brought together almost a dozen experts and scholars from leading Lebanese universities in the fields of history, philosophy, music and literature.
The symposium opened with the joint welcoming words of Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Haigazian University and Dr. Hayat Bu Alwan representing the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature at AUB.
In his distinguished keynote speech, Dr. Ahmad Beydoun from the Lebanese University delivered a one-hour comprehensive lecture on “Sectarianism in organizing the State and the Society: Activation vs Obstruction.”
This was followed by the first panel on History, Historiography and Philosophical Thought, chaired by Dr. Berge Traboulsi from Haigazian University. First to speak was Dr. Hayat Bu Alwan from AUB who presented “Philip Hitti: A Historian from Lebanon.” For his part, Dr. Edward Alam from Notre Dame University (NDU) presented, “That Goodly Mountain: Philosophical Reflections on Lebanese Identity.” The first panel concluded with Dr. Pascale Lahoud from Antonine University on “Renowned Philosopher of Greater Lebanon Rene Habachi.”
The afternoon panel on Arts and Letters was chaired by Dr. Zeina Fayyad, Professor of Cultural Studies at AUB, hosting two participants: Dr. Nidaa Abou Mourad from Antonine University on “Criteria of Music Renaissance in Greater Lebanon” and Dr. Ray Jabre Moawad from Saint Joseph University (USJ) on “The Word Lebanon in Lebanese Epigraphy.”
The final panel chaired by Dr. Joseph Al-Agha from Haigazian University tackled the issue of “Reconstituting Lebanese Identity.” Panelists Dr. Zeina Fayad from AUB presented “Three Francophone Pre-revolutionary Visions” and Dr. Antranig Dakessian from Haigazian University discussed the “Armenian Identity in the Lebanese Armenian Traditional Media from 1953 through 1975.”
The full day symposium was marked by stimulating virtual discussions and academic exchange, thus marking the centennial of greater Lebanon through intellectual and scholarly interventions which will be published shortly in a proceeding volume.
The insightful program came to an end with the personal reflections and conclusions of Haigazian University president Rev. Dr. Paul Haidsotian.