Saifi : The Escape


If you need to get away from the noise and traffic of Beirut, this is the perfect hiding place.

Saifi Village is a small but picturesque upscale haven sandwiched between Downtown and Achrafieh, established since 2005 as an art quarter and residential area.

Once you enter, you feel like you’ve left Lebanon and entered another dimension with its quiet stone paved streets.

“It’s an island in Beirut with cache, it’s special. It’s a petit Paris,” says Michele Chelala, shop owner in Saifi. “It’s one of the unique places in Beirut.”

Walk around and discover shops high-end shops carrying designer items from fashion, to furniture and industrial design all from local Lebanese designers, and some international.

The American dream of an Armenian rock artist


New doors are opening up for Armenian rock singer Eileen Katchadourian, from Beirut, who will soon be performing for an American audience outside of Los Angeles. Little by little she is realizing her dream and going out of Lebanon.

"I have high expectations. Little by little im trying to realize my dream, im starting to go out of Lebanon. It´s making me feel anxious and stressed but I guess this is the price I have to pay and I´m ready to pay it,” she said.

Khaled Mouzanar


Khaled Mouzanar, 38, a Lebanese musician, composer and producer, is the well-known author of several movie soundtracks, including Beirut aftershave (which won the Cesar for Best Short Film at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), Caramel (Best Soundtrack - UCMF Cannes 2008), or Where do we go now? (Best Film at the International Film Festival in Stockholm 2011).

But Khaled Mouzanar is also the composer and interpreter of French songs. His first solo album, Dans les Champs arides, was released in 2008 by Naive, where he performed his own songs, encountered a true success among connoisseurs. In his studio in Achrafieh, close from his home, Khaled Mouzanar is now working on the creation of his new album, to be released soon.

He has composed also music scores for several films, including ‘Beirut After Shave’ and ‘Where Do We Go Now?’. His work is rooted in various music genres, ranging from Classical and Jazz music to Mediterranean and Oriental melodies. His compositions also flirt with Brazilian Choro and Argentinean Tango (through a thorough study of Astor Piazzolla).

Nadine Labaki: a star in Ashrafieh


Nadine Labaki is from Baabdat, but she now lives in Ashrafieh, in a house near Tabaris.

Nadine Labaki, 38, has won the people's choice award at the Toronto international film festival 2011 for her most recent movie, "Where do we go now?" Her film also won the François Chalais Prize in Cannes that same year. She was a member of the Jury Orrizonte at La Mostra film festival in Venice a few weeks ago. Labaki is also the face of the new Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ advertisements. The whiskey brand's campaigns are aimed at exhibiting icons such as Bernard Khoury, the renowned Lebanese architect.

Ashrafieh's Nancy Ajram among the most powerfull Arab women


Did you know that Nancy Ajram was born in Ashrafieh? The Lebanese singer who sang Ah w Noss and Enta Eih was ranked 65th on the CEO Middle East magazine’s 100 Most powerful Arab Women 2012 list, released on March 5.

This is the second edition of this “Top 100”. This list ranks women “according to the number of people and lives they have had an impact on” and focuses on 10 industry sectors.

One must say that Nancy Ajram’s career is exemplary. Born in Ashrafieh 29 years ago, she is now married and a happy mother of two little girls (Mila, 3 years old and Ella, 1 year old). Already in 2001, she was listed by the American weekly magazine Newsweek as one of the most influential singers of the Arab world.

Behind the screen with MC Distribution


20 days have passed since the music film week « Something Must Break » (27 July- 2 August) came to an end and we still haven’t gotten over this breathtaking journey into the lives of legendary music artists. This festival, which screened top-quality movies, was a great success. But a festival is nothing without its organizers. Let’s have a look behind the screen, where Eva Bader and Omar el Kadi will tell us more about their work at MC Distribution.

MC Distribution, based in Beirut, is a company that promotes independent cinema in Lebanon, in the rest of the Middle East and in some North-African countries. “Our task”, Omar tells us, “is to select movies, buy the copyrights and screen them in cinemas all over the region”. But movies do not appear on screen overnight and this task is far from being easy. Indeed, in order for us to sit back and let ourselves be taken in by a movie, MC Distribution has to go through all sorts of hurdles, invisible to the moviegoer’s eyes.

Ghassan Tueni: a portrait of one of Lebanon's greatest journalistic figures


With the death of Ghassan Tueni on Friday, June 8. His portrait is featured on the wall of one of the buildings surrounding Sassine Square.

Ghassan Tueni died at the age of 86. He once managed the French daily L'Orient Le Jour and was the Director and owner of the daily An-Nahar. Considered a "giant of the Arab press" by some international media, GhassanTueni has built the reputation of An-Nahar and made it a model of independent print media in the region.

Focus on Skoun, an unusual NGO


Skoun is committed to bringing life, health and hope to drug users and their families through a sustainable treatment model for Lebanon and the Arab region. Based in Monnot, Skoun held its 6th gala dinner in Sursock Palace a few days ago. This is the occasion to highlight this unusual NGO.

Skoun aims to help people with addiction problems claim their lives by providing a nonjudgmental and caring environment of client-centered treatment and counseling. We deliver the tools and information necessary to reduce the harm caused by drug use and we advocate for drug policy change and increased public awareness and education regarding addiction.

Jean-Claude Boulos: a media man


Jean Claude Boulos passed away on March 4 in Beirut. An alumni of the Frères des Ecoles Chrétiennes, he was born in 1934 in Iskenderun. In 1957, he graduated from St. Joseph University’s Superior School of Engineers in Beirut (ESIB) with a diploma in civil engineering. Here is an overview of his biography.

JCB began his engineering career in 1958 working on building CLT, the first Lebanese television station. This project was his first and last as an engineer; he chose to join the station as Director of Programs, where he remained until 1970. His passion for the small screen drove him to produce and host several game shows and talk shows, becoming as he often said of himself a “face in the crowd”. Among these programs were: Let’s have a party, Quoi de neuf à Paris?, Family 75 (Aailat 75), Malaeb 82, Ahad Aal Hawa, Zouar Al Massa…

Toufoula: making dreams come true


We feel powerless in the face of children suffering from cancer. Toufoula gives them the possibility to dream a little by offering a more pleasant environment in the hospital.

Toufoula is a Lebanese non-governmental organization founded in 2005 by a group of dynamic young volunteers, to help children suffering from cancer. Their mission is to transform dull hospital rooms into a cheerful environment through the Dream Room's project, trying to alleviate their suffering during the long and grueling treatment.