DETROIT: This spring, the Lebanese Collegiate Network (LCN) has celebrated ten years since their organization’s inception with the culmination event of their 10th Annual Convention, hosted at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The gathering boasted over 150 attendees, 22 registered universities, 12 unique workshop sessions, and three keynote speakers at the weekend-long assembly.
The LCN is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2007. Their mission is primarily to develop and engage University Lebanese Clubs (ULCs), students, and alumni, academically and professionally within the United States. They pride themselves on being a non-religious, non-political, and non-discriminatory organization, bringing together network members with the goal of helping them to become leaders that will strengthen and impact positive change in their communities nationally and internationally.
The LCN has three regional divisions (West, Central, and East) that operate under the national executive board and work closely together to host a multitude of events in their respective regions throughout the year. Typical events range from small community gatherings to professional mixers, luncheons, and academic workshops tailored to the needs of the LCN membership. “These events build a bridge from coast to coast, encompassing everyone in between and creating a community,” says the current LCN President, Akram Abou Khalil. “LCN Nation is a family of smart, accomplished, and ambitious individuals.”
At the annual convention, attendees experience networking activities, workshops and panels given by well-established professionals in their respective fields, and the LCN’s annual business meeting, in which the membership directly elects the executive board for the following year. “It is important that our elections happen in person at the convention so that our organization maintains transparency regarding how it operates and who is selected to operate it,” says Abou Khalil. “The convention is the biggest event of the year, where all of our membership is in the same place at the same time.”
Additionally, the LCN hosted a prominent keynote speaker for both days of the convention. Past speakers have included Historian Akram Khater, Comedian Nemr Abou Nassar, Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Charles Elachi, Lebanese Ambassador to the U.S. Antoine Chedid, and most recently Hagar Hajjar Chemali, former Director of Communications and spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and for Ambassador Samantha Power.
The annual gathering concluded with an awards banquet. The LCN provides a wide variety of annual scholarships and awards to its membership, based on both financial need and academic achievement. Two exceptional undergraduate students are chosen to receive the Academic Excellence & Heritage Award each year after a rigorous application process. The award recognizes talented subscribing students who demonstrate a remarkable academic record, are ambassadors of Lebanese Heritage and present themselves as leaders among their peers.
This year, Monique Gamoney, president of the Lebanese Social Club at San Jose State University, and Grace Sahyouni, vice president of the Lebanese Social Club at University of California – San Diego, were recipients of the award. “I really value the principles that LCN stands for – being non-political, non-religious, and non discriminatory. My school did not have a Lebanese Club on campus, and LCN motivated me to found the organization at San Jose State University, the first ever Lebanese Club at my school,” says Gamoney.
“I’ve gained so many leadership skills through the LCN, being able to work hard to establish the club here at San Jose State. I’ve really appreciated all of the networking opportunities that the LCN has given me, as well as the friends and family that I’ve gained from it, too,” she added.
Apart from access to the LCN’s independently organized events, subscribing members enjoy many other LCN resources including ULC funding, advising and support, leadership building, discounts on software, and assistance related to job hunting and interviewing.
“The LCN provides members not only with skills that aid them in achieving success, but also a lifelong network that reaches well beyond the scope of the LCN,” says Abou Khalil. “The core of our mission is academic and professional development, but we do so much more than that. Whether you are a first-generation American, fifth-generation American, or a Lebanese studying within the United States, the LCN is a welcoming space.”
Interested in joining the LCN? Follow them on social media and learn more about them at www.mylcn.org
The author, Rachelle Mehdi, is the vice president of Public Relations for LCN. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan in Sociology and International Studies, and a diploma from AUB in Media Communications. She is entering the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy master’s program in September.
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