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Queen Silvia visits Lebanon for Mentor Arabia

Photo: Anna-Lena Ahlstrom/Kungliga Hovstaterna

From 15 October to 17 October, Queen Silvia was in Lebanon to celebrate the Mentor Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Mentor Arabia is a regional non-governmental organization that advocates for youth empowerment to prevent risky behavior among children and youth and it was created in 2006.

On 15 October, Queen Silvia was officially received by Lebanon’s President and First Lady. During the meeting, Queen Silvia informed them of the Mentor Foundation’s activities. She then visited the American University of Beirut where she was given a guided tour of the campus area.

In the Jaffet Library of the University, Queen Silvia also officially opened an exhibition about the foundation’s activities. In her speech, Queen Silvia said: “Today, we see a threatening decrease in physical and mental health. Mental and substance use disorders are among the top public health concerns in many countries. One of our own recent surveys found that 4 out of 10 suffer from anxiety about the future. If we want young people all over the world to live healthy and meaningful lives, we need to take these issues seriously – and respond to them forcefully.

At the university, the Queen launched the Youth Mentoring Platform, a joint initiative between Mentor Arabia and American universities in Beirut. It aims to create a strengthening discussion forum for young people.  In the evening, Queen Silvia met Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri before attending a charity dinner in support of Mentor Arabia.

On 16 October, Queen Silvia visited the Renee Moawad School where she learned about Mentor’s 4Z program which has a strategy for reducing disruptive and aggressive behavior in classrooms. She then attended Mentor Arabia’s Annual General Meeting. In the afternoon, she visited the National Commission for Lebanese Women. She attended a roundtable to hear stories from Lebanese women who have faced challenges and problems with opportunities and hope. Before attending a dinner at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence, Queen Silvia had the opportunity to meet with children from the War Child organization.

Queen Silvia started her last day in Lebanon with a visit to the Swedish Embassy in Beirut where she met the staff and learned more about their work. She then attended a meeting at Mentor Arabia’s Headquarters. Since it was Queen Silvia’s first visit to Lebanon, she visited some of Beirut’s famous landmarks such as the Jeita caves and Byblos. The trip ended with a dinner hosted in the Swedish Queen’s honor by the Takreem Foundation