Lebanon once again proves that it is a country of cultural diversity and a bridge between cultures. On April 4, the Asian Food Festival was held under the patronage of the Lebanese University, in the presence of the President of the University, Prof. Fouad Ayoub and the Ambassadors of the participating Asian countries.
The tears of joy and pride will fill your eyes when you learn about the cultures of these peaceful and modest countries. These countries have long loved Lebanon and Lebanon's relationship with them has always been distinctive. Asia is a continent rich in ancient civilizations, generosity and good heart, and that is what you will feel if you are in any of the Asian countries.
The Chinese dragon was present at this festival; the Indian spices were in the air; the Sri Lankan tea would revive your stomach; you will love delicious Indonesian food; from Japan to Beirut, some of the foods you will like are prepared; you will not forget the taste of Bangladeshi food known for its quality and exquisite taste; Pakistani cuisine, which I love was also present.; Australia, which has long been a destination for tourists to taste its delicious cuisine, this time the Australian cuisine is present in Beirut, Korean food was excellent; if you are a lover of fresh seafood, the Philippines has also been here to enjoy some of its food; Malaysian cuisine was the star of the festival because it was the most delicious.
The festival was not just to display the food in each country. Some Asian crafts were presented with dance performances featuring the culture and heritage of the participating Asian countries. When you attend this festival, you do not need to speak Asian languages. It is enough to carry with you a beautiful heart and a sincere smile, and most importantly, enjoy the food and the cultural performances.
Ambassadors and representatives of 11 countries - Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka - attended the event with the participation of diplomatic and social figures. Australian Ambassador to Lebanon Mrs. Rebekah Grindlay delivered a speech on behalf of the participating diplomatic delegations, stressing the humanitarian, cultural and economic ties between Asian countries and Lebanon.
President Ayoub said that this rich and diverse festival has its dimensions that reflect multiple meanings in more than one way. It is proof of the link between our country and these ancient countries and the mutual trust that characterizes the relationship between Lebanon and the Asian countries. He stressed the importance of the National University, which has in all countries graduates have been able to prove their scientific skills in their practical performance, which helped to close the distances and encourage gain more knowledge. President Ayoub added that this exhibition opens the door to the Lebanese citizens to know, even relatively, some of the handicraft, heritage, art and food industries, with the aim of cultural rapprochement and knowledge exchange, which is no less important than scientific and intellectual exchange. It also contributes to strengthening the framework of human, social and cultural relations.
Based on my personal experience and my Asian experience, I can proudly say that Asian peoples are the best because they still maintain their customs, traditions, good heart, and humility in dealing with others. This initiative brings us hope in Lebanon and I hope to see more of these civilizational initiatives in the future.
We have to strengthen our relations with these countries because they are friendly and peaceful countries and Lebanon is also similar to them. We are distinguished by our ancient Phoenician civilization, customs and traditions, our delicious cuisine and Lebanon is a tourist country.
* Mohamad Zreik is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Politics and International Studies (SPIS), Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Hubei, China. His research focuses on the One Belt One Road initiative and the Chinese presence in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon.