Presentation on theme: "Lebanon has one of the most educated and technically prepared populations in the Middle East. In 2001, 95 percent of Lebanese aged 15 and older were literate."— Presentation transcript:
Lebanon has one of the most educated and technically prepared populations in the Middle East. In 2001, 95 percent of Lebanese aged 15 and older were literate. Primary education in Lebanon is free and compulsory for five years; school attendance is near universal for primary school-aged children. Beirut is home to six universities: the well-known American University of Beirut; the Jesuit-sponsored Saint Joseph University; the government-supported Lebanese University; the Egyptian-sponsored Beirut Arab University; the Lebanese American University; and the Armenian Hagazian College. Lebanon also has more than 100 technical, vocational, and other specialized schools. Education
The Lebanese value individualism, which contributes to their creativity and inventiveness. Close family relations, loyalty to family and friends, and honor are also important. People strive to gain influence and to accumulate and display wealth, which are signs of success that win respect. Men and women mix freely and attend schools in equal numbers. Christian women are similar to Western women in dress, attitude, and activities. Most Muslim women are more conservative in attitude and dress than their Christian counterparts. Men generally wear Western clothes, although some older Muslim men wear the Arab headdress, or kufiyah. In their leisure time, Lebanese people enjoy lively conversations over Turkish coffee, participating in outdoor activities, and eating good food. Traditional foods include kebbe, a dish of lamb and crushed wheat, and tabbouleh, a salad made of parsley, mint, tomatoes, and crushed wheat. People enjoy a variety of foods, however, and restaurants serve everything from French, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Greek specialties to hamburgers and pizza. Way of Life
About 93 percent of the population are Arab (although many Christian Arabs disclaim Arab ethnicity), 5 percent are Armenian, and the remaining 2 percent of the population belong to Kurdish, Assyrian, or other ethnicities. Among Arabs, about 12 percent are Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of whom live in refugee camps. Palestinian refugees are considered stateless, and their future is uncertain. Before the civil war, thousands of Westerners lived and worked in Lebanon, but most of these foreigners have left the country. Arabic is the official language, but French is commonly used, especially in government and among the upper class. English is also widely used, particularly as the language of business and education. Most Armenians speak Armenian. Ethnic Groups and Languages
The government policy of confessionalism, or the grouping of people by religion, plays a critical role in Lebanons political and social life and has given rise to Lebanons most persistent and bitter conflicts. At the time of Lebanons independence in the 1940s, there were more Christians than Muslims. In the following years, many Muslims immigrated to Lebanon and had a higher birthrate than the Christians; as a result, Muslims became the majority group in Lebanon. Today, an estimated 70 percent of Lebanese are Muslim, while most of the remaining 30 percent are Christian. Every persons religion is encoded on a required, government-issued identification card. The government recognizes 17 distinct religious sects: 5 Muslim (Shiite, Sunnite, Druze, Ismailite, and Alawite), 11 Christian (4 Orthodox, 6 Catholic, and 1 Protestant), and Judaism. Religion
GOVERNMENT The National Pact, an unwritten covenant, provided for a Maronite Christian president, a Sunnite Muslim prime minister, and a Shiite Muslim speaker of parliament. It also provided that the ratio of seats in parliament would be six Christian seats for every five Muslim seats, and other government posts would be allotted on similar sectarian criteria. When Muslims later became the majority, they sought greater power, but Christians refused to make significant changes. The first violent conflict occurred in a limited 1958 rebellion, and tensions later erupted into the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990. The 1989 National Reconciliation Charter (commonly known as the Ţāif Agreement) brought an end to most of the fighting and required amendments to the Lebanese constitution, which were passed in 1990. The constitutional amendments preserved certain confessional allotments but gave Muslims increased power, for example, by dividing parliaments seats equally between Christians and Muslims. The new constitution also made the Shiite speaker a member of a troika (executive threesome) with the Maronite president and Sunnite prime minister.
Clock tower in center of government area With rapid growth since the 1950s, Beirut is now home to nearly half of Lebanon's population; estimates exceed 1.5 million for the city. The figure is inexact, however, since the last census for Lebanon was conducted in 1932. The primary religions represented in Beirut include Islam, Christianity, and the Druze religion. Maronites make up the largest Christian sect in the city, and the majority of Islamic residents are Shiite Muslims or Sunni Muslims. The Druze, whose beliefs are based in Islam but incorporate some elements of Judaism and Christianity, live in West Beirut.