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Is Beirut promised to become a Tech Hub?

As my flight out of Beirut reached cruising altitude, and the seat buckle lights flickered off, I leant back in my chair and wondered if I had left the country just in time.

Admittedly, it wasn’t quite an ‘Argo-esue’ escape from another Middle Eastern country: labelling a controversial government minister on a conference stage as an “idiot” maybe wasn’t the wisest of moves. Beirut is not a town known for its placid history, after all.

My comment had made the front page of the Beirut Daily Star the next day. Perhaps it was just as well that I left the next day.

Beirut’s Bright Future As A Tech Hub For MENA, If Its Politicians Will Allow It

But the trip was worth it. Beirut is rapidly shaping up to be a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East.

It has many of the key elements:

1. a highly entrepreneurial culture;

2.  incubators and accelerators;

3. venture capital;

4. some gradually favourable government policy and access to growth funding.

The exits and the ‘PayPal mafias’ may be a ways off but its a beginning. In part because it is the most liberal state in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa)region, and has a western-style banking system bequeathed to it by the French a long time ago.

Lebanon is uniquely poised to generate startups which aim both at the Arab world and the wider world at large.

Last week a new $71 million MENA-focused VC fund was announced by Leap Ventures, based out of Beirut.

And the Lebanon Central Bank “Circular 331” initiative promises to put up to $400 million into the local startup economy.

In addition, this year, the UK government is supporting a scheme to bring Lebanese startups to the UK and to the attention of London-based investors.

Late last year the country saw the launch of its very own Disrupt-style startup-focused conference.

Banque du Liban Accelerate wasn’t the first conference about technology in Lebanon, but it was the first to focus exclusively on startups, and specifically, the Beirut tech startup ecosystem.

It therefore benefitted from that far more laser-like focus, and even managed to attract over 50 international speakers from over 20 countries and 1,000 attendees (Video of the event here). Given that a civil war in Syria is raging on the border, this was no mean feat.

Some parts of Beirut are awash with Syrian refugees, and yet delegates were treated to a startup conference close to any other they might encounter in the US or Europe.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 16.32.46

One of the attractions of the tech scene in Beirut is the city itself. The city’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs, equal anything you might find in San Francisco, New York or London.

The safe areas of Beirut are well documented and patrolled by armed soldiers. Personally, I have never felt in danger in Beirut.

The conference was also a leap of faith. Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh green-lit the sizeable event, while director Marianne Hoayek put the project into gear. She in turn brought in Samer Karam, who was previously involved in Beirut’s first attempt to create a Valley-style accelerator.

The conference was also attended by some heavy hitters from the financial and political world including Marianne Hoayek, Director of the Executive Office at Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Francois Bassil, Chairman of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon, and Tom Fletcher, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Lebanon.

But one heavy hitter that didn’t attend was Abdel Menhem Youssef. And perhaps it’s best that he stayed away. Let me explain.

Unfortunately, it’s his policies which stand in the way of Beirut motoring ahead.

The current average Internet speed in Lebanon is 3.11 Mbps, far lower than the Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates, which enjoys an average 27.9 Mbps.

It’s been estimated that doubling Lebanon’s bandwidth could improve GDP by 0.6 percent. That’s a healthy amount for an emerging market economy which currently has a war on its doorstep and a refugee crisis.

To improve the speed, in 2011 the country was connected to the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) maritime cable. But while an improvement was felt., Lebanon still sits at 177th out of 200 countries on the Ookla list for Internet speed.

The reasons for this are simple. It’s entirely due to local politics.

Youssef, the head of the public-private organisation (OGERO, set up by the late Rafik Hariri) has blocked the utilisation and distribution of the IMEWE and other cables that have been hooked up.

As of today, less than 10% of the available capacity of the already operational Internet cables is made available to the market. It’s scandal which ought to have those at the highest levels of government fuming with anger.

Even former Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui estimates it would take only a year to organise fibre to the Home to every Lebanese citizen. If they could just connect up the IMEWE.

The finger has therefore been pointed at Ogero, run by Youssef.

The company is responsible for distributing the boosted Internet capacity enjoyed from the IMEWE to different Internet service providers as well as building the network. It also sells internet access direct to consumers. But, in a bizarre twist, Ogero’s chairman is not only the state regulator of the telecommunication industry, but also in charge of Ogero itself.

