Minister of Culture and Higher Education Mohammed Youssef Beydoun affirmed his government’s commitment to preserving the city’s architectural heritage Friday.
“These historic buildings are very dear to us,” he said. “And we’re committed to safeguard them as part of our cherished cultural heritage.”
He made these comments during an address made by himself and German Ambassador Peter Wittig to a group of visiting and local scholars at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The academics were participating in the Beirut German Orient Institute’s symposium “Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire.”
“What makes your conference unique is its emphasis on the material and architectural expression which these historical developments found ... We are especially lucky that Beirut has many buildings from the late Ottoman period. Most of the conference is taking place in such a residence: the German Orient Institute itself,” he said.
Mr. Beydoun was pleased both because his ministry was associated with the conference, and because of the symposium’s timing, corresponding to the celebration of Beirut as the cultural capital of the Arab world.
For his part, Mr. Wittig said that he was unable to surpass the minister’s comments. “I was delighted, like everybody else, that Beirut had been nominated cultural capital of the Arab world in 1999,” he said.