Beirut, December 28th 2020

Dear fellow alumni and members of the wider IC community,

As this traumatic year comes to an end, I thought I would reach out to you with seasons’ greetings, wishes for a better year ahead and an update on the ICAA and its initiatives.

2020 has been a painful year for many of us individually and has definitely been so for all of us collectively. I trust we all agree that the blessing of having IC friends in our lives has helped mend our wounds and rekindle our hope in better days ahead.

When the current ICAA board was elected in spring 2018 we promised ourselves to work diligently towards one main high‐ level objective: “Empower the IC spirit so that Lebanon may remain home”. This was a tall order indeed. In retrospect, we were probably naïve to have believed that this was possible given how the country was being managed and who was managing it. Ironically, two and half years later many of us (myself included) have been forced to leave the country. To the despair of those who despise the Lebanon we dream of, the roots IC planted for us in Lebanon remain deep and strong. And while some of us may not be able to live in Lebanon for the foreseeable future, Lebanon will always remain home.

Naïve or not, we are somewhat comforted by the many successful initiatives we engaged in during the past two and a half years:

  • The ICAA scholarship program which currently supports the university tuition of 12 exceptional IC alumni and provides them with mentorship and career planning support

  • The brain bites sessions we organized to keep IC alumni informed, engaged and impactful members of society

  • The contribution to the IC board of trustees and to putting scholarships center stage in the school’s strategic plan again

  • The ICAA Connect platform we invested in to help keep alumni digitally connected and accessible

  • As well as the many social events and sports events we organized

    Our board’s term will come to an end in May 2021 and we will do our best to continue pushing the above initiatives over the course of the next five months. As a firm believer in term limits as a fundamental principle of good governance, I will not be running for another term. Our current board looks forward to organizing a model democratic and productively competitive election for a new board during Q2/2021 and to handing over the ICAA to the next generation of IC alumni leaders.

    Christmas and the yearend are a time for us to sit back and count our blessings. High among my blessings has been the privilege to serve you and our exceptional community...

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas and above all a healthy and peaceful 2021 and beyond. May 2021 finally be the year of peace and the start of Lebanon’s true liberation from its rotten political class. Only then can we dream again of the Lebanon we promised IC and the Lebanon IC promised us.

    Sincerely,

    Karim Baalbaki
    ICAA President 2018‐2021

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