Today Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Marc Desjardins attended a Spelling Bee competition at the Baakline American Corner located at the Baakline National Library. Organized in partnership with the SMART Center for Media and Advocacy, the Embassy-funded Spelling Bee brought together young students to compete in spelling words in English that promote citizenship, human rights, and peace. Twenty four students from public and private schools in Zahleh and Baakline participated in the regional competitions, while more than 700 students participated in preliminary competitions within their schools.
In his remarks, DCM Desjardins noted that “this competition is about more than just spelling words. It is also about what those words mean. At a time when the national conversation is full of stories of terrorism, hatred, and intolerance, 800 students across eight schools participated in school-wide and regional spelling competitions and had the opportunity to learn about words related to citizenship, human rights, and peace. It gives me and my colleagues at the Embassy much hope to see this young generation and the vast majority of Lebanese embracing these principles that are important across the world no matter what language is spoken. They are the principles of those who wish to create just societies and build upon the strong Lebanese belief in the value of education, mutual understanding, and respect. Lebanon and the United States share these values, and this Spelling Bee is just one example of the partnership between Lebanon and America to promote and strengthen them.”
Following the Spelling Bee, DCM Desjardins met with students from the Baakline Secondary Public School, which receives U.S. assistance through the Developing Rehabilitation Assistance to Schools and Teacher Improvement (D-RASATI) project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Baakline Secondary Public School recently received 30 tablet computers for use by students in the classroom. The Baakline Secondary Public School is among 42 schools in the Chouf district participating in the D-RASATI project.
The DCM also met with a beneficiary of USAID’s Lebanon Investment in Microfinance (LIM) program who received a microloan to open a beauty salon. Nearly 9,000 jobs have been created or sustained as a result of the LIM program, with approximately 40% of those jobs being filled by women