Under the auspices and presence of the Director General of Youth and Sports at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Zaid Khyami, a joint marathon was organized by the Municipalities of Rmadiyeh and Seddiqine on May 23, 2015, with the support of the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS). Mr. Fadi Beydoun, Head of Rmadiyeh Municipality, Mr. Hasan Balhas, Head of Seddiqine Municipality, as well as municipal members and environmental committees of both towns, students, scouts, and civil defense members participated in the event. More than 300 Lebanese and Syrian students from 20 different schools were invited to run the marathon, along with scouts, activists, and civil society representatives from throughout the region.
This first jointly-sponsored event between the Municipalities of Rmadiyeh and Seddiqine is part of LRI’s community “twinning” program, which aims to build the institutional capacity of communities and strengthen social cohesion by bringing together diverse communities to protect and expand Lebanon’s forested lands. This activity will also help those communities engage on environmental issues caused by increased strain on natural resources in general, and forested resources in particular. In addition, this joint marathon aims to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and expanding communal forests.
Director General Khyami, Mayor Beydoun, and Mayor Balhas affirmed the importance of protecting and ensuring the sustainability of future forests through community involvement and participation. At the end of the marathon, participants received medals and prizes and took part in other environmental and educational games.