The Maronite Academy 2016 Educational trip to Lebanon



Many young Lebanese-descent Christians from 13 different countries around the world visited Lebanon this August 2016, and participated in the Maronite Academy, an endeavor undertaken by the Maronite Foundation.

Carried for the 4th consecutive year, this initiative aims to bring the Lebanese diaspora’s youth closer to their roots and their country of origin.

After going through a series of comprehensive online courses tackling the history of Lebanon and the Maronite Heritage, the applicants (between the ages of 21 and 32, of Lebanese descent, living abroad)  had to undergo a written Essay, based on research and on personal/family experience, assessing the reason why they would like to visit Lebanon with the Maronite Foundation, and if they were willing to contribute helping the Foundation by motivating the largest number of Lebanese living abroad among their communities, to recover their Lebanese citizenship.

 Moreover, preference was given to those whose purposes, aspirations, and skills are most closely aligned with the mission of the Maronite Foundation in the World and the selection process was highly dependent upon the levels of engagement, motivation, and thinking skills of the participants.
The successful candidates came from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Peru, UK, the USA and Venezuela to partake in the Academy’s class of 2016.

They had the chance to live an unforgettable experience; in a free two-week trip to Lebanon from August 6th till August 21st, 2016 all expenses fully covered by the Maronite Foundation.
The winners’ stay in Lebanon spanned over two weeks during which they attended daily lectures held at the USEK University by prominent panelists and visited various historical sites and landmarks.
 


Photos



The Maronite Academy 2016 Participants


Carolina Najla Kury Sánchez
| Dominican Republic
I can't find the words to describe this experience. The most incredible part is that it doesn't only connect you with your roots, but also with yourself. I felt like I always knew Lebanon and not only did I discover its charms, but i also felt my ancestors in every step of the way. The Academy shared all it's knowledge with us, introduced us to wonderful people and inspired us to protect our country and realize that it's future also depends on us. I think a simple thank you would not be enough.
C.S.
Carolina Najla Kury Sánchez
Michel Richa
| Canada
From connecting back with my home country, to visiting important historical places, to going out with the group and enjoying every second of it, the trip exceeded all of my expectation by a mile. With this experience I have so much more knowledge and a renewed love for Lebanon that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can't thank enough all the people who organized this journey and those who stayed with us the entire time to make sure we didn't have to worry about a thing and that we enjoyed our selves to the fullest. It is amazing what two weeks can do to one's life. Transforming a group of forty strangers into one big family.
M.R.
Michel Richa
Marlen Dergal Abdo
| Mexico
I love everything related to Lebanon, as it is full of warm and hospitable people, every house you visit you feel right at home. This opportunity of being selected to go to Lebanon is one of my biggest dreams as i will be able to know the country of my great-grandparents, where they were born and learn more about my roots.
M.A.
Marlen Dergal Abdo
Maria Janet Achem
| Argentina
My two-week trip to Lebanon with the Maronite Academy, was amazing because I witnessed unforgettable things like the hospitality of the Lebanese people, their customs, culture, the beautiful landscapes, learning about my Maronite heritage and meeting lebanese young people from all over the world. The most important thing was that I could feel the presence of my ancestors in each place I visited. With each step I took, I wondered how much my grandfather would have loved to be back in his homeland ! So I think it was an enriching experience for my knowledge, my faith and my soul.
M.A.
Maria Janet Achem
Michelle Zalaquett
| Peru
This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I cannot be more thankful to the Maronite Academy for letting me take part of this adventure. I really had no idea of what to expect! "Free trip to Lebanon for two weeks!" It was too good to be true, but now after living this experience I can say it is TRUE! It has really been amazing to learn about my roots, the culture, the food, see where my family came from and actually walk on the land my grandparents came from! I made amazing friends from around the world that made this experience even better and that is for sure priceless! Lebanon is a country full of culture, amazing landscapes, delicious food and incredible people! I will never forget this trip and I will forever be grateful. Shukran!
M.Z.
Michelle Zalaquett
Leila Azzi
| Canada
Being part of the Academy 2016 i want to share my experiences and knowledge with other Canadian Lebanese to promote Lebanon and the Lebanese culture as well as assist all who want to register Lebnani.
L.A.
Leila Azzi
Jorge Zaiduni
| Bolivia
J.Z.
Jorge Zaiduni
Tárik Buchabqui
| Brazil
My two weeks trip to Lebanon with the Maronite Academy 2016 was an unforgettable opportunity. I always dreamed about getting closer to my Lebanese roots and exploring Lebanon, a small sized country but huge in its history. It was a complete journey with specialized seminars and awesome tours full of discoveries. I was amazed at the Lebanese hospitality, the cultural value learned and the beauty from the beaches to the mountains. One of the best experiences of my life was meeting for the first time my dear family in Lebanon and making a lot of new friends from all around the world, which I intend to keep for the rest of my life. I would like everyone of Lebanese descent to have the same rich experience, to know their Lebanese and Maronite heritage and return to their communities with the same pride that I am feeling now.
T.B.
Tárik Buchabqui
Victoria Seade
| Uruguay
I believe it is of great importance and it would be an honor for me to be part of the academic program of the Maronite Foundation. To my regard, it would be the best way not only to transmit knowledge and experience but also feel the land of my ancestors, which I dream about. It would also be a huge experience to share the trip with other young Lebanese descendants from different parts of the world. I feel great pride for Lebanon, not only for its privileged landscapes, but also for its cultural and social costumes that I am fond of.
V.S.
Victoria Seade
Anthony Georges
| Venezuela
It's amazing how only two weeks can change your life! And it is more amazing to know that you have 40 new brothers and sisters around the world! I can't thank God enough for letting me be part of this incredible experience, and to the Maronite Academy for allowing me to be part of this journey around my grandparents homeland, Lebanon and learn about my roots and my ancestors, and especially to have met my new friends, brothers and sisters from all over the world, for sharing with me all their knowledge and, of course, dancing and have fun with me all the time!
A.G.
Anthony Georges


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