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June 9-14

Archive
About the festival
"The Beirut Spring Festival", created and launched in 2009 by the Samir Kassir Foundation, is inspired by the title of one of the last articles written by Samir Kassir, shortly before his assassination in 2005.

This event, targeting the broad general public, is unique both in its concept and program.The goals of the Festival and its particular character have generated such a warm welcome from the public.

The Festival is the first of its kind in Beirut.

The Festival features multidisciplinary international performances (theater, music, dance, conferences...) revolving around the themes of tolerance and cultural diversity, especially in societies facing violence and injustice.

The Festival features exclusive one-night performances scheduled over a week in different venues across Beirut.

The Festival supports contemporary art creation and energizes Lebanon’s cultural and artistic life, built on the belief that art is the ultimate way to tolerance.

The Festival thrives on the young generation’s interest in maintaining ties with the vision and thoughts of Samir Kassir.

The free admission to the Festival provides all categories of the Lebanese society with unrestricted access to original, non commercial art works.
This festival has grown thanks to the financial and moral support of friends, sponsors and especially the civil society.

Thank you for your loyalty,

Program
Archive
May
3
18:30
Defending Press Freedom Today: New Tools, New Challenges

Press Syndicate – Ain el-Tineh
Defending Press Freedom Today: New Tools, New Challenges

Press freedom is not doing well. The last few years were the deadliest for journalists, especially in the Middle East, where more than 90 percent of the crimes remain unpunished. Press freedom defenders are facing today multi-layered challenges: How to protect journalists who cannot afford expensive safety trainings and protective equipment? How to deal with budget constraints and donor fatigue? How to safeguard freedom of expression in legislation and in practice? 

Panel discussion with Sarah Giaziri (Rory Peck Trust – UK), Jodie Ginsberg (Index on Censorship – UK), Cheryl Gould (Committee to Protect Journalists – USA) and Ayman Mhanna (SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom – Lebanon). Moderated by Hanin Ghaddar (NOW Media, Atlantic Council – Lebanon).


May
4
20:00
My Light Is Your Light

An installation by Alaa Minawi

Samir Kassir Square – Downtown Beirut 



My Light Is Your Light

An installation by Alaa Minawi

When people are forced to leave their cities, they do not only leave their homes, belongings, schools, favorite toys, and friends and neighbors behind… They actually leave their skin organs and their memories. They transform into outlines of a radiating light. They walk, whispering one thing: “My light is your light…”
Alaa Minawi’s latest light installation has been premiered at the third edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival in November 2014. The installation entitled “My light it your light” is one of 30 different installations that have been selected out of over 360 concepts presented by artists from around the world.
“My light is your light” is a tribute to the Syrian refugees who have been going through extremely painful humanitarian conditions. It is also a tribute to all refugees in the last 100 years, who transform into a radiating outline of a human once they are forced out from home, for their story craves to shine on throughout the world.
This idea has been presented in the form of a light installation with six human-scale statues created in outlines from custom-made neon lights. The six figures represent a family made of a father, a mother, a grandfather, an aunt and two children. A family that has been walking for years and it seems as though the youngest of all has found something interesting. It is an installation that reflects both harshness and aspects of hope. These six figures will find themselves crossing paths with passers-by in Beirut, from May 4 to June 3.

May
5
18:30
Healing Memories and Building the Future 


USJ – Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport


Healing Memories and Building the Future 


Without coming to terms with its past, a society cannot build its future. Drawing from the experiences of many countries that established mechanisms to deal with memory, such as Spain, Chile and Northern Ireland, this panel will look at what has not been done in Lebanon and the results of the political choice of amnesty and amnesia. The debate will also shed light on measures that can be established to ensure that post-conflict Syria can undergo a sustainable truth and reconciliation process.

Panel discussion with Ziyad Baroud (former Minister – Lebanon), Josefina Cuesta Bustillo (University of Salamanca – Spain), Luciano Fouillioux (Memory Museum, National Human Rights Institute – Chile) and Jane Morrice (Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Council, former Deputy-Speaker of the Northern Irish Parliament – UK). Moderated by Carmen Abou Jaoudé (International Center for Transitional Justice – Lebanon).


May
7
18:30
Freedom and Privacy: the Impossible Equation?

USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport
Freedom and Privacy: the Impossible Equation? 

Billions of individuals across the globe live connected. Each person today produces and generates tons of data. The world has already moved to the “Internet of things” era with more connected devices in everyone’s daily life. The panel will try to address key questions: Who gets the data? Who has the ability to decipher it? How is the data commoditized? What implication does this new form of connectivity have on people’s personal and public freedom and on political systems? How do “good guys” and “bad guys” use the data?

