Honorable guests and dear friends, It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the 16th Annual LeMSIC Gala Dinner, and as you are all now aware, the celebration of our 50th Anniversary. The importance of the Gala Dinner lies in many factors. On the one hand, it is the main fundraiser for LeMSIC’s Standing Committee on Professional Exchange, which provides for nearly 100 students every year to travel abroad for both an educational and cultural experience. On the other hand, it is also a chance for medical students to leave their books and pens aside, dress up, and come together on common ground. It is at the LeMSIC Gala where one’s alma mater does not define him, but rather he is defined by the mere fact that he chose medicine as a career to follow.
Tonight is a chance to commemorate the hard work of the LeMSIC members who made this event possible, as well as the doctors and professors who have supported and guided us through all of our endeavors. We are especially delighted to have with us Mr. Georges Khabbaz – world renowned actor and playwright – to grace us as our keynote speaker. Many thanks also go to our generous sponsors, without whose support this Gala would have never been possible. Lastly, to the LeMSIC members here tonight – new and old – this Gala is for he you. You are the foundation upon which this organization stands and upon which 50 years of excellence have been built. With the warmest wishes,
Honorable guests, doctors, faculty and colleagues, It is with great pride that we, co-Presidents of LeMSIC for the term of 2013-2014, address you together, and welcome you to our annual Gala dinner. As is the habit, this gala serves as a celebration of yet another LeMSIC term. However, this year’s celebration is special, since it marks our fiftieth year and the golden anniversary of our organization. Tonight, we celebrate fifty years of LeMSIC. Fifty years of shaping the physicians of tomorrow, of giving them a haven within which they can express them- selves, learn, work together and give back to their community. Tonight, we pay tribute to the organization that has stood firm against the test of time in a country where so much can change overnight. True, national turmoil and events took their toll on LeMSIC and severely affected its ability to function during the hardest years of the civil war, but LeMSIC reemerged and grew stronger than ever before. In just 15 years, we went from a handful of enthusiastic members to one of the strongest and most active National Mem-
ber Organizations of the IFMSA, with representatives of six Lebanese medical faculties. With this exponential expansion, LeMSIC has grown to be a family made of students from each of AUB, USJ, UOB, LAU, BAU & USEK. In fact, through the work of our six Standing Committees , any Lebanese medical student is given the opportunity to address a panoply of topics and issues including promoting research, setting up exchanges, catalyzing sexual education, protecting human rights, optimizing medical education and safeguarding public health. Our members are also invited to participate in regional and international trainings and meetings and have proven their leadership when it comes to redeeming the name of Lebanon and being ambassadors of our country. Of course, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the dedicated work of all those who invest their scarce free time in LeMSIC. It is the dedication of each and every one of LeMSIC’s members and officials that has kept it not only alive, but a growing organism.
Student members of LeMSIC, if we stand here today, it is because of you, and all of the members before you â€“ some of whom join us tonight as accomplished doctors. A special mention goes to every person who has helped LeMSIC along the way, should he or she be a Medical Doctor, a member of a faculty administration or a supportive external. You have provided the pillars on which we were able to build our organization, and through your belief in LeMSICâ€™s vision, you continue to provide us with the support we need. Tonight, it does not matter if you are still a student or not, if you study medicine, if your faculty is French or English or even where you come from. Tonight, we are all LeMSICles and all that matters is that we made it. Finally, on behalf of the Executive Board, we would like to thank each and every one of you for being a part of this joyous celebration and wish you an unforgettable night.
Born in November 1975 in the city of Batroun, North Lebanon, to a family of actors and artists, Georges Khabbaz has made a big name for himself, both nationally and internationally. His first appearance on stage came at age 14, when he took part in a school play about Saint Maron. Later on, Georges attended the Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), where he studied music and theater. Nowadays, after a very successful career, be it in film, theater or on TV, Georges also teaches theater at Université Saint Joseph (USJ). Among the many plays he wrote, directed, composed and starred in, Georges’s “Kezzeb Kbir” won the Best Play award at the Festival de Molière, Paris. Despite being more famous for his more comic roles, Georges is no stranger to drama! His role in “Under the Bombs” (2006) has earned him the Best Actor award at the Roterdam Festival. We are honored to have an icon like Georges share with us our night as keynote speaker!
