Highlights from WLCU Sydney 2022
By Jacqui Willing
Another year has flown by and now we can reflect on the many accomplishments of WLCU Sydney over the course of 2022. As usual, none of these would be possible without our generous members, sponsors and friends. We extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for all your support.
Most importantly of all the initiatives of the cultural union in 2022, the diaspora was united in our desire to celebrate Lebanese culture and send assistance to those in need in the homeland. This year, that aid included sending medicines, food and paying for blood tests to the value of over $70,000. The causes were agreed after receiving on the ground feedback in Lebanon, in terms of the most urgent needs
HSC Distinguished Achievers Awards Night, Class of 2021 (7 April)
Once again, our annual HSC Distinguished Achievers Awards was held to celebrate and acknowledge the outstanding achievements of our young students in their final year of schooling. The joyful evening marked a momentous occasion for the Higher School Certificate and International Baccalaureate graduates in the Class of 2021.
Previous award recipient and WLCU Youth Committee Vice President, Mia Chaaya, recently shared how meaningful it was to be acknowledged among the Class of 2020, “[to receive] an award acknowledging the achievement of a young Lebanese person by its own Lebanese community, is an experience like no other. An award acknowledging our culture and roots; a culture which uniquely values the importance of education is an experience like no other. I believe it is this exact culture that is a key reason why the young Lebanese award recipients excelled so brilliantly in their HSC studies.”
We look forward to empowering the graduating class of 2022 with a similar celebration in this new year.
Rome Comes To Lebanon (25 June)
This entertaining and enthralling evening saw almost 200 guests enjoy a remarkable journey and culinary celebration of Lebanese history, focussing on the impact of the Roman influence in Lebanon for 700 years.
Joined by Dr John Whitehouse, a leading planning and environmental lawyer who is also an expert in Roman history, guests learned about one of the most prosperous times in the history of Lebanon (then Phoenicia) when its reputation as a flourishing and prominent intellectual and economic hub grew, up until the sixth century.
Donned in Tyrian purple, red, white and green, guests were also entertained by the incredible singing of Soprano Amelia Farrugia and the delights of a four-course Lebanese feast. Most significantly, $50 from each ticket purchased was sent directly to assist the needy in Lebanon.
Hi Keefna Ca Va (10 August)
The WLCU once again hosted our popular expatriate event on a city rooftop on a beautiful Wednesday evening in August. We hope that, in echoing the traditional Lebanese greeting with the name of this regular soiree, we might also echo and extend the warm hospitality that the diaspora is greeted with when we visit the golden shores of the motherland.
If you are eager for these events to continue, or you have any ideas for a similar networking function for our diaspora community, please reach out to the WLCU committee (email@example.com).
WLCU World Congress, Beirut (20-21 August)
WLCU President, Dr Shane Geha, attended the World Congress of the WLCU held in Fatka, Lebanon (near Jounieh) representing WLCU Sydney. While in Lebanon Dr Geha met with many WLCU officials, including The World President, the World Youth President and the World Secretary-General. Dr Geha also spent a few weeks catching up with friends and relatives, touring the museums, researching the historical landmarks, and indulging in Lebanese culture. Dr Geha also saw firsthand some of the beneficiaries of WLCU aid and spoke at the Bishmizzine school where his family personally contributes financially with scholarships.
Youth Harbour Cruise (23 September)
On a Friday evening in spring, over 200 proud, young members of the Lebanese community gathered in a magical night of music and dancing on Sydney Harbour. This event was the first of, hopefully, many collaborations between the WLCU Youth Committee and the intervarsity Young Australian Lebanese Association across four major Sydney universities.
Dr Charles Malik Literary Competition (November)
In 2022, the WLCU Sydney presented the inaugural Dr Charles Malik Award. This annual writing competition was open to all persons aged 15 years and over to submit an essay on any topic that included a Lebanese theme. In December, six high-calibre essays were recognised as winning or highly commended entrants by our expert panel of judges. These are available for download on the WLCU Sydney website.
The Dr Charles Malik Award is named in honour of Dr Charles Malik, the first United Nations Ambassador for Lebanon who also significantly contributed to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Dr Malik was a distinguished academic, philosopher, author, diplomat and politician that became President of the Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations General Assembly.
Cocktail Evening (8 December)
A warm welcome was extended to all those who joined this casual evening in the offices of the WLCU’s most generous sponsor for 2022, EG. The proceedings included a sincere thanks to the generous sponsors who have made the years’ festivities and successes possible, an indulgent spread of food from Al Aseel and the opportunity to network with the Charles Malik Award recipients and our highest achievers from the HSC Classes of 2020 and 2021.