Panel discussion with Kevin Collier (Daily Dot – USA), Reem Al-Masri (7iber.com – Jordan), Sascha Meinrath (X-Lab – USA) and Mohamad Najem (Social Media Exchange – Lebanon). Moderated by Kelli Arena (Global Center for Journalism and Democracy – USA).

May
8
18:30
Culture amid War: the Syrian Experiment

Dawawine, Gemmayzé 

Culture amid War: the Syrian Experiment

Since the eruption of the conflict in Syria, many Syrians have chosen arts as a channel to express their feelings, after forty years of oppression and four years of war. The works of Syrian artists are a reflection of history, of suffering, of doubts but they also carry a glimpse of hope and an opportunity to live, for a moment, in a different, more peaceful environment. The panel will highlight remarkable Syrian artistic experiences and discuss the importance of arts and culture at times of war.

Presentation of creative art works by Syrian artists since 2011, with Ali Atassi (Bidayyat – Syria), Ziad Majed (American University of Paris – Lebanon) and Sana Yazigi (Creative Memory – Syria).  Moderated by Reem Maghribi (Sharq – Syria)

May
9
17:30
Samir Kassir in Movies
Documentaries and short movies on Samir Kassir

Salle Montaigne  - French Institute



Samir Kassir in Movies

Prominent filmmakers and writers paid tribute to Samir Kassir shortly after his assassination. Their documentaries and short movies shed light on Samir Kassir’s vision, career, personal life and political values. Each movie captured aspects of Samir Kassir’s ideas and personality that the general public may have not known. 
The Beirut Spring Festival will feature two short movies that were produced and broadcast in the months following Samir Kassir’s assassination, including but not limited to:
"Tulipe Noire" (video art) by the artist Greta Naufal.
•     "Monday" by the filmmaker Talal Khoury.
The Beirut Spring Festival will also feature a world premiere: a tribute to Samir Kassir by his own daughter and young filmmaker Liana Kassir, presented for the first time on the occasion of the tenth commemoration.

May
12
18:30
Palestine and the Changing Times in the Arab World

Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah & Dawawine, Gemmayzé
Palestine and the Changing Times in the Arab World
Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah & Dawawine, Gemmayzé 

Palestine was historically the “central cause” of the Arab world. Even after the inception of the shaky post-Oslo peace process, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remained the main item in Middle East news. However, with the Arab uprisings of 2010-2011 much of the attention shifted to other places, both at the level of international media and Arab populations alike. After a full day of events commemorating Samir Kassir at the Mahmoud Darwish Museum in Ramallah, the panel will debate whether Palestine is still today at the center of Arab priorities and the prospects of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence. 

Samir Kassir in Palestine

-    Exhibition of cartoons by Palestinian artists (3:30 pm)

-    Panel discussion on the Palestinian cultural scene (4:30 pm)

-  Panel discussion with Yasser Abd Rabbo (Mahmoud Darwish Foundation – Palestine), politician Hanan Ashrawi, writer and poet Ihab Bsiso and Ahmad Al-Tibi (Parliamentarian – Palestine) from the Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Ramallah, and Ziad Al-Sayegh (Civic Influence Hub – Lebanon) from Dawawine, Beirut. Moderated by Gisèle Khoury (Samir Kassir Foundation – Lebanon) (6:30 pm)

Concert by the Galilee Quartet (8:30 pm)



May
13
15:00
France in the Arab World and the Arab World in France 

Salle Montaigne, French Institute 

France in the Arab World and the Arab World in France 

As described in Samir Kassir and Farouk Mardam-Bey’s book “Itinéraires de Paris à Jérusalem” (Itineraries from Paris to Jerusalem), France and the Arab world have had a deep, intricate and multi-layered history, marked by partnership, knowledge and mistrust. Samir Kassir, also a French national, was a well-heard voice in French media and political circles and served as a strong ambassador for the Arab people’s dreams of freedom and democracy. The panel will discuss the state of the French-Arab ties today and in the coming years.

Panel discussion with Karim Emile Bitar (National Center for Scientific Research – Lebanon/France), François Burgat (IFPO – France), and Patrice Paoli (Ambassador – France). Moderated by Noor Akl (Future TV – Lebanon).


May
15
17:00 - 18:30
Telling the Syrian Story to the International Public Opinion

USJ Campus des Sciences Sociales, Huvelin, Amphitheatre A 
Telling the Syrian Story to the International Public Opinion

Part I- Film projection: “The Dublin Pitfall” by Rime El-Jadidi

“The Dublin Pitfall” is a documentary addressing the consequences of the Syrian refugees’ migration to Europe. The film narrates the struggle of individuals who made the perilous journey of leaving their homes fleeing war only to face harsher conditions in their host country. The film was shot during a three-week trip across Bulgaria in April 2014. The director, Morocco’s Rime El-Jadidi, worked as a one-woman band on a tiny budget, relying on the hospitality and help of Bulgarians and Syrians to make this film.