The history of LeMSIC-SCOPE’s exchange program is as impressive as the history of IFMSA, itself. When the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations was created in 1951, the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange also came to life. At first, it consisted of only 8 European countries, but now encompasses nearly 100 nations across the globe. In 1964, Lebanon was proud to become one of those elite nations as LeMSIC was made an official member of IFMSA, and SCOPE an official part of LeMSIC’s organization. When asked what the main purpose of SCOPE is, the answer is simple; it is “to promote the cultural understanding and the cooperation among medical students and other health professionals, through international exchanges.” Since its creation in 1964, and through a civil war and years of political instability, LeMSIC-SCOPE has succeeded in meeting the mission statement set forth by the IFMSA as thousands of students in these past 50 years have traveled across the world for clinical clerkships. Yet, what these students have truly learned exceeds clinical knowledge.
They have learned how healthcare functions on a global level, how all medical students essentially face the same struggles. Additionally, they have taken the knowledge attained through these experiences and brought them back to their colleagues in Lebanon to share what they have learned. This year, however, is remarkable for LeMSIC SCOPE as nearly 100 Lebanese students will be traveling and over 110 foreigners will be making the voyage to Lebanon to see what makes our nation and students special. Yet, the successes of this exchange program would not be possible without the unwavering support from the medical universities across Lebanon. Thus, we extend our deepest gratitude to the American Univer- sity of Beirut Medical Center, Université Saint-Joseph – Hotel Dieu de France, University of Balamand – Saint Georges Hospital University Medical Center, Lebanese American University - University Medical Center – Rizk Hospital, and to our newest members the Beirut Arab University. Together, we have made LeMSIC-SCOPE GREAT!
The Lebanese Medical Students’ International Committee (LeMSIC) was established by a group of enthusiastic medical students in 1964. Soon after, it integrated the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and, as years passed, became a full National Member Organization (NMO). LeMSIC adopted IFMSA’s mission statement as one of its driving forces and, through various activities and events, it sought to expose medical students to and engage them in issues of public/global health, reproductive health, human rights & peace, and medical education. These topics became the basis to 4 out of the current 6 standing commitees LeMSIC is proud to have, the remaining two being involved in professional and research exchange programs. With the advance of turmoil and the civil war, activities were halted. Contact with IFMSA was re-established in 1995, when the efforts of two students secured Lebanon an observership at the General Assembly in South Africa. The following year,
Lebanon was able to host 4 exchange students, all while efforts continued to bring LeMSIC back to its former days. It wasn’t until 1997 that the first Executive Board in over 30 years was elected! It consisted of 8 members, supported by a total of only 15 active members, who were motivated enough to bring about LeMSIC’s first 3 major events: (1) the SCORA peer education workshop, which had about 100 participants; (2) the SCORA peer education program, which continues till this day; and (3) the first official LeMSIC SCOPE and SCORE Exchange Programs with 20 incomings. There is absolutely no doubt that 1997 was a turning point for LeMSIC. More and more motivated students joined, activities grew bigger and more successful, and on the international stage, LeMSIC’s star started to shine brighter and brighter! LeMSIC’s own Michel TORBEY became Editor in Chief of IFMSA’s official magazine (1997), Amer KARAM became the Director on human Rights & Peace (1999), Fatima ODEYMAT became the Director on Research Exchange (2003),
Jad KHALIFE became the Director on Public Health (2006), Samer ABI CHAKER became the Director on Reproductive health including HIV/AIDS (2007), Sleiman HADDAD became the Director on Professional Exchange (2008), Melhim BOU ALWAN became President (2008), Katia EL KHOURY became the Training Support Division Director (2010), Caline MATTAR became Vice-President for Internal Affairs MA (2010), and Joe CHERABIE became the Director on Reproductive health including HIV/AIDS (2013), not to mention all of the Regional Coordinators for the EMR and all the different standing committee Regional Assistants! In more recent years and on a more national level, LeMSIC has expanded from just one to 6 different local committees across the American University of Beirut (AUB), Université Saint Joseph (USJ), University of Balamand (UOB), Lebanese American University (LAU), Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK) and the Beirut Arab University (BAU)!
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