So the body charged with widen gin broadband internet, is directly hindering the development of Lebanon’s internet economy and ultimately the development of the country.

Indeed, Marwan Kheireddine, the chairman and general manager of Al-Mawarid Bank, has been quoted as saying that there is a conflict of interest within the Telecommunications Ministry, given that the general director is also the chairman of Ogero. “That doesn’t work. It is designed to fail,” he recently told The Beirut Daily Star.

Certainly the implication is that Youssef is either incompetent (hence my ‘idiot’ remark) or worse.

All this, despite a law drafted in 2001 which recommended that Lebanon fully privatize its telecoms industry.

But this never happened. It never happened because the government at the time completely destroyed the telecom infrastructure in the hope of privatising it cheaply to cronies, and then reaping the benefits a couple of years down the line.

For example, DSL deployment in Lebanon was actively stalled until 2006 in the hope that this privatisation would occur. This would partly explain why Ogero behaves in the way it does.

NEW INITIATIVES

However, there is light on the horizon for Lebanon’s emergent tech ecosystem.

The current UK Ambassador to Lebanon and former Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister, Tom Fletcher, is powering a new initiative – a UK Lebanon “Tech Hub” would be formed to bridge the startup communities between Lebanon and the UK.

The private sector initiative begins this year, with the support of Lebanon’s Central Bank. As the ambassador says, the idea is to bring “British expertise and investment and connect them with Lebanon startups.”

But time is a-wasting. Lebanese startups need access to regional and international markets, as their success depended largely on their ability to sell products and services abroad.

In that respect their fate matches many other smaller Middle Eastern countries. On Lebanon’s side however is it’s relatively liberal culture, it’s multi-language society and its reputation as a cultural engine of the Middle East.

INVESTORS

Lebanon’s investment scene remains small, but shows promise.

So far 3 venture capital firms have established funds that have raised decent amounts of money. Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Berytech Fund and LEAP Ventures have each raised at least $50 million.

MEVP has $75 Million in capital and is growing.

So far it’s invested mainly in Lebanon-based startups, but also in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt.

One of the first VC firm across the Arab World, it’s been investing since 2010, putting between $200,000 up to $5M per startup. In addition, Wamda Capital (recently spun out of a company best known as a media site, Wamda Platform) has also built a $55m fund. A newer player is Y Venture Partners (YVP), a new, early stage investment and advisory firm created by brothers Abdallah and Ghaith Yafi, who founded Lebanese ecommerce site ScoopCity as well as Canadian ecommerce site TheVolts.

Henri Asseily (above), managing partner at Leap Ventures, a growth fund, is amongst the biggest supporters of the Lebanon tech scene and a former founder of Shopzilla which was sold for $500m. (He also happens to be a cousin of Alexander Asseily the co-founder of Jawbone).

And these investors have been boosted by Circular No. 331. This announcement was issued by Lebaon’s Central Bank in August 2013, and it encourages commercial banks to invest in startups.

The Central Bank now guarantees up to 75% of the value of a commercial bank’s investments into a startup. That move opened up a potential of $400 million that could be invested into venture capital funds or directly into startups. Over 15 Lebanese banks have already taken part in the scheme.

One of the first startups to benefit from this scheme is Presella, founded by Walid Singer and Louay Al Kadri, which is aiming to become the “Eventbrite for the Middle East”. Presella has so far raised in the region of $400,000 and expanded out of Lebanon into Dubai, and is rapidly growing its user-based across the Middle East.

Angel investors are thin on the ground, but are gradually being herded by Beirut Angels (an initiative by Samer Karam and Ex-Minister of Telecom Nicolas Sehnaoui).

In addition there are two large organisations of the considerable Lebanese diaspora in the US who are starting to impact the eco-system.

There is Lebnet (based in the Bay Area). And then there Daher Capital, a Lebanon-based family office that only invests in the US market and has had a few successful exits and IPOs.

There’s also LISA (the brainchild of Mark Haidar) and TheList (Lebanese entrepreneurs and investors network).

Other players include Hala Fadel, chair of the MIT EF Arab, also angel investor; Fadi Ghandour, Founder of Aramex and chair of wamda Capital, also angel investor.

