A Culture & Healing Center
Beit el Fouad
The new project Culture and Healing Center presents itself as the crowning achievement of Evelyne Accad, President of Beit el Fouad Foundation. As Professor Emerita of the University of Illinois and of the Lebanese American University, a writer engaged for peace, justice, and women’s rights, the Lebanese-Swiss-American artist has never stopped working for a wholesome society. Friendship, tolerance, generosity, gentleness, unity, and fraternity are, in her eyes, keys to the freedom of Lebanon and its enlightenment.
In 2008, Evelyne Accad and her sister Jacqueline Hajjar founded The House of Tenderness (Beit el Hanane), an association to which the writer has moreover devoted a collection of short stories published by L’Harmattan, in 2021. With Beit el Fouad, Evelyne Accad intends to dynamically pursue her quest of a nation purified of the nuisances that corrode citizen harmony: the cessation of violence certainly requires testimony, but mainly action, condition sine qua non of change, more so, transformation. It is therefore important to denounce the social abuse by working in the field, through an anthology of cultural, artistic, and healing ways. The Journey to Equality and Homeostasis takes on a new name from the pen of the author: « Femi-humanism ». In her essay Women, Men and War. Fiction and Reality at Middle East – winner of the France-Lebanon prize from ADELF in 1994, the writer explains her pacifist vision: « […] This is how a new movement is conceptualized associating a “(femi)humanism” (I use this expression in preference to feminism, because men and women must work together for things change) with a reformed nationalism, rid of male chauvinism, war, and violence. » (1993, 41).
It is in this conciliatory perspective that the humanist mission of Beit el Fouad fits: targeting the healing of many traumas – related to war, family, exile, environment, pandemic, inflation, etc. – through culture and therapy (writing, theatre, reading, music, singing, painting, engraving, circus activities, physical and spiritual exercises, coaching, cooking, gardening, etc.). It is also a question of revivifying and polishing the rhizomes of the country of Cedar, by giving hope to citizens, certainly resilient, but bruised by so many years of war and chaos. They will be able to benefit from means to rejuvenate in Beit el Fouad, a Center that puts balm to the heart. Artistic, cultural, and ecological, Beit el Fouad is conceived above all as a space of union and tranquility between the communities; it invites participation through various workshops, seminars, exhibitions, concerts, plays, cine-clubs and other formative activities. Moreover, a library room, music, dance, psychotherapy, physiotherapy spaces, etc. will be accessible to the public. Filled with compassionate understanding, such an environment hopes to reflect on the individual, as a whole being in its vital role for society. Beit el Fouad is thus at the antipodes of political sectarianism and any system of coercion that generate inter-community religious conflicts, segregation and corruption.
Furthermore, the restoration of a house in the locality of Achrafieh, in memory of the port of Beirut explosion’s victims, symbolizes resistance to the evils that beset the Lebanese. Encouraging (re)creation prevents destruction. Under the aegis of multidisciplinarity, many founding projects are designed in collaboration with institutions, artists, creators, and thinkers from Lebanon and around the world. Committed since 1965 to several academic, cultural, and social networks, Evelyne Accad relies on the support of several organizations, in addition to embassies. Eager to put heart in her project, the Founder of the Beit el Fouad Foundation wishes to continue her quest, despite the stumbling blocks of life, and this, with the association of humanitarian organizations who try – just like her – to build bridges of hope towards a Horizon of Light.
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