LABSC Spring Newsletter 2014

As we “spring” forward into summer, we at LABSC hope that you have enjoyed the first half of this year. Our sister city program has been reaping the fruits of our labor with numerous activities that continue to blossom and grow. Our community involvement, cultural and student exchanges, and other collaborative efforts have kept this hard-working team of board members vigilant and vibrant.

This newsletter will highlight several important achievements and future projects, including Save-the-Date for our Annual Gala. Please join us on November 7, 2014 as we honor LA Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Middle East Airlines, USA Manager Adeeb Kassis.

Your contribution and support are crucial to our mission of fostering goodwill between the cities of Los Angeles and Beirut.

Dr. Joanna Medawar Nachef, President

LA Art Show 2014

Wednesday, January 15th was the Opening Premiere for the exquisite LA Art Show at the Convention Center. This year, the cities of Bordeaux & LA celebrated their 50th anniversary with a special party where Mayor Garcetti recognized Council-member Tom LaBonge for his service as chairman of the Sister Cities of LA. Our magnanimous board member, Talal Baydoun, under-wrote the cost of our participation at this important sister-city event.

Luncheon with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell

In March, our current Treasurer, Amira Matar, organized a very successful and productive luncheon with LA Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. With the attendance of Consul General of Lebanon, Johnny Ibrahim, board members from the House of Lebanon and LA Beirut Sister Cities congratulated Councilmember O’Farrell on his success as an elected official. Mitch O’Farrell is a big supporter of and was most instrumental in the twinning of LA and Beirut in 2006, while he served as legislative deputy for LA City Council President, Eric Garcetti, at the time.

IVCLA/LABSC/HOL Co-sponsored receptions for two delegations from Lebanese Universities

The First Co-Sponsored Reception with LABSC on April, 4th

Our Board Member Janet Elliott, who also serves as the Executive Director of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, offered us the opportunity to co-host two receptions for a group of managers from five Lebanese universities. The first reception was held at our board member, Ferris Wehbe’s Next Door Lounge in Hollywood. The members of Lebanese delegation were participants in a USAID-sponsored program for Lebanese universities, focusing on monitoring, evaluation and research for Universities”. The honorable Johnny Ibrahim and his lovely wife Maya attended the event along with Superior Court Judge, the honorable Jimmy Kaddo, the LABSC and IVCLA board members.

The Second reception was co-sponsored by LABSC and House of Lebanon.

International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, LABSC and House of Lebanon held a reception at House of Lebanon’s Cultural Center on May 7th for participants in a USAID-sponsored program for Higher Education in Lebanon. This group was here to discuss Human Resources for universities. Those who attended the reception said it was a great opportunity to showcase LABSC to IVCLA members who are not part of the Lebanese community. It also introduced non-Lebanese guests to the House of Lebanon Cultural Center. Lebanese participants truly enjoyed learning about the great work the Lebanese community is doing in Los Angeles.


LABSC co-sponsored the Antonine University Choir’s visit to LA. Dr. Joanna Nachef invited, designed and coordinated a rich itinerary which included a performance at the LA City Hall Rotunda on Friday April 11th, an official introduction by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell during the City Council General Meeting and a certificate presentation to Fr. Toufic Maatouk and the choir. Our board member, Ara Kalfayan, and owner of Phoenicia Restaurant, hosted the choir with a lovely reception and a delectable feast after the City Hall performance. The Chorale then gave a moving concert at Our Lady of Mount Lebanon Cathedral in Beverly Hills, where they were warmly received by the Lebanese community.

The choir had the wonderful opportunity to visit the dress rehearsal of the Chamber Singers at the University of Southern California, where they were invited to sing a few Lebanese songs. Another unique experience was their attendance at the prestigious Los Angeles Master Chorale rehearsal.

On Sunday, April 13th, they gave a historic performance at EL Camino Comuunity College with Rutter’s “Mass of the Children” and Pergolesi’ “Stabat Mater”. Three American Choirs (El Camino Chorale, Los Cancioneros Master Chorale, and the South Bay Children’s Choir) and the Lebanese choir joined forces with a professional orchestra, under the batons of Dr. Joanna Medawar Nachef and Fr. Toufic Maatouk. The Antonine Choir was then featured in the second half with music from the Lebanese culture as well as classical pieces. The audience expressed their deep appreciation with unending standing-ovations.

These cultural exchanges demonstrate the importance of the “universal language” of music that bridges people of all cultures, ages, and walks of life.

Sister Cities of Los Angeles, General Meeting: June 5, 2014

On June 5, 2014, Tom Gilmore, the new President of Sister Cities of Los Angeles, program director Kamilla Blanche, and Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District, Chairman of Sister Cities of Los Angeles, collectively invited the Sister Cities to attend this gathering. Mr. Gilmore shared his new vision for this organization, introduced the new board members, which includes our LABSC president, Dr. Nachef, and inspired the committees to work closely together to strength our ties and presence in LA.

Arab Film Festival

Board member, Camille Alick, who has previously served on the Arab Film Festival board, is taking the lead on the upcoming premiere of the Lebanese Film “West Beirut”. The Screening will take place on Saturday, June 21st at 7:30pm at the Bing Theater. For more information, please follow the link:

Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Student-Exchange Project

Our board members, Dr. Lina Kreidie (UCI and AUB Professor) and Mr. Ayman Jabbouri (CSUN and LA City Engineer) have co-led the upcoming Student-Exchange and Engineering Internship Program selection process of four Lebanese University students from three institutions, AUB, LAU, and Balamand University. LABSC will host four engineering students from Beirut this fall to allow them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in city engineering projects as well as participation in a conference on Civic Engagement and Interfaith Tolerance.


2014 LABSC Annual Gala

“Gatsby’s Night in All White”
Los Angeles Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell
MEA USA Manager Adeen Kassis
Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
6:30pm Reception
7:30pm GALA

Taglyan Center
1201 Vine St.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

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