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First Lady Congratulates Outstanding Students of Basic Education who Got Full Marks in Their Exams

DAMASCUS, (ST)- First Lady, Mrs. Asma Al-Assad on Saturday received 22 excelled students of basic education certificate for the year 2019, who ranked first after getting full mark in their final exam, and congratulated them and their families on their honorable achievement.

The students came from different Syrian provinces.

After years of absence, a mass held in Mar Elias convent in Homs countryside

Homs, (ST)-Marking the feast of Mar Elias and in the presence of the Governor of Homs Talal Barazi and Secretary of the Homs branch of the Arab Socialist Baath party Omar Houria, a mass was held recently at Mar Elias convent in al-Qseir city in Homs eastern countryside

A special and intensive participation from various Syrian provinces in addition to distinguished participations from outside the country attended the mass.

During the ceremony, the governor of Homs talked about the religious sanctity symbolized by Mar Elias among the various peoples, stressing that the Prophet Mar Elias gives us a model of tolerance and love that characterize the Syrians and the power to defend the truth as the heroes of the Syrian Arab army have done. After more than eight years, he said, that life has returned to the Monastery of Mar Elias thanks to the sons of Syria, who love life and exert continuous efforts to provide all necessary needs to restore the monastery as it was before the years of war, a religious and social destination for all Syrians and Arabs.

Bishop Yohanna Abdo Arbash of Homs, Hama and Yabroud for Rome Catholics led the mass.

He stressed that the return of life to the Monastery of Mar Elias to be an evidence of Syria's triumph over terrorism and that the Prophet Mar Elias is for all Syrians and their participation in this feast is the true picture of the Syrian social fabric.

The bishop affirmed that security and stability returned back to Syria thanks to the sacrifices of Syrian people and the Syrian army and that the Syrians are all one hand in the fight against terrorism.

It is worth mentioning that during the ceremony, the icon of the monastery was restored after many years of absence. 

Amal Farhat- Homs

Mohammed Ani: The Trinity of Language Instruction

(ST) - Mohammed Ani, a well-known name in the Syrian English language mentoring society, is a real inspirational instructor. He clearly affirmed at the beginning of our interview “Anyone who speaks a foreign language at an advanced level must be talented!” Any person having the gift of language learning and being in the right language milieu will be able to fluently express himself in that foreign language because of the input he gets. However, if he is not in that environment, he is literary dispensed of that opportunity. So, as a matter of fact only proper education could facilitate his learning of the language.

Having been raised by a  dedicated Arabic teacher has played a central role in Mohammed Ani's career choice toward an educational profession in general, but not of English language teaching since it wasn’t the language of communication  at home nor at school.

However, his passion for English was instilled since early education, but his special gift hadn’t been revealed till 10th grade. At that turning point, he was working for a travel and tourism agency and  had some encounters with tourists; he discovered his ability to use practical English and to effortlessly communicate with others in  as such. Therefore, he made a decision to join the English Department at the Faculty of Letters at Damascus University. Furthermore, as a 12th grader he visited the English department at Damascus University, and clearly  remembers the lectures, subjects and instructors he met, particularly Dr. Mohamed Tawfiq Al-Bujairami, who was giving a poetry lecture. “I was able to understand almost the entire poem, although it was literary content. Subsequently, I knew it was where I belonged.” Ani reminisced. Thus, after passing the baccalaureate exam he enrolled in the English department.

Because of his father's influence chiefly, right after graduation, Mohammed headed for commencing his instruction career, teaching in a private school, then teaching English in language centers in Damascus. He also taught EFL at Damascus University, in diverse faculties like the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, the Libraries and Information Department at the Faculty of Letters, the Nursing School; he taught as well in two private Universities.

Young Syrian Lady Gets Global Youth Leadership Award 2019 in Recognition of Her Efforts in Spreading Peace Culture

"I believe that peace doesn’t mean there aren’t any  wars, weapons or killings. Peace should be achieved at different levels, mainly  personally and socially. Peace is a goal in itself and a policy which we should follow to be reflected positively on the society”, Dr. Lama Drebati, a socialist activist and Head  of the” Peace Makers” civil society association in Lattakia province said in an interview with the Syriatimes e-newspaper .

