Search for Common Ground organized an educational, artistic and sports day that combined Syrian and Lebanese participants in Jezzine as one of their conflict resolution projects. The project proved necessary given the tensions overwhelming the area due to an influx of Syrian refugees.
This project was held with the support of Jezzine’s mayor Khalil Harfouche and the local Shallal club in Jezzine alongside the UNHCR, EU and the Jezzine Union.
The day started with a friendly soccer match at Mar Youssef court which took place between 10 am and 1 pm, combining 4 teams mixed between Syrians and Lebanese youth aged between 17 and 30.
The “Mahabba” team won the tournament, receiving the cup and gold place medals. Moreover, the Syrian player nicknamed Messi won the MVP award while Syrian “Abou Hmeid” won the best goalie award. The winners received their awards from Mayor Khalil Harfouche, Search for Common Ground’s programme director Elisa Dari, and president of the Shallal club Antoine Chahine.
Under the “Together for Peace” initiative, the game was followed by a Syrian-Lebanese lunch in Shallal restaurant where Lebanese and Syrian artists who have been working on this project over the last 18 months performed several artistic pieces.
The lunch began with the Lebanese national anthem and with a speech from Shallal club president Antoine Chahine’s thanking all the NGOS, the Jezzine municipality and the Jezzine Union which both hold Khalil Harfouche as their president for their cooperation to build security and peace in our local community.
Following Antoine Chahine’s speech, programme director Elisa Dari explained Search for Common Ground’s objectives and her opinion on ways to resolve conflict and find common ground between Lebanese and Syrians. She elaborated that this project is one of many implemented by Search for Common Ground that are implemented for over 18 months in different Lebanese regions, specifically the north and south.
Mayor Khalil Harfouche expressed his happiness at participating in this educational sports day, emphasizing that the people of Jezzine deeply understand the pain and suffering felt by Syrians fromwar and forced migration over the years. He appreciated these tension-decreasing activities and kindly asked the Syrians to keep cooperating and stay calm in order to keep building peace between themselves and Jezzine’s local residents. In regards to the Lebanese, they were asked to keep treating Syrians as brothers and sisters with love and not demeaning their human dignity.
Lastly, Mayor Khalil Harfouche ended his speech by promising that the Jezzine municipality and all Jezzine’s unions are ready to engage in any future activities tackling conflict resolution in order to build peace between Syrians and Lebanese in Jezzine and elsewhere.