In an effort to broaden bilateral ties in all fields between his country and Mexico, Lebanese Ambassador Hicham Hamdan and his government will be organizing an extensive Lebanese Week at the World Trade Center from Sept. 5 through 11 of this year.
And CAPITAL MEDIA, which is The News’ parent company and is owned and operated by the Anuar Maccise family, will be playing an active role in both promoting the event and fostering other activities to help draw attention to this unprecedented week.
Recently, The News executive director Alejandro Maccise met with Hamdan at the Lebanese Embassy in Colonia Polanco to discuss preliminary plans for the week and CAPITAL MEDIA’s contribution.
“We believe that Mexico is working hard to expand its ties with the Arab World and the Arab World is working to strengthen its relationship with Mexico,” Hamdan told Maccise in a tête-à-tête conversation over coffee.
“So it is high time for everyone to take a stand to help and support this effort, both on the Arab side and the Mexican side.”
Hamdan went on to say that the 500,000-strong Lebanese-Mexican community, which comprises the second-largest ethnic subculture in the country (second only to the Spanish-Mexican community) can play a key role in fostering two-way ties.
“I would like to call on members of the Lebanese-Mexican community to show their gratitude and appreciation for Mexico for all that this country has done for their forefathers here,” the envoy said.
Many Lebanese immigrants came to Mexico starting in the 1870s and they and their descendants have played an important role in Mexican cultural, economic and political development.
In fact, the Lebanese-Mexican community currently contributes about 10 percent of the Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“I think right now the community can serve as a bridge between the two countries and play a more active role politically, culturally and so on,” Hamdan said.
Hamdan also said that the international world desperately needs the involvement of Mexico to help support Lebanon’s efforts to promote social and political peace within its region.
“The world needs Mexico to be one of the leaders in pushing forward a new world economic and political system,” he said.
“As a member of the G-20 and with a prominent role in Latin America, Mexico can really help to make a difference in the world.”
Hamdan also said that the recent visit of President Enrique Peña Nieto to the Persian Gulf states of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which focused on economic and energy issues, had helped to set in motion a new impetus for cooperation between Mexico and the Arab World.
During that five-day visit, more than 50 accords were signed regarding bilateral economic, commercial and technological cooperation.
But Hamdan said that the objective of the multidisciplinary Lebanese Week, which will include the presence of at least 40 important Lebanese political movers and shakers and leading entrepreneurs, will be to encourage exchange in other sectors, including culture, tourism, education and healthcare.
Hamdan said he was particularly interested in seeing Lebanese banks open offices here, which he said could help lay the groundwork for joint-venture investment projects.
He added that he hoped the delegation would be led by Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam or a high-ranking member of his cabinet, but stressed that these details were still being ironed out.
Hamdan likewise said that he would like to see greater interchange between Lebanon and Mexico in the fields of communication, which would help Mexicans to have a more realistic view of what is happening in the Arab World and for the Lebanese people to better understand Mexico.
He said that this information would, in turn, allow potential investors and merchants to be able to find new markets.
For his part, Maccise told Hamdan that CAPITAL MEDIA was very interested in being involved in the Lebanese Week and would certainly do its part to help make the event a major success.
“You can count on CAPITAL MEDIA to help in any way we can,” Maccise said.
“We recognize how important this week will be in broadening bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding, and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Hamdan thanked Maccise for his visit and support and said that he was honored by the company’s commitment to involvement in this crucial event.