One more time, the Lebanese youth are proving their exceptional ability, not only to make a difference in their communities but also to influence the four corners of the world, wherever they happen to be... This impact doesn't exclude their beautiful homeland, as you'll see in a while!
On July 10, 2019, it was our own Said Bilani's turn to shine! This 21-year-old man, born in Saïda, South of Lebanon, and currently residing in Washington D.C., has just been appointed a Global Goodwill Ambassador.
That honorable well-earned appointment was awarded to Mr. Bilani by the GGA Organization, an affiliate of the UN Global Ambassadors Organization, for his humanitarian efforts and endeavors.
Mr. Bilani is the Principal Founder of The Bilani Foundation that comprises My College Guru Pre-Collegiate Mentorship Foundation, the Stand-Up to Arthritis Organization, and The Institute for Middle East Peace and Progress.
In addition to that, he is an active contributor to "The Cancer for College" Charity Foundation. Among his endeavors in that regard, he teamed up with actor Will Ferrell, who opened his home for that cause, and they together raised $27K worth of scholarships for 6 low-income, high-achieving cancer survivors.
In my communication with him, Mr. Bilani expressed a deep belief in his main life purpose as he dedicates himself to achieve its every goal. This young Lebanese man is sending us all a strong message by being who he is; a message of determination, perseverance, resilience, and mostly of hope in, and love to, humanity.
A philanthropist in action, his humanitarian work is now globally recognized. His Ambassadorship now extends to over 195 nations, regions, and territories around the world!
I share with you that during my conversation with him I couldn't miss noticing his vibrant energy, his commitment to his native country, and his loyalty to his mission in the world. Quite admirable!
In fact, Mr. Bilani informed me that his advocacy work is deeply entrenched in Lebanese causes that empower the youth and seek to build and sustain a peaceful, progressive, and prosperous homeland.
That important part of his endeavors for Lebanon, he undertakes it as the founder and president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Progress; a non-profit organization incorporated in the US District of Columbia. It is non-partisan, non-political, and non-sectarian.
In his words, "The Institute for Middle East Peace and Progress seeks to empower youth and the next generation of leaders in Lebanon through education by harnessing Lebanon’s attributes of tolerance and cross-cultural understanding, and by ensuring the country and region remain a bastion of progress and prosperity, thereby propelling the prospects of peace in the Middle East."
Mr. Bilani explained that the Institute seeks to play a critical role in Lebanon’s recovery and development, and it does so through educational, cultural, developmental, and humanitarian programs.
These programs, which include sponsorship and vis-a-vis exchange, aim at improving "the quality of life of Lebanon's underprivileged and underrepresented communities that would otherwise not be able to pursue higher education."
As per Mr. Bilani, the aim of the Institute also includes equipping young Lebanese with "the necessary requisites to build and sustain a peaceful, progressive, and prosperous homeland, all the while, contributing to the viability of the national and global development processes."
Asked how he feels about being bestowed this prestigious honor, Bilani replied,
“It’s a long time coming, and I’m honored for it, and will always treasure this recognition." He added, "In my advocacy work, I never strived for, nor envisioned, an honor of this grandeur. Rather, it was and still is about improving the quality of life of others."
Bilani's roles and nominations don't end here. He was also selected to join and represent The World Peace Advocacy Group, The Youth and Child Advocacy Group, The Educator’s Advocacy Group, The Refugee Advocacy Group, The Veteran Suicide Prevention Group, The Gender Parity/Women’s Rights Group, and The Women’s Empowerment Group.
We get to agree with Bilani's statement that “this notion that you can’t do good for your fellow people unless you’re an elected official is wrong, and is not a notion we should subscribe to.” He recognizes that our elected leaders are representatives of the people and are elected to serve their people.
In his words, "America was founded by a common people with a common mission (...) to achieve liberty and freedom, and if they were able to do that and (...) then we the people are capable of achieving anything we put our collective minds to."