On the debt side, Lebanon is home to more than 50 retail banks with $140 Billion US (three times its GDP) in deposits.

The reputation of Beirut being the Switzerland of the Middle East is well-earned. These banks are fueling debt financing to tech companies through a subsidised government loan program named Kafalat – a very innovative public sector initiative. Circular 331 has of course taken that up a notch by encouraging venture financing.

CLUSTERS

As well as being spaced around the city, Beirut’s tech clusters include the “Beirut Digital District”.

This is not state sponsored, but rather is afforded benefits like cheaper internet connectivity, and some favourable legislation around company formation. Unfortunately, most of these are not operational as the politicians that supported the creation of the BDD are now no longer in power. In addition the rental prices remain too high for the average startup.

But office space is far cheaper in Beirut than in Dubai, where sales, marketing and business development offices are often put.

TALENT

Lebanon has one of the best educational sectors (and engineers) in the Arab World. Beirut has more than 18 universities/tech campuses. It is places like this which are fuelling the rise of the startup ecosystem.

ENTREPRENEURS

Lebanon is also producing a number of successful entrepreneurs.

Force of nature entrepreneur Hind Hobeika created the Instabeat health tracking hardware and app for swimmers which was a smash hit on Kickstarter.

Elie Habib is the founder of Anghami — the first to start a music streaming platform in the MENA region which now has over 11 million users.

Paul Salameh created Pou, a game making millions on the app store.

Ayah Bdeir founded LittleBits, an award-winning library of Electronics dubbed “LEGOs for the iPad generation.”

Karim Safiedine founded Cinemoz, which is aiming to become the Hulu for the Middle East.

And Lebanon is also sending entrepreneurs to the Valley.

Elie Khoury founded Woopra, but has since relocated to San Francisco.

As has Paul Saber who founded Etobb, a Q&A platform to allow doctors to meet patients virtually in the MENA region. Then there is Roadie, the automatic guitar tuner and app featured on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt New York last year, and created by Bassam Jalgha and Hassane Slaibi.

NEW BLOOD

Beirut is also producing new startups at a lively rate. These include Ki an enterprise mobile app that eliminates the need for usernames and passwords.

Zoomaal is also quickly becoming the Arab region’s main-kickstarter-style startup. Sohati, a content website and interaction platform providing health information and services to patients across the Arab world

Feedeed, a marketplace for services that give talented people the opportunity to transform their skills & services into a viable business.

And Saily a second-hand local marketplace. There is even an app for real-time traffic conditions, not unlike Waze, called Tari’ak.

OTHER PLAYERS

The wider ecosystem is also buzzing with accelerators and events.

These include Co-Working 961 (Co-Working); Startup Bootcamp (Pre-Accelerator bootcamp); Startup Megaphone (International promoter of Lebanon startups); SETT (a think tank based out of Beirut that is working on a 20 year plan for Lebanon’s startup ecosystem); Speed Lebanon (a community accelerator); LFE (NGO); and ArabNet (a large regional digital and tech conference).

There’s also the Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program run by Fadi Bizri. And Altcity, the co-working and startup hub started by David Munir Nabti has also made waves as an enthusiastic supporter of the scene.

Lebanon is also host to many startup events.

These include BeryTech’s YallaStartup Weekend; Bader’s Networking 961 event; and the MixNMentor events put on by Wamda Platform, which also has an accelerator, combined with consulting and research arms). The MIT Enterprise Forum also organises a huge event for their award ceremony.

BUILDING BLOCKS

So the building blocks are all there. Beirut is using its culture of freedom, its diversity, its low-cost high fun living standards and its location to its advantage in the Arab region.

Hopefully its politicians will begin to realise that its emerging Internet startups need and require decent internet access. (And, that I’ll sail through immigration next time).

Patsy Z shared this link on FB

“Beirut is rapidly shaping up to be a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East. It has many of the key elements: a highly entrepreneurial culture; incubators and accelerators; venture capital; some gradually favourable government policy and access to growth funding.”

Beirut is rapidly shaping up to be a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East.
tcrn.ch

TEDxRamallah in Beirut; part two

This is the second installment of the series covering the TEDxRamallah in Beirut event.

