Assistant Governor Salwa CHOUCAIR,
Past Presidents Philipe SKAFF, Rami MAJZOUB, Joe KENAAN, Christine SABIEH, Ghassan HAJJAR, Rima KHALAF, and Rami SARKIS,
Immediate Past President Antoine KALDANY,
Dear Rotarians and Zoom participants,
I stand before you today with great honor as the newly elected President of this vibrant club for the year 20-21. I want to express my gratitude for your trust in selecting me as president, although I still ponder on what prompted me to take on this role. Nevertheless, we are here, united on our Rotarian mission.
We have experienced challenging times, to say the least. Lebanon has been in a tunnel of turmoil since the start of the revolution in October 2019. The average Lebanese citizen is struggling within a corrupt system, fighting against imposed poverty and an almost non-existent economic structure. Access to money in banks is restricted, and the number of families without any income is alarmingly high. We must remember these Lebanese families who were already battling poverty before COVID-19 and are now facing even greater challenges in providing for their basic needs.
Yet, despite these odds, our President Antoine KALDANY has skillfully steered the club during these harsh days. He swiftly adapted to everyday challenges, remaining focused and steadfast.
The RotarX sessions, initiated in July 2018, provided an innovative way to introduce Rotary to the public. When COVID-19 forced us into lockdown, we shifted these sessions to an online format using Zoom, attracting a larger audience and gaining international exposure. This adaptation to remote working allowed us to continue our regular and board meetings seamlessly since March, ensuring the smooth operation of our club.
President Antoine also challenged the club to internationalize, engaging with embassies and inviting speakers from around the world. He encouraged us to redirect foreign club donations towards humanitarian causes, enabling us to provide medical supplies to hospitals and support Lebanon’s fight against COVID-19. Simultaneously, we successfully executed projects such as libraries and the opening of Horsh Beirut.
But perhaps most importantly, President KALDANY consistently looked onward and upward. He prioritized the needs of the Lebanese population and focused on providing food box support through partnering NGOs, ensuring quick assistance with incoming funds.
President Antoine, you have truly raised the bar and provided us with invaluable guidance.
The Wheel of Service continues to rotate, and we strive to discover new opportunities to serve selflessly. We remain dedicated to looking onward and upward, envisioning a peaceful future for our beloved Lebanon. Onward represents moving forward without dwelling on the past, while upward signifies a commitment to ongoing self-improvement that elevates our spirits towards a higher state of being. This theme aligns seamlessly with your presidency, dear Immediate Past President.
Our budget is prepared, and our projects are in development, soon to be presented to the board and members. The People of Action will be supported by Sergeant at Arms PP. Joe KENAAN, Christine SABIEH overseeing the Rotary Foundation, M. Ramzi ABU SAMAH managing treasurer responsibilities, PP. Ghassan HAJJAR handling membership, PP. Philippe SHAFF fostering fellowship, Consul Jean Francois PARMENTIER leading administration, Cynthia ZREIK managing PR and media, and Joumana CHALHOUB overseeing multiple projects. We are grateful for the support of Honorary Secretary M. Jean Marc ADAIMY.
Vice-President Antoine, I assure you that our club will continue moving forward, always onward and upward! This mission will bring challenges, but the board is ready to embrace them.
Once again, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your trust and support.