Part II- Panel discussion – 6:30 PM
Despite more than 200,000 deaths and one of the largest displacement crises in the world, the international public opinion has not demonstrated the same level of interest in the Syrian war than other previous conflicts. At the same time, the Syrian conflict has been widely covered in books, articles and reports, many of which won prestigious awards. The international public’s focus seems limited to the rise of radical Islamism in Syria and to the plight of kidnapped western journalists. The panel will discuss why the Syrian story is not resonating enough and what other channels to shed light on the tragedy are still available. 

Panel discussion with Daniel Beaulieu (Syria Deeply – Canada), Leila Nachawati Rego (Syria Untold – Syria/Spain), Christoph Reuter (Der Spiegel – Germany) and James Sadri (The Syria Campaign – UK). Moderated by Alex Rowell (NOW Media – UK).


May
21
16:30
Democracy and the Military Challenge: “Aaskar Aala Meen” 

Carnegie Middle East Center, Downtown Beirut 

Democracy and the Military Challenge: “Aaskar Aala Meen” 

In his 2004 “Aaskar Aala Meen” Samir Kassir explains and decries the control of intelligence services and security apparatuses over the political, public and social life in the Arab world. After the 2010-2011 Arab uprisings against dictatorships and the subsequent rise and demise of Islamist forces, the military is playing again a fundamental role; Egypt being the clearest example. The panel will discuss the perspectives of democratization in the Middle East and the relationship between the political class and the military in nascent democracies.

Panel discussion with Rania Barrak (Military Academy – Tunisia), Farea al-Muslimi (Carnegie Middle East Center –Yemen), Jean Oghassabian (Member of Parliament – Lebanon) and Yezid Sayigh (Carnegie Middle East Center – Palestine). Moderated by Nabil Bou Monsef (An-Nahar – Lebanon).

May
22
18:30
Syria’s Democracy and Lebanon’s Independence 

USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport 
Syria’s Democracy and Lebanon’s Independence 

USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport 

In 2004, Samir Kassir published a book entitled “Syria’s Democracy and Lebanon’s Independence: Searching for the Damascus Spring”. In this book, he argued that Lebanon will never achieve independence as long as Syria is not governed by a truly democratic regime. Every day that has passed since the publication of this book proved the accuracy of Samir Kassir’s analysis. The debate will shed light on the intricate relations between Lebanon and Syria, at all levels, at all times and in all circumstances.

Panel discussion with Antoine Haddad (Democratic Renewal Movement – Lebanon), MP Alain Aoun and  Hala Kodmani (Writer – Syria).

Moderator: Rima Khaddaj Hamade


May
24
10:00
The Change-Makers Forum / Gathering those who make the Middle East a better place

 USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport 
The Change-Makers Forum

The Change-Makers Forum will gather 30 to 40 Lebanese and Arab non-governmental organizations, social entrepreneurs, cultural collectives and citizen groups that are working every day to make their countries more democratic, more tolerant, more prosperous, and more enjoyable places for all their citizens.
The Forum, held in the heart of the avant-garde architecture of Université St-Joseph’s Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport, will give each group a dedicated space to exhibit their publications, products and any materials they wish to display. The Forum will be an opportunity for all the change-makers to connect, exchange experiences and build bridges. The public will have the chance to meet those who create the positive change that we all long for and find ways of contributing positively to the work of these groups.

Participating organizations will also have the opportunity to speak up, hold public projections, artistic performances and any other activity that will highlight their goals and achievements.

May
25
17:00 - 18:30
Democracy and the Religious Challenge

USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport

Democracy and the Religious Challenge

Part I- Film projection: “Lights on darkness” by Diana Moukalled 
In the three-part series “Lights on Darkness”, Diana Moukalled sheds light on radical Islam by visiting three countries: Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. In the first episode (that will be shown during the session), which takes place in Iraq, she shows how Al-Qaida resorts to women and children to carry out suicide bombings. This series is produced by Firehorse. 



Part II- Panel discussion
After the Arab revolutions, Islamist forces have played a fundamental role and attracted millions of new voters and supporters. In reaction, religious minorities have been requesting international protection and special statuses. The process towards equal citizenship is still at its early phases and is facing, on a daily basis, lethal challenges. The panel will discuss whether democracy can accommodate religious-based forces without facing the risk of its own extinction.

Panel discussion with Abbas Halabi (Muslim-Christian Dialogue Committee – Lebanon), Nabila Hamza (Egalité et Parité – Tunisia), Farid El-Khazen (Member of Parliament – Lebanon) and Sven Speer (Religion and Politics Forum – Germany). Moderated by Dalal Mawad (LBCI – Lebanon).


