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Transcript of Lovely Lebanon
Let's Learn Lebanon!
A country so small and miniature, you can't even see it on the world map or the globe. A country big with history spanning as much as 3000 years ago. This is exactly what Lebanon is, a country located in the Middle East, near Israel, Jordan, Syria and the 'Ancient' Egypt.
The population of Lebanon was estimated to be 4,125,247 in July 2010, however no official census has been taken since 1932 due to the sensitive confessional political balance between Lebanon's various religious groups. Identifying all Lebanese as ethnically Arab is a widely employed example of panethnicity since in reality, the Lebanese “are descended from many different peoples who have occupied, invaded, or settled this corner of the world,” making Lebanon, “a mosaic of closely interrelated cultures”. While at first glance, this ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity might seem to cause civil and political unrest, “for much of Lebanon’s history this multitudinous diversity of religious communities has coexisted with little conflict”.
Lebanon has witnessed a series of migration waves: over 1,500,000 people emigrated from the country in the 1975–2011 period. Millions of people of Lebanese descent are spread throughout the world, mostly Christians, especially in Latin America. Brazil has the largest expatriate population. Large numbers of Lebanese migrated to West Africa, particularly to the Ivory Coast (home to over 100,000 Lebanese) and Senegal (roughly 30,000 Lebanese). Surprisingly, Australia is home to over 270,000 Lebanese.
Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the population is 59.7% Muslim and 39% Christian, with other religions and non-believers accounting for the remaining 1.3%. A study conducted by the Lebanese Information Center and based on voter registration numbers shows that by 2011 the Christian population fell to 34.35%, while the Muslims rose to 65.47%.
Over the past 60 years, there has been a steady decline in the ratio of Christians to Muslims, due to higher emigration rates of Christians, and a higher birth rate in the Muslim population. When the last census was held in 1932, Christians made up 53% of Lebanon's population. In 1956 it was estimated that the population was 54% Christian and 44% Muslim.
Arabic is the official national language. The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% "partial francophone," and 70% of Lebanon's secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon's secondary schools. 20% of the population used French on a daily basis. The use of Arabic by Lebanon's educated youth is declining, as they prefer to speak in French and English.
English is increasingly used in science and business interactions. As of 2007 the presence of English in Lebanon has increased.
Listed by the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Information Technology Report, Lebanon has been ranked globally as the fifth best country for math and science education, and as the tenth best overall for quality of education. In quality of management schools, the country was ranked 13th worldwide.
The United Nations assigned Lebanon an education index of 0.871 in 2008. The index, which is determined by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio, ranked the country 88th out of the 177 countries participating.
All Lebanese schools are required to follow a prescribed curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education. Some of the 1400 private schools offer IB programs, and may also add more courses to their curriculum with approval from the Ministry of Education. The first eight years of education are, by law, compulsory.
Lebanon has forty-one nationally accredited universities, several of which are internationally recognized. The American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) were the first Anglophone and the first Francophone universities to open in Lebanon, respectively.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities's Excellence Rank, the top-ranking universities in the country are the American University of Beirut, Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth, American University of Science and Technology, and the Lebanese American University.
A demographic study conducted by the research firm Statistics Lebanon found that approximately 27% of the population was Sunni, 27% Shi'a, 21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Druze, and 5% Greek Catholic, with the remaining 7% mostly belonging to smaller Christian denominations.
The Shi'a community primarily resides in South Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.
Sunni residents primarily live in West Beirut, the southern coast of Lebanon, and northern Lebanon. Kurds in Lebanon are Sunni Muslims.
Maronite residents tend to live in East Beirut and the mountains of Lebanon. They are the largest Christian community in Lebanon.
The Greek Orthodox primarily live in Koura, Beirut, Zahleh, Rachaya, Matn, Aley, Akkar, Tripoli, Hasbaya and Marjeyoun.
In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 7.03% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 31.29 physicians and 19.71 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 72.59 years in 2011, or 70.48 years for males and 74.80 years for females.
By the end of the civil war, only one third of the country’s public hospitals were operational, each with an average of only 20 beds. By 2009 the country had 28 public hospitals, with a total of 2,550 beds. At public hospitals, hospitalized uninsured patients pay 5% of the bill, in comparison with 15% in private hospitals, with the Ministry of Public Health reimbursing the remainder. The Ministry of Public Health contracts with 138 private hospitals and 25 public hospitals.
In 2011, there were 236,643 subsidized admissions to hospitals; 164,244 in private hospitals, and 72,399 in public hospitals. More patients visit private hospitals than public hospitals, because the private beds supply is higher.
The culture of Lebanon is the cross culture of various civilizations over thousands of years. Originally home to the Phoenicians, and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing from all of these groups. Lebanon's diverse population, composed of different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed to the country's festivals, musical styles and literature as well as cuisine.
Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity of the Lebanese, they “share an almost common culture”. Lebanese Arabic is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted “in wider Mediterranean and Levantine norms”.