Dr. Drebati has recently got the Global Youth Leadership Award (GYLA)  2019, submitted by   the Global Youth Parliament (GYP)  in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal as a global   recognition of her activity and contribution as a young Syrian lady working  in the peace domain and in serving humanity.

 The Nepal-based GYP is a youth organization, which works in 29 countries around the world to support young people. The GYLA award is given to two individuals ( one male and one female) from each country. This award from Nepal has been given to many countries so far.

The objective of the award is to inspire individuals from around the globe and recognize their contribution that had added value to creative endeavors in serving humanity.

World Street Children Day

"Sons of the Sun" in Homs

 Homs, (ST)- On the occasion of world Street Children Day, the city of Homs, like other Syrian provinces, has witnessed on July 1 a very special event that began three years ago.

The Monastery of the Savior in the city of Homs hosted the Festival,  The event is held for the third year successively to address the issue of street children. This event is considered an invitation to make this issue a priority which must be considered and propose effective solutions to end this phenomenon.

Sons of the Sun 3 was organized by Saiyar Foundation with Afkar Consulting and Marketing Services. The Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs,  Culture and Information, and under the auspices of the Syrian Commission for Family and Population Affairs have exerted efforts to make this event a success.

Activities  took place in 12 public places in 3 gardens in Damascus, in Salmiya, Musayaf, Homs, Hama, Sweida, Tartous, Lattakia, Aleppo and Jableh, in conjunction with parallel events in neighboring countries to focus on the danger of this phenomenon, which is increasing in conflict-affected and fragile countries.

Lama Al Nahhas, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sayyar Foundation, said: "Through this event, we address the community to this category of children who do not enjoy family care and suffer social problems.

It is an invitation to all government and non-government parties to cooperate in dealing with this important issue so as to reintegrate them in the  educational process and provide them with proper tools to lead the lives they deserve. We also stress the necessity of establishing national and civic centers to  develop  specialized education programs and community policies that contribute to reducing this phenomenon and achieve our goal of a brighter future".

Ghaith Obaidi,  the Exhibition Coordinator, said :" Various activities are associated with the celebration, such as: art exhibitions, which last for several days, and display  hand – made products   by the children themselves and volunteers who work with them in different areas and in the halls of cultural centers spread in the Syrian  provinces. There are also awareness campaigns launched  by via Saiyar website on the  social media.

The central theme of this year's event is associated with "Liberate Your Self"  campaign that we are launching to raise awareness about the risk of drug spread among children and adolescents.

 Our event was filled with recreational activities for children, volunteers, visitors, games, various artistic shows, competitions and gifts.

It is worth noting that Saiyar is a volunteer project hosted by the Saiyar Foundation and the Syrian Commission for Family and Population Affairs. It is supported by the Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs and Culture The project was founded five years ago to care about street homeless children by carrying out interactive educational and awareness activities call on all concerned parties to work for these children through drawing up  well studied policies to improve their life.

By: Amal Farhat - Homs


Head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Tourism talks about the tourism sector in Syria

Mr. Mohammad Khadour, Head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Tourism and the Regional Director of Asafir Hotels speaks to Syria Times on the Federation’s activities and the tourism sector in Syria in general and Homs in particular.

Following is the full text of the interview conducted with Mr. Khadour in the Asafir Hotel in Homs city.

Can you tell our readers about your profile?

I am Mohammad Khadour, the Head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Tourism and the Regional Director of Safir Hotels. I started my work in the tourism industry in February 1977 at Le Meridien Hotel in Damascus (Currently its name Dama Rose Damascus) when I was a student at the Damascus University’s Faculty of Geography. I was studying and working at the same time. I graduated in 1981 and kept working at Le Meridien in different positions and sections. Then, I became a manager of section in it.

In August 1982, I moved to be the Director of Safir Hotel in Homs.

In 2008, I became the Regional Director of Safir Hotels, including Safir Homs, SafirMaalula, and Safir Zainab. I became a representative for the Safir Company’s investments.

In June 2016, I was elected to be the Head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Tourism.

What is your plan to activate the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Tourism? 

