This beautiful little school opened its doors on September 5, 2016. It offers curriculum from pre-school and kindergarten all the way up to high school. Students have classes in Arabic, Portuguese, French, and English - and get this, their Diploma is also valid in Lebanon just as any other Lebanese school!
The Consulate General of Lebanon in Rio de Janeiro opened the Lebanese School "Escola Libanesa Brasileira" to serve as a multilingual educational institution set to operate at the Consulate's very own premises in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The idea behind the creation of the school originally came from Lebanon's Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, himself, H. E. Ziad Itani. In a public statement, he said, “We wanted to offer the community the opportunity to learn Arabic and the Lebanese culture. Many people in the Lebanese community wanted us to have cultural institutions. I realized that we needed to preserve the culture and language."
According to Consul Itani, aside from the school's obvious function, which is to offer educational facilities for the children of the Lebanese community in Rio, it will further catalyze (and make easier) the possibility for these students to continue their studies in Lebanon later on without any obstacles in the areas of curriculum, equivalencies, and language barriers.
The curriculum of the Lebanese School in Rio has been approved by both the Lebanese and Brazilian Ministries of Education and Higher Education. Moving from this point, unlike other international students who require equivalencies to their internationally obtained diplomas, these students' diplomas will be automatically validated and immediately allow them to enroll at the Lebanese University of their choice.
Katia Challita, the Director of the School's Arabic Department, has publically said, “Arabic begins at the first level of our students' education. We want the kids to listen to stories, to talk during recess. Up to nine or ten years old, children have an enormous ability for language."
Initially, the facilities did exist on the premises of the Lebanese Consulate but have since expanded to a new two-story building complete with more outdoor areas and facilities for the students. The new building also boasts a public library, an IT lab, a science lab, and dormitories for international and visiting teachers.
According to its official website, the Lebanese School has all the features of an international school, highlighting that, at the end of high school, the student will be equipped in four languages, and will be able to study pretty much anywhere they please around the world.
Interestingly, and since the school prides itself on being both a Lebanese and Brazilian academic institution, the Lebanese School has two principals: One who manages the Lebanese Curriculum and another who manages the Brazilian one, each maintaining the standards and compliances that each curriculum requires.
Katia Challita oversees the Lebanese curriculum. She completed her B.A. in Language at Rio de Janeiro's Pontifical Catholic University and is a former coordinator of the Language Department in the same university. She also serves as Vice-President of the Brazil-Lebanon Culture Institute.
In parallel, Roberto Habib oversees the school's Brazilian curriculum. Mr. Habib completed his B.A. in Education and School Management and is the former Principal of Colégio Pedro II, a popular school in Rio de Janeiro.
The school also has a Pedagogical Coordinator, Ms. Muna Omran, who holds a Doctorate in Literary History and Theory and is also a Professor at the Fluminense Federal University.
Lebanon and Brazil have long had strong ties in the areas of education, with the Embassy of Brazil in Beirut annually hosting the Brazil-Lebanon Meeting of University Representatives.