In the first session we lacked focus on the speakers, but things improved after the first break.  The first session hosted Raja Shehadeh, Gisel Kordestani, Mohammad Khatib, Fadi Ghandour, and Huwaida Arraf.  I talked about Huwaida Arraf and Alice Walker in the first part of this series https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/tedx-ramallah-in-beirut-sunflower-theater-part-one/.

Fadi Ghandour described the empowering process in neglected communities.  In the suburb of Amman, there is this community of 75,000 called Jabal Nazif (Clean Mountain) that was contrary to its name:  Garbage containers were scarce, one container for over 500 families. Taxi drivers would not venture in that area and there was no public transportation.  Schools were running down and there were no health facilities such as hospitals or dispensaries or even pharmacies…

Fadi Ghandour instituted “Ruwwad” (innovators) after meeting with the elders of the community.  A mother decided to get things in her hand and began organizing the community to collect their garbage and not wait for public institution to doing their jobs.  Schools were maintained and repainted according to the State specifications.  A computer and network facility was established for the young students to meeting and learning English:  The mothers got excited and demanded to learn how to read and write.  A hospital was constructed according to the State specifications and voluntary physicians participated in caring for the sick.  Artisan working groups were organized to earning a living…

Fadi Ghandour is founder of Aramex, a leading logistics and transportation companies and the first to go public on the NASDAQ stock exchange from the Arab world. He is founding partner of Maktoob, the world’s largest Arab online community, recently acquired by Yahoo!

The second session hosted Amal Shehabi, Sam Bahour, Steve Sosebee, Mohammad al Dahshan, the Palestinian singer Rim Al Banna, Julia Basha (Director of the award-winning movie Budrus), and Munir Fasheh.

Julia Basha is Brazilian or Lebanese descent who directed and produced the award-winning movie “Budrus” (2009).  This movie is a narrative of the community of Budrus in the West Bank who united to peacefully demonstrate against the Wall of Shame planned to cut the village.  All the political factions of Fateh, Hamas…and families joined forces and were supported by Israeli and foreign activists:  They marched every day to the construction site and girls stood in front of bulldozers that were rooting out olive trees… Finally, the Israeli authority gave up on the project for the Wall of separation to pass by the village.

Julia explained the cognitive dissonance of why foreign media refused to cover this wonderfully achievement.  It seems that the media professionals had their mental model or coherent story concerning the conflict and this new aspect of peaceful Palestinian cohesion didn’t match the model.  Thus, Julia said that narrative stories are the most effective medium to changing perspectives on a story.

The film was shown to a group of Tea Party sympathizers who believe that private property is the cornerstone for independence of State government plans.  A large man asked Julia: “Didn’t the Israeli government pay for the proprietors of the land?”  Israel don’t pay for anything owned by Palestinian, but Julia replied:  “A few accepted to sell but most of them refused.  They believed that if the Israeli government got its way once, it will repeat its nasty behavior.”  The man beamed:  this story didn’t contradict his mental model.  Julia Basha co-wrote and edited “Control Room” (2004),  and co-directed “Encounter Point” (2006)

Steve Sosebee is founder of Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) and contacted foreign surgeons from around the world to visit the West Bank and Gaza and perform urgent surgeries on handicapped Palestinian children and those in need of care not available in local hospitals.  One surgeon from Newzealanda used to come every year and perform heart surgery and saved a total of 600 children with heart conditions.  This benevolent surgeon trained many Palestinian physicians in his particular skills.

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund made a difference to 3,000 children just in 2008. Steve Sosebee produced the movie “Open Heart” (2006) and “Beit Iksa” (2008).

The third session welcomed  Abdelrahman Katanany (the zinko artworks), the Lebanese-based Palestinian rap group Katibe 5,  Alessandro Petti, Saleh Jawad, Sheerin Al Araj, and the blind psychologist Laila Atshan.

Sheerin Al Araj was born and raised in the village of Al Walajeh.  This village was vaster than Harlem in land and Israel confiscated most of the land to build colonies and left only a small portion for the Palestinian community.  Sheerin Al Araj managed to earn two master degrees, one of them in Human Rights from the University of Essex.  She worked for the UN, especially for the UNESCO in Ramallah.  In 2008, she was sent on mission to Darfur (Sudan) and had joined the security council panel of experts on Sudan.  As dramatic events development in Al Walajeh, like erecting the Wall of Shame, Sheerin Al Araj quit her job in the UN to stay in her village and focus on fighting off Israel’s incursion into the land of her village.

