Ameen Rihani Organization
"In the desert you become a discoverer. You discover your soul, which had been submerged in vain pursuits, which had been lost in the coils and toils of modern life. You discover your kinship with nature and man, which is evoked by the naturalness and the gentle humanity of the natives of the desert, and you will also discover God."
Ameen Rihani, 1937
.: News & Events

Ameen Rihani Conference - Lebanon


In celebration of the centennial anniversary of Rihani's return to Lebanon (from the U.S.) and joining Saint Joseph School at Kornet Chahwan, and under the patronage of H. E. Mr. Emil Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon, Saint Joseph School and New Horizon Cultural Institute held a conference at the Saint Joseph School campus from September 20 through September 25, 1999.

Opening Ceremony

The conference was attended by more than 400 people from Lebanon, Egypt, the United Kingdom and Russia. TV and newspapers from Lebanon and the Arab World were present to cover the event. Speakers at the opening ceremony were Minister Trabulsi, representing President Lahoud, Rev. Father Dr. Simon Faddoul, Principal of Saint Joseph School, Mr. Farres Zighbi, Dr. Efim Rizvan from Russia, Dr. Salah Fadl from Egypt, and Mr. Kenneth Mortimer from the U.K.

Dr. Samir Tabet, Vice President Emeritus of the American University of Beirut, presented the Rihani family with an oil painting of Rihani which was in turn presented to St. Joseph School by Dr. Ameen Albert Rihani. This painting is now hung at the "Hall of Fame" at Kornet Chahwan with a brass plaque holding the Arabic imprint, "Commemorating the Centennial of Ameen Rihani joining St. Joseph School, 1898-1899."

Conference Sessions

Five sessions were held, one during each evening of the conference. The first session entitled "The Beginning of Reconciliation Between Rihani and the Clergy" was moderated by Dr. Joseph Labaki from the Lebanese University. Speakers during this session were Monsegnieur Yussef Beshara, Dr. Edward Amin Al-Bustani, Dr. Yussef Assaf and Dr. Ghassan Khaled.

The second session entitled "The Heart of Lebanon and the Semiology of Travel According to the Research of Dr. Latif Zeitouni" was moderated by Rev. Father Dr. George Hbeika from the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik, Lebanon. Speakers during this session were Dr. Assaad Skaf, Dr. Zahida Darwish, Dr. George Dorlean and Dr. Ilham Kallab Bsat.

The third session entitled "Rihani's Return to the Arab Heritage" was moderated by Dr. Henry Al 'Awit from Saint Joseph University, Beirut. Speakers during this session were Mr. Munah As-Solh, Dr. Jamil Jabr, Dr. Wajih Fanous and Dr. Rabi'a Abi Fadel.

The fourth session entitled "The International Aspect of Rihani's Literature" was moderated by Rihani's nephew, Dr. Ameen Albert Rihani from Notre Dame University, Zouk Mikael, Lebanon. Speakers during this session were Dr. Efim Rezvan from Russia, Dr. Salah Fadl from Egypt, Mr. Kenneth Mortimer from the United Kingdom and Dr. Henry Melki from Lebanon.

The fifth and final session addressed conference recommendations. Additionally, readings from Rihani's Arabic and English writings, accompanied with "oud" and piano music, were presented to the audience.

At the closing session it was announced that a writing competition on Rihani's literature has been established for the 1999-2000 school year. The competition, available to all private and government high school students, will be an essay on Rihani's book The Heart of Lebanon. The deadline to submit these essays is the end of March, 2000. Winners will be announced by the end of June, 2000 and prizes will be comprised of computers, cameras and Rihani's Arabic collection, all presented by St. Joseph School.

Exhibit, Museum & New Publications

An exhibit of some of Rihani's photographs and samples of his handwritings was displayed at the Saint Joseph Theatre during the entire week of the conference. On the evening of September 19, a visit to the Rihani Museum in Freike, Lebanon took place followed by a dinner in honor of all the speakers at the conference.

During the week of the conference, a new publication entitled Critiques in Art (one of Rihani's English manuscripts) was published by Librairie du Liban, Beirut, Lebanon. To obtain a copy of this book (ISBN 0-96343-495-0), priced at U.S. $25, you may order it by contacting the Ameen Rihani Organization and sending an email that contains your shipping address and the required quantity to ARO.

Another book entitled Ameen Rihani Conference - Saint Joseph School containing all the proceedings of the conference will soon be published.