What are the Objectives?

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Silk has been for Lebanon, what cotton has been to Egypt in contemporary history. Silk was a quasi mono-production of the Lebanese Moutassarifya and a dominant production in the rest of the country until the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The silk industry witnessed two important crises before and during the First World War and during the Great Depression of the thirties. After a slight come back during the Second World War, the production of silk collapsed again.

Starting the mid fifties, the efforts of the Lebanese state ‘Office de la Soie’ alleviated the decline of silk and supported its production.

The outbreak of wars since 1975, notably the Israeli invasion of 1982, weakened further what remained of silk production. Since 1991, much effort has been invested for the recovery of silk production, vital for the substitution of illicit and subsidised cultures.

This symposium, initiated by the Association Memory and Development (aMED), on the occasion of la Francophonie Summit, aims at shedding light on this aspect of the economic, social and cultural heritage of the country. This heritage which we tend to overlook is closely tied to France under different aspects. The most important links between Lebanon and France, until the beginning of the twentieth century consisted mainly of sericulture and simply culture....

Sericulture has played a fundamental role in the modernisation and independence of the Lebanese economy in the nineteenth century. It has contributed to the decline of social groups, the emergence of others and the prosperity of several regions.

In the Lebanon of tomorrow, silk production could and should play a role in the development of rural, poor and non-irrigated areas while replacing illicit or subsidised cultures and contributing in the creation of weaving, dying, designing and fashion activities.

The rebirth of silk will only take place under an integrated circuit: “From the mulberry tree to the tie”.

Boutros Labaki

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