AMIDEAST/Lebanon Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Golden Gala marks five decades of supporting young generations to win life-transforming opportunities to achieve their dreams

AMIDEAST marked its 50th anniversary in Lebanon with a gala dinner at the Seaside Pavilion, Beirut New Waterfront. The Golden Gala provided a wonderful opportunity to mark the organization’s achievements and raise awareness of the extensive work carried out by AMIDEAST/Lebanon over the past five decades, while helping to raise funds for future programs to benefit Lebanon’s youth.

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2018 Annual Education Hero Award to Leila Charles Saad, cofounder and chair of SABIS, a global education network based in Lebanon that has an active presence in 20 countries on five continents. The award recognized the outstanding contributions to education in Lebanon made by Mrs. Saad, who is one of the most inspiring and renowned educators in the country.

Since its first office opened in Lebanon in 1968, AMIDEAST has provided young citizens throughout the country with a broad and diverse range of valuable educational, testing, training, and development services, touching the lives of more than 33,000 people every year. Dedicated to expanding opportunity through education and training, AMIDEAST works with people from all communities in all regions of Lebanon, regardless of their age, religion, financial status, or gender.

The organization’s initiatives include assisting students with scholarships and exchange programs, training and supporting entrepreneurs, managing and facilitating empowerment programs for women and youth, providing English language and professional training courses and workshops, and testing services, all while building cross-cultural understanding.

AMIDEAST’s work has also helped, over the past few years, 113 students from Lebanon win over $20 million in scholarships and financial aid at prestigious universities in the USA, including Harvard, MIT, Georgetown, Columbia, Cornell, Vanderbilt, and the University of Pennsylvania. The proceeds from this 50th anniversary Golden Gala will help support even more young people in Lebanon to win life-transforming opportunities to achieve their dreams.

“Fifty years after its establishment, I’m proud to see AMIDEAST/Lebanon continue its mission with vigor. We will continue to support every student who walks through our doors and will do our utmost not to leave any student behind” said Anis Nassar, chairman of AMIDEAST/Lebanon’s Advisory Board. “My message to our students is: if our support to you eventually takes you through the big door of success, please make sure that you don’t close it behind you so that other students can follow.”

Also commenting on the event, Wafa Saab, a board officer and gala co-chair, said, “We are proud to have dedicated 50 years of unwavering commitment to Lebanon’s youth; the legacy of AMIDEAST in opening up education and learning opportunities will live on for generations to come.”

The organization received a significant boost in 2010, with the launch of the AMIDEAST/Lebanon Advisory Board, which has played a vital role in enabling the organization to expand its outreach and impact nationally, under the supervision of Barbara Shahin Batlouni, AMIDEAST/Lebanon’s country director for the past 20 years.

The contributions from the 24 board members have allowed students to benefit from AMIDEAST’s Diana Kamal Scholarship Search Fund (DKSSF) and Hope Fund programs, entrepreneurship training, professional development for English teachers, and employability skills training for women and youth.

AMIDEAST/Lebanon is the local arm of AMIDEAST, a U.S. organization established in 1951. Today, AMIDEAST’s programs and services throughout the Middle East and North Africa touch the lives of half a million people a year, improving educational opportunities and quality, strengthening local institutions, and developing language and professional skills critical for success in the global economy.