Addressing participants, Baroudi voiced hope for further cultural, social, sport and economic development initiatives between the two countries.
Also in attendance at the three-day high profile inauguration ceremony was the French Ambassador Bruno Foucher, Bsharri MP Setrida Geagea, a number of Lebanese political leaders, and the respective mayors of the two municipalities.
Mayor Bauer, who later met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, elaborated on the mutual benefits that the program can bring to both Bsharri and Val d’Isère.
Last June, ten Lebanese athletes were invited for a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to train and ski in Val d’Isère. This June, the program’s success tripled that number with 30 more scheduled to travel to the French nation soon.
The cultural exchange program aims to build bridges for French and Lebanese youth that want to experience the unique cultural relationship and similarities the two countries possess.
Val d’Isère is a 1,800 m (5,900 ft) -high ski town in the French Alps, near the Italian border. It is located in the Savoie region, with ample ski slopes and close connections to Lyon, Geneva, and Chambéry.
In addition to holding the only remaining and preserved Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani), it is also the birthplace of our most famous poet, painter, and sculptor Gibran Khalil Gibran. His museum in his hometown honors him and his many outstanding works.
The Bsharri district is also the site of the Levant’s highest peak, Qornet El-Sawda, (the Black Peak) as well as the touristic and spiritual retreat of the awe-striking Qadisha Valley (featured in a previous article).