I believe in public works and helping society and hope to activate and improve the Federation’s eight chambers in Syria. There are eight chambers:

1-Damascus Chamber
2- Damascus Rural Chamber
3- Lattakia Chamber
4- Tartous Chamber
5- the Eastern Chamber: Raqqa, Deir Ezzour and Hassaka
6-the Northern Chambe: Aleppo and Idlib
7- the Middle Chamber: Homs and Hama
8- the Southern Chamber: Daraa, Sweida and Queintra

I am proud of what happened in Aleppo. The owners of tourist projects in Aleppo have done a great job and have exerted efforts to rebuild their investments, hotels and restaurants.

I and other members of Federation’s Board of Council work hard to improve tourism industry in Syria and help the owners of tourist projects and hotels overcome the results of ongoing sanctions, unfair war against Syria and the embargo of flights to and from Syria.

I am very concern to help and support all Syrian tourism facilities’ owners to rebuild their demolished facilities. The Minister of Tourism Eng. Mohammad Rami Radwan Martini urged to support and help the owners of tourism facilities and enterprises to get loans from the government banks to rebuild their hotels, restaurants and establishments. The Federation and Ministry are ready to help them and I personally met with the owners of tourism facilities and enterprises to discuss how to solve their problems.

How has the terror war against Syria affected tourism industry?

The terrorist groups attacked directly the tourist and archeological sites under different fake pretexts. They were calling these places as ‘debauchery places’ to justify their attacks and threats. They were sending direct threats and warns to the owners of tourism facilities.

The terrorist groups attacked five times Safir Homs Hotel. We changed the Hotel’s glasses and windows five times because of mortars attacks and explosions. One employee of the Hotel was martyred, and other two were employees plus security man were kidnapped. I personally was shot directly two times and God saved me.

How do the Federation’s activities being held abroad represent the Syrian tourism industry?

In cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, the Federation’s head and members participated in different international tourism activities in Spain, Italy and the UAE. Recently, we participated in the ‘Arab Travel Market’ Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates held in April 2019.
These activities, conferences and exhibitions are opportunities for Syrian participants to invite and encourage businessmen, investors and economic actors to visit Syria and participate in the tourism industry and sector in Syria.

We, the Syrian delegation, could break the embargo being imposed on the Syrian tourism sector.

I visited Italy on November 15-18 ,2018 to participate in the Mediterranean Forum on Archeological cities Tourism, which was held in the Italian city of Pastum. I felt that Italians were very interested in the Syrian cultural tourism and sympathized with the Syrian delegation.

I visited Russia in November 2018 and met with Russian officials in the field of tourism to discuss the means of encouraging the Russian tourists to Syria. I made a presentation and gave the Russians ideas about the archeological, culture and religious tourist sites in Ma’arrat Saydnaya, Ma’alula and others. Russians consider Syria as a holy land and they like to visit the Orthodox old churches and sites.

What is your role as the Head of the Social Communication Committee in Homs Province?

We are about 33 social figures, religious figures, tribal leaders and chiefs represent all social fabric and sects of Homs city and province.

We started talking and meeting with social activities and figures in Homs’ districts when the events erupted in Homs in early 2011.

We met with armed groups to reach national reconciliations and settlements in different parts of Homs province.

I personally met with leaders of armed groups and could convince them to reach settlements in cooperation with the Syrian government.

Now, our Committee’s members are discussing with the Rukban Camp’s refugees how to ease their return to their hometowns safely.

I understand that many of Syrian citizens were misled and made a mistake and we should help them to return to the right path.

The people of Homs could successfully overcome- with their wisdom- the crisis in Homs city and avoid the city a civil war.

Interviewed by:
Obaida Mohammad
Inas Abdul Kareem

Women in Business Conference Provides Chance for Women to Share Experience, Boost Business Partnership

Under the Patronage of Labor and Social Affairs Minister Rima Al-Qadiri, deliberations of the Women in Business Conference( When She Leads)  kicked off yesterday at the La Mira Resort in Lattakia province in the presence of Egypt’s Ambassador in Syria Mohamed Thrawat Salim, Directors of Culture, Tourism, Labor and Social Affairs  in Lattakia, a number of local and Arab businesswomen as well as other political and economic concerned bodies.

The two- days event is organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) in Lattakia  in cooperation with  the Modernizing and Activating Women’s Role in Economic Development (MAWRED) society.