Prestige issue 266, September 2015
To the dimension of his dreams
Charisma and dynamism, youth and positivism … Mohamed Halwani is a man of passion and action. Driven by an open multidimensional mind, he cultivates with his soul innate gifts of love and altruism. Founding President of the Beirut Dream Lions Club, he applies with devotion the motto of Lion’s«We Serve» and works to apply it to all areas of social life. Beauty campaigns, kindness, awareness … his multiple activities reflect his noble aspirations seen on the yellow and blue flag of his club: Beirut, that he carries in his heart, represented by the Monument of Martyrs, and his dreams even more numerous than the stars in the sky … How far will his dream go? Confidences of Mohamed Halwani to Prestige.
Mohamed Halwani, president of Beirut Dream Lions Club. © Archives Mohamed Halwani.
You are at the head of Beirut Dream Lions Club since two years, and you have broken the record in trophies and appreciations received. How do you feel today? I am very happy every time I manage to serve and be useful to society. If, in addition my work is appreciated, I am so blissfully happy. The love of goodness and of others is rooted in me since my childhood, when at the time of the holidays I went to visit poor families. Today, I feel a deep and intense joy. However, beyond the great inner satisfaction it gives me, being appreciated and rewarded now requires more effort to provide, and more responsibilities.
What are the titles you currently hold? As part of Lions clubs, I chair, for two years, Beirut Dream Lions, the club I founded. I also chair the Committee Lions Economic Forum for the second time, at the request of the Governor of the Forum Murshid-Hajj Chahine, which this year honored me with this appointment. Regarding my other activities outside the Lions, I am currently secretary general of the Association of Alumni of the College Protestant and member of the Board of the Golden Murex. In November, I will launch, during a gala dinner held at the Casino du Liban, the Beirut Golden Awards, BGA. This will reward Lebanese personalities who have distinguished themselves abroad, but which are not sufficiently known in Lebanon. Business-wise, I hold the position of Contracts Processing Manager at Solidere.
A promising future for this young visionary and altruistic president.
You have just been appointed for the second time Best President of Lions Clubs for Lebanon-Jordan-Iraq area. Tell us … The Lions Club International is present in 200 countries worldwide and gathers 1.600.000 members. Concerning the Lebanon-Jordan-Iraq area, the Lions Club gathers 2,500 members headed by over a hundred presidents. In all modesty, I confess that I am very proud and pleased to have been selected from more than 111 Lions presidents of the region, and appointed for the second time Best President. I would like in this context to thank Mr. Louis Bou Farah and Mr. Murshid Hajj- Chahine, who gave me their trust through this appointment. The title of Best President fills me with joy, but it makes me more aware of the heavy responsibility to bear, forever be worthy of this title. For it is through his actions that we know the person’s value. I honestly believe that it is thanks to the many actions we have managed to achieve during these years at the club, we have earned this honor and this nomination. I cite, as examples, the publication of a brochure in collaboration with the Embassy of France and the Ministries of Interior and Education, to educate young people about the dangers of drugs; apolitical conference on the concept of the International Criminal Court, held at the ATCL led by the President of TPI, Sir David Baragwanath; planting small gardens in Clemenceau, to bring a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city; the support for the Green Festival, Earth Hour, a flower festival at Beirut Hippodrome; cultural and theatrical activities, such as the play l’illusion Conjugale intended to raise funds for four NGOs, the Nations Festival in Zaitunay Bay I intend to raise this year, iftars organized for orphans during Ramadan and the Christmas lunches for orphans and going out to Planet Discovery with them. At Easter and the centenary of St. Rafka we shared lunch with senior citizens, accompanied by gifts, not to mention the days organized at KidzMondo and dedicated to children with cancer.
«The appreciations and rewards delight me and make me aware of the efforts required and responsibilities»
How Mohamed Halwani defines the Lions Club? When Beirut Dream Lions was born, I had the privilege and honor to host the Lions International President, Australian Barry Palmer, who came especially for the occasion in Lebanon, and handed me personally the Club creating patent. To define the club, I will say that on a personal level, Lions is my club. My pride. My delight. Internationally, everyone knows that the Lions club is the largest non-political and non-religious club in the world, and the only non-governmental organization to receive a seat on the UN, at the Economics Department. «We Serve» is his motto, which is also mine. A club at the service of society in a spirit of friendship. A club of action distinguished by its activities. Previously these were limited to charitable gala dinners to orphans or old asylums. Today, the Beirut Dream Lions club has expanded these activities to encompass all aspects charitable, social, cultural, environmental, sports, economic, and public awareness campaigns for the preservation of the environment and of support to patients Alzheimer, among others. Beirut Dream Lions Club is composed of executives, like Nabil Rached for Public Relations and Media, Sylvana Samaha, a former Miss Lebanon, three Vice-Chairmen including two women, and 22 members. A good quota of 12 women is granted to the fairer sex, with a rate of 55%.
You have been deeply touched by the word addressed by Patriarch Bechara Rai to you … I was particularly touched by the loving and sincere testimony of Cardinal Bechara Rai which honored me during our visit to the patriarch in Bkerké. It will forever be marked in my memory and in my heart.
On the golden yellow and blue shield of the club, we can see the Monument of Martyrs and stars … What do they symbolize? They represent the logo to the club Beirut Dream Lions. The Monument of the Martyrs is Beirut, while the stars refer to the dream.
Are you held by a Lion’s charter, or do you have the freedom to choose your scope? We are limited by the lion’s charter administratively only, monthly and annual reports to be sent regularly to US governors office and on the strategy, which must never address the political and religious issues. Aside from that, we have the complete freedom to choose our field of action.
Mohamed Halwani advocates love of neighbor and cultivates the gift of sharing.
In your opinion, what role do young people play? The role of young people is essential to continue and complete what has already been accomplished. Young people bring new life, new ideas, a youthful spirit and dynamism to the projects and the club. We encourage young people between 25 and 35 years to join the club.
What are your future projects? Many activities are planned. On the sports level, in addition to the traditional Beirut Marathon sponsored for three years, the club will also support the Rally of Lebanon and the Middle East to be held for the first time in Lebanon and bring together more than 600 people. Similarly, for the event Miss Tourism Universe which runs for two years here. Moreover, given the success encountered last year, the club will organize in next May-June the Festival of Nations. On the environmental front, we will contribute to afforestation of the Maronite Diocese in Batroun, and a vast awareness and action campaign for the collection of garbage and the development of a plan at the national level. The cherry on the cake? In February 2016, Beirut Dream will host a World Economic Forum in the presence of personalities and executives and ministers to discuss the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East. The hopes and benefits. Interview by MIREILLE BRIDI BOUABJIAN