American Univesity of Beirut

Professional Forests

​​​​​​In 2013, NCC launched Professional Forests, in collaboration with BankMed and Dar Nelson Publishing House. The purpose of this project is to expose children from marginalized communities to professions in an informal setting and hence promote career guidance.

The project is consists in two-year cycles. In the first year, volunteer representatives of a profession meet with school children in their own village, present their profession, and partner with the youths to plant trees in the village. In this informal setting, teenagers are exposed to the profession and learn responsibility by committing to care for the trees. The following year, the youths participate in a writing competition organized by NCC and judged by the volunteer professionals.

The first cycle of Professional Forests began in 2012 and was called Writers' Forest. The Center partnered with Dar Nelson Publishing House to solicit the participation of writers and selected the open amphitheater of the Batloun’s Cultural Club to plant trees.

Phase I: Tree Planting in Batloun​

On Saturday April 28, 2012, 27 Lebanese writers and poets were received by the children of Batloun’s Secondary School and the community of Batloun. Every child accompanied a professional to a planting site in town and together, they planted trees in pairs. The day was quite memorable, as the famous writers found themselves surrounded by a generous and loving crowd of students and parents, helping them dig and plant stone pines, cedars, Taurus maples, Judas trees and nettle trees.
The event was followed by a book signing ceremony, whereby writers and poets donated their signed books to the children and the local library. The guests were then accompanied to the Nadi reception hall to share a lunch that was prepared by the local community in the healthy kitchen at Nadi Batloun.

  • List of Participating Artists and Poets:
​إياد ابو علي
​أمل فريجة
​أدهم الدمشقي
​أمين الباشا
​إسماعيل فقيه
​أنور سلمان
​ملي نصرالله
​صباح زوين
سيزار نمور​
​سليمان بختي
​سليمان زين الدين
​زياد كاج
​حسن داوود
​حبيب معلوف
​نديم محسن
​نادين فغالي
​نرمين الخنسا
​ميشال جحا
​ميشال سعادة
​منغانا الحج
​فيصل فرحات

​نهى مسلم​
​صونيا بيروتي
​جوزيف ابي ضاهر
​وجديعبد الصمد
​وديع سعادة

Phase II: Short Story Competition​

The competition was opened to all students at Batloun Public School aged 12 and above, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and following the theme:

ذات يوم قام احد بقطع شجرة مُعَمَّرة كانت تشغل المكان الذي تقصده مع رفاقك لللعب
ب 250 كلمة: صف شعورك وردود فعلك حيال المكان والتحوّلات التي جرت فيه وليكون العنوان من إختيارك.

Students were given one month to submit short stories to a school committee that in turn shortlisted the best 24 to the committee of writers, which included Mrs. Emily Nasrallah, Mr. Sleiman Bakhti, Dr. Assaad Khairallah, and Ms. Sylvana Kobercy.
On Saturday June 29, 2013, NCC celebrated the announcement of 3 winners (Wissam Btaddini, Riwa Abou Diab, and Caroline Hany) in partnership with Dar Nelson Publishing House and Batloun’s Cultural Club.


Every year since the end of the cycle, the members of Nadi Batloun have been getting together for a spring cleaning and weeding day on the Writers’ Forest site. In 2016, they invited the writers back to participate!
Thanks to Nadi Batloun, which has fulfilled the promise of taking care of the trees by installing a drip irrigation system for the period of three years, the survival rate at the Writer’s Forest is an incredible 100%!

In 2014, NCC invited the Warhaniya municipality to host the second cycle of Professional Forests with the help of Dar Nelson Publishing House. A former dumpsite was chosen, prepared, and leveled, and was hence ready to house the Media Forest.

Phase I: Tree Planting in Worhaniyeh

On Thursday April 3, 2014, the Worhaniyeh community, school and municipality members welcomed the 23 Media representatives and guided them to the planting site.
Once again, every child was accompanied by a media representative to the planting site to plant to plant one of three types of native trees suitable for this specific location. Both the children and the Warhaniya municipality committed to providing post-planting care for the following year.
Village women prepared traditional dishes from locally collected wild edible plants and other local products for the more than 250 attendees, including participating media figures, students and their families, NCC members, and other residents of Warhaniya.

  • List of Participating Media Figures:
​نضال شهاب
​رانية عبد الصمد
​غادة غانم
​رنا نجار
​زاهي وهبي
​ آلبرت تحومي
​ماغي عون​
​زينة جانبيه
​رولا حداد
​غادة أبوعضل
​مشلين حبيب
​ رابعة الزيات
​ملاك مكي
​كمال ذبيان
​مي صايغ
​نسرين عجب
​أريج خطار
​جوزيف حويك
​مريم الحج
​نجاة شرف الدين
​رنا بيطار

Phase II: Short Story Competition​

To keep the participants involved for a second year, all students aged 12 and above in Worhaniyeh's Public School were invited to participate in a short story competition following the theme:

زارت قريتك مجموعة من الإعلاميين "نشروا الخبر وزرعوا الشجر" تحت عنوان "غابة الإعلاميين".
ب 250 كلمة: صف كيف شاركت وساهمت في هذا النشاط ، وما رأيك وأهالي القرية في هذا النشاط لحماية الطبيعة.

On Saturday May 16, 2015, NCC invited everyone back to announce the results of the competition. A jury composed of Mrs. Emily Nasrallah, Mr. Sleiman Bakhti, and Mrs. May Sayegh evaluated the short-listed texts and chose 3 winners: Ghandi Ghanem, Bachar Ghanem, and Bilal Ghanem.
On that same day, even more trees were planted, as the mayor of Warhaniya planted a cedar tree and Rima Karaki, a media figure who had missed the planting of the previous year but heard about it later, came and planted a tree, while NCC replaced 5 dead trees.

Partners and Collaborators

BankMed (funded and supported the first two cycles of Professional Forests)

Dar Nelson Pubilshing House (supported NCC and helped it make contact with media figures, writers, and poets)

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