The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, met with the founder of the Lebanese National Theater, actor and director Kassem Istanbouli in the city of Tyre, as part of his meetings with the civil society organizations in the South, in the presence of the UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Office. Istanbouli spoke to the Secretary-General about the youth situation and the cultural movement in Lebanon, the project of Tiro Association for Arts, and the Arab Culture and Arts Network (ACAN); which works on reopening free and independent cultural platforms in Lebanon. This is in addition to the importance of international institutions' support for Lebanon and the youth, precisely in light of the difficult circumstances the country is undergoing.
At the end of the meeting, Istanbouli handed the Secretary-General an old movie poster, thanking his constant support for Lebanon and hoping for advancing the country for the youth to make change through cultural resistance, leading to the intellectual revolution and the rise of Lebanon defying its ordeal, to return to the ‘Switzerland of the Middle East’ and the cultural and artistic world’s lighthouse, and for the youth to stay in their homeland to achieve their dreams. Istanbouli recently won the Intercultural Achievement Award (IAA) in Vienna for the year 2021.