BEIRUT: Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud met Miss Lebanon 2012 Rina Chibani Monday along with her twin sister and runner-up Romy, praising the success of this year’s pageant after years of corruption allegations.
Abboud praised the contest calling it a “real taste of beauty, education and culture” in contrast to the “commercially controlled pageants of the previous years.”
“This year the Tourism Ministry personally handled the whole organization of Miss Lebanon,” he said, expressing satisfaction that this year Lebanon will have a contestant in international pageants with the potential to win.
Abboud said that pageant organizers will continue to strive for a higher level of professionalism and to develop Miss Lebanon into a high-class beauty competition.
He also called for “forming a national academy for raising the level of any beauty pageant winners.”
This academy would help contestants to prepare and ensure they are ready to promote a positive representation of Lebanon.
With the help of LBC TV station, the Tourism Ministry aims to create a program to ensure that the beauty queens promote Lebanese culture, elegance and open-mindedness overseas.
For her first visits, Miss Lebanon is set to travel to Brazil and Australia where there are large populations of Lebanese expatriates.
Rina said she was inspired to participate in this year’s pageant by former Lebanese Miss Universe Georgina Rizk, who was among the judges.
She assured the public that she will do her utmost to reflect a positive image of Lebanon to the world, and will take part in the Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas on Dec. 19.
The 21-year-old, from Zahle in the Bekaa, beat 15 other contestants for the crown – the first time twins had entered.