Under the patronage of the Municipality of Beirut, and in collaboration with the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut), Junior Chamber International- Lebanon had organized an award-winning ceremony of phase two of “I Green Beirut” competition in downtown Beirut. The event is a culmination of a green landscape and art competition in Beirut, launched in August 2018 by JCI Lebanon, which consists of a call for creative design and artistic solutions that contribute to the development of Beirut’s Green public spaces.
The event featured a live presentation of nine short-listed projects showcasing project ideas for greener and healthier Beirut across the three categories of the competition: artistic landscape, landscape for professionals and landscape for students. A jury panel of professional architects, environmental engineers, university professors, as well as UN and Beirut municipality officials, critically commented on the nine exhibited projects, then selected the winners under each of the three categories.
Mirella Antoun won the Prize of the best architectural design under the Professionals category, for her “Ecospot” project aimed at preserving urban biodiversity by conserving existing trees and using recycled materials. The project demonstrates a learning garden located in Beirut that will play a role in educating about the environment while encouraging pedestrian paths. It consists of large benches, free area for public debates and composting activities, as well as a bar to sell and exchange organic products.
Ghiwa Kayrouz and Rana Khatib were the winners of the best Students Green project, consisting of an organic “Urban Market” garden that introduces a ‘real-farm’ concept of cultivation, production and crop rotation. In addition to displacing fresh and consumable agricultural products along the garden, the Market also provides a space for social gathering. “Green technologies if integrated in the context of sustainability can make a great difference and prevent from losing greenery,” said Khatib while presenting her project.
Danielle Souki, Samiha Majed, Pascale Saleh and Jill Alexandria won the prize of the best art work under the ‘I-Green Beirut’ artistic landscape category. Their project consisted of a collection of images that were layered, collaged, and deconstructed to be then recreated as a carousel demonstrating the contradictions surrounding the city of Beirut.
The event was well-regarded by all attendees, including the competing students, professionals, artists and other young people attending the event, along with representatives from Beirut municipality and UNIC Beirut. “This competition was a very interesting and useful opportunity as it helped me provide innovative and interactive ideas to preserve nature and make positive change in communities,” said one of the unsuccessful candidates.
In her statement, JCI Lebanon 2019 President Danielle Raffoul commended UNIC Beirut’s role in making this landmark initiative a reality, and hoped for the implementation of the various winning projects. “The I-Green Beirut project gave us the chance to identify a problem in our communities and bring together different stakeholders, including the youth, to create positive and sustainable impact in societies,” she said.
For the Jury members, this initiative provided a good opportunity to increase environmental awareness and to incite the youth to propose innovative ideas for a greener, sustainable and environmentally-friendly city. “The most interesting part of this initiative is that it raised awareness on vital environmental issues using a humanistic approach to public spaces,” said one of the Jury members Wissam Melhem.
For Ziad Abi Chaker, a renown environmental and industrial engineer, “this initiative invested in talent youth and in the vibrant Lebanese society at large. It also proved to be instrumental and constructive as it helped share knowledge and expertise in the environmental and architectural fields.”
On the outcome of this initiative, I-Green Beirut Project Director Jessica Haber pledged that JCI, along with its partners, will “execute one of the winning projects so as to expand green public spaces in Beirut and raise further environmental awareness among citizens.”
The event concluded with the distribution of certificates of appreciation to all short-listed candidates in addition to honorary awards to the three winners. The ceremony was followed by a group photo and a cocktail reception.
It is worth noting that I-Green Beirut Phase II is a continuation of the first event held on November 4, 2017 in Beirut where around 250 people, including families and children, engaged in environmental knowledge-based activities, planting sessions and other recreational activities throughout the day.
The Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a nonprofit organization of 200,000 young men and women who are active in the community and dedicated to positive change. To date, JCI has implemented more than 5,000 projects in 120 countries with the aim of providing solutions to local problems in order to create a sustainable global impact.