The funny psychologist Laila Atshan with a ready laugh was born blind and her family sent her to a British boarding school.  Once, Laila was three hours late to school and management was worried and about to call the police.  As Laila arrived, her teacher Grace said: “Laila, you must be hungry. We cooked chicken and rice.” Grace was one of the candles who lightened up Laila life and development.

Laila Atshan returned to Palestine after graduating in an US university and counseled afflicted Palestinian children, disabled people, refugees, prisoners, and survivors of political and domestic violence.  She was a consultant for UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in the West Bank.  She trained Iraqi university professors in promoting and implementing human rights.

The fourth session hosted Wael Attili (the Kharabeesh enterprise based in Amman), Khaled Sab3awi, the Mexican/US rap singer Mark Gonzales, Alice Walker, Suad Amiry, and the group of bagpipe players of Guirab.  The session ended with the Fayha group of 40 young singers singing three beautiful songs and led by maestro Barkev Taslakian; one of the song was a creative version of “Ya kudsu ya zahrata al madaen” where Christian and Moslem liturgies are inserted to show unity among the religious sects in Lebanon.

Wael Attili, founder of “Kharabeesh” (2008), a cartoon and animated story telling  enterprise based in Amman, was very emotional.  This company started with 5 founders and has already hired over 50 animators and professional graphic designers.  The employees are trained in house by working on projects.  For example, the voice-over in the Qadhafi’s cartoon is done by the driver, and the one who started as making coffee in the office is one of the best animating professionals. Wael Attili is Sha3teely.com blogger and founder of online businesses such as Tootcorp, which owns ikbis.com, watwet.com, and zoofs.com.

The third part of this series will resume the introduction of the other speakers.

Session One: TEDx Ramallah in Beirut (Sunflower theater)

TEDxRamallah was held in Betlehem (Beit Lahm) in the Palestinian occupied West Bank and many participated live from Beirut (Sunflower theater) and Amman (Jordan).  Many speakers were refused visa entry by the Israeli authorities, and most of the speakers had hard time reaching destination, traveling to many airports and cities, waiting in many Israeli check points before reaching Bethlehem.  For example, the US author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) had hard time crossing the Allenby Bridge.

The Israelis submitted her to four hours of silly questioning, just one of Israel harassment tactics.  The Israeli soldier had never heard of Alice or read any of her books or seen the Color Purple.  By the by, the computer search revealed information on Alice; Alice was confronted with one of her pronouncement that she will never visit Israel as long as Palestinians are under occupation.  Alice retorted: “Am I in Israel?  I am invited to Bethlehem among Palestinians.”  Alice recollected that in 1967 she asked one American politician: “Obviously, Israel will withdraw from the recent occupied lands in Sinai and the Golan Heights.” The answer was: “Israel needs all these lands”.  Alice knows that all these check points, barriers, Wall of Shame separating the West Bank from Israel proper, and apartheid policies are not sustainable and will be removed by force of the indignant Palestinians.

I attended the event in Beirut that officially started at 10 am to the end at around 8pm.  In addition to speakers, we watched performances by singles and group singers and musicians.  A large panel was exhibiting constant streams of comments arriving from over 40 cities around the world.  Food were served during the two breaks and at lunchtime around 2pm and the quantities were generous:  The event was well managed and the organizers were dedicated young entrepreneurs.

All the talks are in video on the internet.  My contribution is to extending essential summaries of the speeches so that readers may have opportunity to selecting whom and which video they want to listen to.

The Palestinian organizers are Ramzi Jaber (25 years old) and Jamil Abu Wardeh…; in Lebanon we have Joumana Jabiri and Zena Tahhan…Huwaida Arraf gave a talk and was one of the presenters.

Huwaida Arraf was under great emotional pressures because one of her best friend and activist colleague, the Italian Vittorion Arrigoni, was kidnapped and shot in Gaza the day before.  Vittorio Arrigoni refused to leave the occupied Palestinian lands since 2002 and participated in the demonstrations and peaceful activities everywhere villages needed his presence.  He was ill lately and suffered from kidney stone and was about ready to leave to Italy for health treatments. Huwaida had lost another friend activist a month ago, the assassinated young movie director Juliano Khamis.

