The University for all, attached to Saint-Joseph University in Beirut, begins its first semester of training in 2022 “in endurance and faith”, as stated by its director, Gérard Bejjani, author, teaching professor, lecturer, critic and researcher. As generous in his writing as in his teaching, he takes up his pen to invite those thirsty for culture and art to register at the UPT. In a city as inspiring as it is chaotic, the resistance of brains and hearts remains essential. For Gérard Bejjani, poet at heart and on the white sheets of life, the road is green. Like a mission, like a passionate echo responding to the sacred song of culture, he writes… Here is his song of hope, word for word.
“Green is our road
I fear it so much
The first of September
who always tears
The quiet beach
Yet it is there, the first of September, from year to year, and this time it returns, harder and more trying than any other. Because you have to go back. We have to resume. How? With what? With whom? By what means? Until when? Until the end? The endless end? No matter. The struggle itself to the heights is enough to fill a man’s heartwrites Albert Camus.
So I fight with you and we go back together and we are together, dear colleagues and speakers, dear listeners, dear family of the University for all. For better and for worse. Like in a wedding. A sacrament. Lover. Solidarity. For Lebanon. For the blue sea, so blue. For the inspired mountain, standing, still standing. For us, and that’s enough.
Here is that the University for all reopens its doors and for those who know them, they are always wide open. On the world. The mind. The thirst to learn and to continue on the path of life. There is something almost miraculous in still remaining there despite everything, in the misery that surrounds us. When we say misery, we think less of indigence, of the financial crisis than of the spiritual poverty of those who govern us. Of all those who, I don’t know by what irony, I don’t know by what power of evil, are in power without power. Without acting. Without helping. Incompetents, abusers. And we face them. Every morning when we wake up, we shake off our sweat from the night before and the battle begins. By education, civility, dignity, by everything that elevates man instead of stupefying him. Even if knowledge holds little place here, even if we no longer listen to poetry. I have faith that she will save the world, if it has to be, like she always has.
The Classes resume. Forty subjects for the first semester, face-to-face or online, from Lebanon or abroad: philosophy, literature, psychology, history, history of ideas, art history, cinema, novel-film, music, culture, Phoenician civilization, mythology, mysticism, spiritual life, politics, law, mediation, health, well-being, brain youth, languages, writing, design, photography, singing.
The workshops resume. A dozen artistic disciplines: watercolour, drawing, painting, sculpture, stained glass, mosaic, ceramics, creation.
The inclusive training resumes for young people with specific needs: theoretical modules, horticulture, catering, hotels, arts and media, internships, transition to the professional world thanks to remedial teachers, qualified coaches, associations and companies involved.
The University for All in Beirut and Jbeil accomplishes as best it can the mission of Saint Joseph University, which works to “promote interdisciplinary collaboration in the service of man and his unity”, to reaffirm the attachment to diversity and tolerance by inviting us to assume a responsibility in the city. Even if there is only one left, it will be this one.
The challenge of the University for All lies both in the academic excellence of the teaching and in the quality of the social and friendly relationships that are woven through the courses, activities, outings and travels. Because you come to the UPT, as the regulars call it, not only to cultivate yourself, but to cultivate in yourself your nature as a true man, the beautiful, the just, to transform yourself, to flourish.
The man is an apprentice, so let him continue his heavy task and afterwards, like the poet, let him go without crying. We will continue the road. Of learning. Personal development. Of mental health. We know it’s not the result that counts, it’s the journey. The green path. Or towards… You will find the milestones in the summary table and the programs in our online brochure. Each flyer corresponds to a course. The color green says our hope and our drive for life, stronger than love.”
Registrations are open from 1er September – courses starting at the beginning of October – in the offices of UPT Beirut and Jbeil or online. The University for All offices are open at the following times:
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.