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A Zahle Lebanon public figure Elie Skaff makes an impact on the environment and the younger generation.

Updated on October 15, 2012
A retreat focused on a better environment
A retreat focused on a better environment

Zahle Lebanon, who is Elias Skaff?

Watching a little bit of news about the middle east is enough to depress just about anyone. It makes one wonder if there's anything positive that happens in a troubled region such as Lebanon. The history of Lebanon can easily be found on the internet, the country has been in termoil for many years and for various reasons. This story begins in a small town called Zahle which is difficult to pronounce, most people not familiar with it, or interested in visiting Zahle Lebanon would search for Zahleh, Zahla or Zahlee. Either way, there's a lot of information, photographs and tour guides about the small red roofed town and a vacation worth taking.

I recently visited Zahle Lebanon and found that although much of the bad news is often reported, there's a lot of positive situations that are never mentioned. The leaders in Lebanon are always viewed as strong, out of touch leaders, although many of them are involved in non-profit organizations and self funded organizations that give back to the community and the young generations in order to create a positive impact in a world that's filled with much negative.

One particular story caught my attention because it focuses on the education of environmental issues which affects all of us. One particular leader in the small town of Zahle that is loved by many for his humble and kind approach to the community. Mr. Elias Skaff who was born in 1948, many call him Elie Skaff, he is a lebanese politician and leader. He was born in Zahlé on October 11, 1948. His father was the late deputy and ex-minister Joseph Tohme Skaff and respected by many in the Zahle community. His mother Helena Nilacos was of Greek nationality. While Elie Skaff received his early education in Zahle Lebanon, he continued his education in New Zealand before returning to Lebanon.

As a graduate of the American University of Beirut in 1975 and due to his background and history in the community of Zahle. Elias Skaff was elected as the head of the Popular Bloc in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2005. Appointed as Minister of Industry in 2003 and later served as the minister of agriculture in 2004 and 2006. Elias Skaff Beik as many call him is married with two teenage children. He speaks multiple languages, the community of Zahle respects and favors him due to the passion he has for the city he lives in and the eagerness to give back to the community he was born in. His stern yet friendly demeanor has found him many followers and the respect of the lebanese people throughout the world, specifically people from Zahle no matter where they reside.

Although his involvement in the community varies on many different levels, Skaff and his wife Myriam Skaff try to establish a connection with the younger generation in the community. Mentoring the young generation provides an opportunity to help the young attain life skills needed to better themselves and the environment.

Skaff believes in empowering the young, the young need to feel valued, appreciated and cared for, this happens when the youth feel safe and guided in positive direction, the young feel liked and respected when they contribute to the community and the environment. Ofcourse, all young children need a good influence in every day life from their friends and adults in their home, yet one can't help but respect a leader that's willing to contribute.

Making an environmental impact in Zahle

Elie Joseph Skaff Environmental Youth Retreat in Zahle

An environmental group was established by the Elie Skaff to educate the younger generation about the environment. The young adults meet and join in conversations relating to agriculture and the environment. Their meetings take place during a retreat camp that is also enjoyable with other peers who share the same views and willing to join in the success of the environment they live in. This group is fully funded by Elias Joseph Skaff and the group joins in planting trees and charitable contributions to the community and environment.

The meetings are quite successful and make a huge impact on the team's view of what's important, they are able to join in long walks and share ideas for a better tomorrow and a healthier environment. They recently met and planted over 150 trees in a small village. Mr. and Mrs. Elie Skaff along with their teenage boys are not too far from the festivities, they join in during the retreat and provide guidance and encouragement to these young children of Zahle Lebanon that are willing to make a positive impact in their community.

This is only one of the highlights about this beautiful small town I was born in. Zahle is beautiful and has a lot to share with the world. These small stories may not make headline news on CNN but are sure worth sharing. Making a positive impact in this world doesn't take much, thanks to the Elie Skaff's environmental youth group, and the Skaff foundation, a positive impact has begun with 150 trees added to the environment making it a positive impact in Zahle Lebanon and our planet..

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