The Music of Lebanon is pervasive in Lebanese society. While traditional folk music remains popular in Lebanon, modern music reconciling Western and traditional Arabic styles, pop, and fusion are rapidly advancing in popularity. Radio stations feature a variety of music, including traditional Lebanese, classical Arabic, Armenian and modern French, English, American, and Latin tunes.
Music festivals, often hosted at historical sites, are a customary element of Lebanese culture. Among the most famous are Baalbeck International Festival, Byblos International Festival, Beiteddine International Festival, Broumana Festival, Batroun Festival, Dhour Chwer Festival and Tyr Festival. These festivals are promoted by Lebanon's Ministry of Tourism. Lebanon hosts about 15 concerts from international performers each year, ranking 1st for nightlife in the Middle East, and 6th worldwide.
Moustafa Farroukh was one of Lebanon's most prominent painters of the 20th century. Formally trained in Rome and Paris, he exhibited in venues from Paris to New York to Beirut over his career. Many more contemporary artists are currently active, such as Walid Raad, a contemporary media artist currently residing in New York.
Khalil Gibran is particularly known for his book The Prophet (1923), which has been translated into more than twenty different languages. Several contemporary Lebanese writers have also achieved international success; including Elias Khoury, Amin Maalouf, Hanan al-Shaykh, and Georges Schehadé.
Photography and Imaging
In the field of photography, the Arab Image Foundation has a collection of +400,000 photographs from Lebanon and the Middle East. The photographs can be viewed in a research center and various events and publications have been produced in Lebanon and worldwide to promote the collection.
Cinema and Film
Cinema of Lebanon, according to film critic and historian, Roy Armes, was the only other cinema in the Arabic-speaking region, beside Egypt's, that could amount to a national cinema. Cinema in Lebanon has been in existence since the 1920s, and the country has produced over 500 films.
The Media of Lebanon is not only a regional center of production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world. According to Press freedom's Reporters Without Borders, "the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country". Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is "at the core of a regional media network with global implications".
Lebanon has six ski resorts. Because of Lebanon's unique geography, it is possible to go skiing in the morning and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon. At the competitive level, basketball and football are among Lebanon’s most popular sports. Canoeing, cycling, rafting, climbing, swimming, sailing and caving are among the other common leisure sports in Lebanon. The Beirut Marathon is held every fall, drawing top runners from Lebanon and abroad.
Rugby league is a relatively new but growing sport in Lebanon. The Lebanon national rugby league team participated in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and narrowly missed qualification for the 2008 and 2013 tournaments. Lebanon also took part in the 2009 European Cup where, after narrowly failing to qualify for the final, the team defeated Ireland to finish 3rd in the tournament.
Lebanon also participates in Basketball. The Lebanese National Team qualified for the FIBA World Championship 3 times in a row. Dominant Basketball teams in Lebanon are Sporting Al Riyadi Beirut, who are the current Arab and Asian champions, Club Sagesse who were able to earn the Asian and Arab championships before. Fadi El Khatib is the most decorated player in the Lebanese National Basketball League.
Football is also one of the more popular sports in the country with the Lebanese Premier League with its most successful clubs being Al-Ansar Club and Nejmeh SC with notable players being Roda Antar and Youssef Mohamad, the first Arab to captain a European premier league team.
Other Sporty info...
In recent years, Lebanon has hosted the AFC Asian Cup and the Pan Arab Games. Lebanon hosted the 2009 Jeux de la Francophonie from 27 September to 6 October, and have participated in every Olympic Games since its independence, winning a total of four medals.
Prominent Lebanese bodybuilders include Samir Bannout, Mohammad Bannout and Ahmad Haidar.
Festivals and Holidays
Lebanon celebrates national and both Christian and Muslim holidays. Christian holidays are celebrated following both the Gregorian Calendar and Julian Calendar. Greek Orthodox (with the exception of Easter), Catholics, Protestant, and Melkite Christians follow the Gregorian Calendar and thus celebrate Christmas on 25 December. Armenian Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 6 January, as they follow the Julian Calendar. Muslim holidays are followed based on the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslim holidays that are celebrated include Eid al-Fitr (the three-day feast at the end of the Ramadan month), Eid al-Adha (The Feast of the Sacrifice) which is celebrated during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and also celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to God,the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, and Ashura (the Shiite Day of Mourning). Lebanon's National Holidays include Workers Day, Independence day, and Martyrs Day.
In Lebanon, cold 'Mezzeh' is usually served to the customers at the beginning of their meal. It offers so much variety and flavor. The waiters don't serve the main course until the customers finish all their 'Mezzeh'. Not for the impatient!
A map of Lebanon (detailed, English)
Map of Lebanon (Arabik!)
This popular mixed grill consists of grilled chicken, flame grilled beef or lamb (depending on the liking) and Kafta, which is minced meat mixed with chopped parsley, onion, salt & pepper.
Baklava on a tray, ready to be served
Assorted Baklava, ranging from peanut to pistachio fillings
Mouhalabieh, another fabulous dessert. Smells a little bit bad, in my opinion. :)
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I hope you enjoyed this presentation! And in some way, I have shed a bit of light on such a small piece of the world, yet so rich in every sense of the way.
Salam! (Thanks for watching and enjoy the food!)