Huwaida was born in the US and graduated a lawyer and settled in the West Bank during the first Intifada around 1990 and never left Palestine since then; Huwaida’s mother called her from Ohio asking her to return home.  Huwaidda replied: “But mother I am at home”.  Huwaida’s husband Adam Shapiro is denied entry to Israel and is living in Lebanon.

Huwaida started International Solidarity with the Palestinians and over 4,000 foreign activists have joined her peaceful struggle against Israel ignominies such as building the Wall of Shame, demolishing Palestinian private houses, rooting out ancient olive trees for colony expansions, opening newer highways to circumventing Palestinian villages, and overrunning Palestinian camps in Jenine, Jabaliya…Huwaida Arraf is currently the Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement and has led 5 successful sea voyages to the Gaza Strip: She was on the flotilla that was savagely attacked by Israeli troops that killed a dozen peaceful Turkish activists.

In the first session we lacked focus on the speakers, but things improved after the first break.  The first session hosted Raja Shehadeh, Gisel Kordestani, Mohammad Khatib, Fadi Ghandour, and Huwaida Arraf.

The second session hosted Amal Shehabi. Sam Bahour, Steve Sosebee, Mohammad al Dahshan, the Palestinian singer Rim Al Banna, Julia Basha (Director of the award winning movie Budrus), and Munir Fasheh.

The third session welcomed  Abdelrahman Katanany (the zinko artworks), the Lebanese-based Palestinian rap group Katibe 5,  Alessandro Petti, Saleh Jawad, Sheerin Al Araj, and the blind psychologist Laila Atshan.

The fourth session hosted Wael Attili (the Kharabeesh enterprise based in Amman), Khaled Sab3awi, the Mexican/US rap singer Mark Gonzales, Alice Walker, Suad Amiry, and the group of bagpipe players of Guirab.  The session ended with the Fayha group of 40 young singers singing three beautiful songs and led by maestro Barkev Taslakian.

Part two of this series will cover in some details the content of the talks.  See you soon.

William and Hanane gave me ride to the event.  We were supposed to leave at 8:15 but we started off at 9:30.  By 9 am I thought that William had forgotten to go.  As I arrived, my name was not listed as my application was approved.  It didn’t matter, the beautiful girl with blue eyes stamped a red X on my right hand.

During the first break, I had no idea the small breakfast buffet was served outside.  I had a small mankoush and a small cup of milk, five minutes before the second session.  At lunch, I used to sneak out one sandwich at a time, while people were waiting in line to fill their plastic plate.  I was very surprised that another buffet was waiting for us at the second break, and we had sweet “maacroun”.

When the official TEDx event was over around 7pm, we had a surprise.  While listening to a speaker, a large bunch of young people sneaked in.  I thought student s from around the corner came in by order of a dedicated teacher.  This group of about 40 began a song while sitting among us; they ended up on stage and sang two other songs.

I waited for William outside, knowing that he had to hurry in order to cover the launching of a CD at a restaurant.  I waited for 20 minutes and wondered whether William left without me.  I returned and looked for William or Hanane and could not locate them anywhere.  I waited another 15 minutes thinking that pretty soon they will miss their silent passenger and make a U turn to retrieve me.  Patricia was going out and she confirmed that William is still here, meeting with someone in a corner downstairs.

We were the last persons leaving the theater and I met Joumana Jabiri and Zeina Tahhane.  Zeina claimed that she ate nothing for the day:  I have to check on Zeina reliable claim on her eating habit. I also met with Joumana parents who are originally from Aleppo.  It was way after 10:30 when we arrived home.  I felt tired even though I didn’t work in the garden today:  Most probably, I missed my nap but I focused pretty well during the entire event.

Note 1:  A TEDx Lebanon is in the planning for this September 2011.  Among the organizers are Patricia Zogheib and William Choukeir…

Note 2:  Palvoices.wordpress.com of DevlnetMedia/Hibr.me worked with a group of 10 Palestinian young media students to covering the event in Beirut.


adonis49

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adonis49

February 2021
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