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Beirut is not alone in its 'catastrophe' — Prince Hassan

By JT - Aug 10,2020 - Last updated at Aug 10,2020

AMMAN — HRH Prince Hassan, president of the Arab Thought Forum, on Monday said that “Beirut should not be left alone in its nakbeh [catastrophe]” in the aftermath of a massive explosion that shook the Lebanese capital.

Addressing a virtual conference titled "Citizenship incubating diversity in the Arab domain: Problem and solution,” the prince said that “the tragedy offers an opportunity to further the national interest”, according to a statement from the prince’s office.

The conference witnessed the participation of political and academic figures, in addition to representatives of regional, international organisations and Arab civil society organisations and the media. 

Prince Hassan noted that disasters “do not differentiate between international and national dimensions, or between citizens, residents and refugees, noting that everyone is at risk of the consequences of disasters”.

The “sole solution” to get out of any crisis begins from awareness, solidarity and a holistic approach that includes everyone without discrimination, while human dignity must be the supreme goal”, he said.

The prince also called for strengthening the principles of cooperation and integration among regional countries.

Noting that no single country can single handedly face mega-challenges, the prince stressed that “we need to employ the knowledge base and data to face crises and anticipate future scenarios”.

“We need a comprehensive information system for our Arab East, one that is consistent with its priorities, and then create a scientific climate to achieve this end and issue documented information on various issues,” he said. 

The prince called for establishing general rules that exclude any exclusion, putting issues related to coexistence, equal citizenship, respect for human rights, collective and sub-identities and cultural specificity at the forefront of priorities.

Secretary General of the Arab Thought Forum Muhammad Abu Hammour said that citizenship is an “extension of a forward-looking path”, highlighting the role of thought and culture in correcting distorted concepts to enhance the natural development of the collective identity.

Mostafa El Feki, director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina and former diplomat and parliamentarian, highlighted the importance of discussing citizenship-related issues with a focus on division, religious, sectarian and ethnic fragmentation in Arab societies.       

Nayla Tabbara, director of the Institute of Citizenship and Diversity Management at Adyan Foundation in Lebanon, said that citizenship means equal and decent life for all members of society, recognising their diversity.

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