Undertaking a TCP on the EMBA programme is an opportunity for students to travel and experience other cultures. Before starting group work on the eyeWit streaming platform in Beirut, Cristina Savian visited an exhibition that documented the city’s recovery from war.
The experience was very enlightening and enriching at the same time. My last visit to the Middle East was in Jordan in 2005. I was once again overwhelmed by the unique scenery, the sounds, the atmosphere, the smell and the warmth of the people. Let us not forget the amazing Lebanese food!
One thing that immediately struck my attention was the co-existence of the old and the new Beirut. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the city emerges renewed after apparent disaster and destruction. Beirut is still slowly recovering from the war. It was impossible not to notice the contrast between dilapidated buildings, and large multi-million dollar ones.
I was the first to arrive and Nada from my team took some time to show me around the city. We visited the Beit Beirut Museum and Urban Cultural Centre. Beit Beirut was hosting an exhibition by Zeina El Khalil, called Sacred Catastrophe: Healing Lebanon. It was a fascinating, enriching and unexpected emotional experience. The building, pockmarked and riddled with bullet holes, was a demarcation line that bisected Beirut into warring sections: east and west, Muslim and Christian. It provided a unique setting for the artist to present a message of peace, love and tolerance in Beirut. It was impossible not to be emotionally moved by the sounds, videos and photos that accompanied the exhibition, and was a reminder that the healing process must continue with Love and Peace.