Under the patronage of Violette Khairallah Safadi, Minister of State for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth, Lebanon’s iconic statue of The Lady of Lebanon -Harissa has been lit up in magical blue to mark the World Autism Awareness Day.
This heartwarming ceremony was organized by the Autism Awareness Association Lebanon (AAA) to celebrate “World Autism Day” within the international yearly campaign Light It Up Blue.
“I Love Someone With Autism” was Lebanon’s loving theme for the event of the awareness campaign held by HE Mrs. Violette Khairallah Safadi.
The function was attended by prominent personalities and clergies siding Minister Violette Safadi and Mrs. Ghada Hayek Makhoul, President of Autism Awareness Association Lebanon.
Among the scores of concerned dignitaries who attended: Representative of HE Jebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign and Emigrants’ Affairs, and his Advisor for People with Disabilities Mr. Joe Rahhal; Father Yunan Obeid, President of the sanctuary of our Lady of Lebanon; Michel Fanyanos, President of the First Lady’s office; and Jean Hobeish, Head of Jounieh’s Municipality.
Before the lighting up of the sanctuary, Mrs Safadi proclaimed, “With love and hope, we light up together the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon in blue, using the words of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, stating that ‘To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members.'”
Mrs. Safadi continued, stressing on “the commitment of the Lebanese state to integrate people with autism in society, to give them an active role, and to secure their full rights materially and morally.”
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Her remarkable statement was followed by speeches delivered by various dignitaries, after which the majestic sanctuary was lit in blue. A cocktail event gathered the attendees right after.
Light It Up Blue is an annual awareness campaign that takes place worldwide on April 2 in support of both World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month. It is generally associated with Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization in the United States.
Autism is “a spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.” (Autism Speaks).
On April 2nd, most iconic effigies and buildings around the world seemed to stand up together for one cause of love and compassion, radiating all in blue light like in one united prayer to the heavens. From the White House and the Empire State Building in New York City to the Pyramids of Egypt, Dubai, Syria, and Abdu Dhabi, among many others.
Lebanon was one of them as Our Lady of Lebanon is one of its most iconic figures, perched on the top mountain of Harissa, overlooking the country’s coast and sea from Beirut to the Casino du Liban.
From her most celebrated sanctuary, Lebanon sent its Blue Light of love, compassion, and support to the Autistics in the homeland and around the world.