May
27
18:30
Being Arab: the Arab Malaise Ten Years Later – Keynote Address

USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport

Being Arab: the Arab Malaise Ten Years Later – Keynote Address

In his book “Being Arab”, Samir Kassir calls on the people of the Middle East to reject both Western double standards and Islamism in order to take the future into their own hands. Samir Kassir states that the crisis in Arab identity lies in the failure to come to terms with modernity, turning instead to false solutions such as pan-Arabism and Islamism. Passionately written and brilliantly argued, this rallying cry for change has now been heard by millions. Marwan Muasher will discuss what has changed since the publication of the book and assess the current state of the Arab malaise.

Keynote speech by Marwan Muasher (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Jordan).

Introduction by Andrew Mikhael (Queen’s University Belfast – Lebanon/Ireland). Moderator: Gisèle Khoury (Samir Kassir Foundation – Lebanon).



May
28
18:30
Film projection: “A la rencontre des Eglises Premières »

 USJ Campus de l’Innovation et du Sport



Film projection: “A la rencontre des Eglises Premières »

This movie takes us to the discovery of churches evangelized by the Apostles themselves. Having evolved in the East in a hostile environment, the survival of these churches today is a miracle. Each is located at the border of a particular culture. Jacques Debs shared the life philosophy of these churches made of mysticism and charity. It is a movie with a stunning aesthetic magnified by Zad Moultaka’s music.

Followed by a debate with Jacques Debs (filmmaker), Samir Frangié (former Member of Parliament), Mona Fayad (writer). Moderated by Michel Hajji Georgiou (L’Orient-Le Jour).

May
30
18:30
Cultural Diplomacy: When Universal Values Meet the Micro-Local

Salle Montaigne, French Institute 
Cultural Diplomacy: When Universal Values Meet the Micro-Local

International institutions working in the field of relief and political development usually come to a country going through conflict and difficult political transitions; then leave. Inversely, international cultural centers and institutes have very often a much longer presence on the ground. Their interaction with local artists, teachers and thinkers allow them to develop a different understanding of realities and a better informed viewpoint on the future of societies. The discussion will focus on the role of these institutions within the current changing times, amid a growing debate between supporters of universal values and proponents of cultural relativism.

Panel discussion with Anne Grillo (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development – France), Eduardo López Busquets (Casa Arabe – Spain) and Graham Sheffield (British Council – UK). Moderated by Nora Joumblatt (Beiteddine International Festival – Lebanon).


June
6
21:00

Tribute to Samir Kassir and Beirut

Martyrs’ Square – Downtown Beirut

Access to the venue will be closed at 8:45 PM to allow for live TV broadcast.

Tribute to Samir Kassir and Beirut

Large-scale multi-disciplinary sound and light show

The heart of Beirut, Martyrs’ Square, the An-Nahar building and all the surrounding buildings will be covered by an unprecedented glitz. Thousands of lights and images will be projected to commemorate Samir Kassir’s legacy and celebrate Beirut.

Lights and images will create new horizons for hope in a Square that witnessed Lebanon’s darkest moments and most glorious days. The show will emphasize the struggle for freedom, humanist values and progressive thinking that have defined Beirut over the years.

It will allow people to rediscover their capital; the events that marked its history and what influenced Samir Kassir’s political and intellectual endeavors.

Several Lebanese, Arab and international artists will take part in the show, created and conceived by Ivan Caracalla, to embody the unique cross-cultural nature of both Samir Kassir and the Beirut Spring Festival. In addition to the lights and images, the show will include live musical and stage performances.

The lights of that night will spread across the entire city. The show will send the message that the flame of liberty will forever shine over Beirut and through each person and institution that embrace Samir Kassir’s memory.


Credits: Music Composition: Reza Aligholi; Text & Poems: Talal Haidar; Conducted by: Harout Fazlian with the “Beirut Symphony Orchestra”; Actors: Gabriel Yammine, Rafaat Tarabay, Jihad Al Andary, Alecco Daoud, Khaled Al Sayyed, Fadi Rifai, Ali Zain, Romeo El Hachem; Singers:  Hadi Khalil, Yasmine Hadj Nasser, Tania Saleh, Marc Reaidi ; Bands: Fareeq Al Atrach & Who Killed Bruce Lee; Musicians:  Saad Saab & The Oud Family (Jihad Chemaly, Charbel Eid, Abboud Zino, Fadi Yaacoub); Composer/ Pianist:  Ramy Khalife; Dancers: Totem Contemporary Dance Company, The "Young Talent Student Dancers"


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