“Kazem Shamseddine’s Prize for Arabic Literature” has been awarded to four students in his hometown Joun after they competed to write the best text about the famous Lebanese singer Nasri Shamseddine.
The Prize, funded by the family of Kazem Shamseddine and organized by the Association of Lebanese Women for Equality aims at encouraging students to write in Arabic, of which Kazem Shamseddine, a victim of the Beirut port blast was a very eloquent writer.
As the economic crisis hits Lebanon, 12,000 students have moved to public schools as tuition fees at private schools have been increasing since the crisis began in 2019, estimated Mohamed Shamseddine, a researcher at Beirut-based consultancy firm Information International.
“Nasri “the great”, as my father used to call him because he admired his art and voice,” Riham Shamseddine, Kazem Shamseddine’s daughter said citing the reason behind the contest dubbed “Nasri Shamseddine Then and Now.”
“We launched the “Kazem Shamseddine’s Prize for Arabic Literature” initiative to encourage students to write in their mother tongue and urge them to persevere in studying, which my father considered the tool we must arm with to build a knowledgeable society,” she said.
She added: “With his brilliant pen and extensive knowledge in Arabic literature, my father shared his passion for reading and his love for education in general. He used to tell us in our daily correspondences “study until you have had enough.”
This initiative will only be the beginning to other initiatives which will take place every year to commemorate her father, she said.
The participants in the contest were from the Joun High school. They presented some proposals to revive Joun’s cultural heritage.
Winners received prized and shields were handed to the educational staff and the president of the association. The value of the prizes is as follows: the first prize amounted to $300, the second $200, the third $150, and the fourth $100.
About “Kazem Shamseddine Prize for Arabic Literature”
As the financial crisis worsens in Lebanon, “Kazem Shamseddine Prize for Arabic Literature” is an initiative to help students weather financial difficulties. Kazem Shamseddine, a victim of the Beirut port blast loved his land, Joun and his uncle Nasri Shamseddine, a Lebanese singer which partnered with lebansese singer Fairouz and the Rahbani family. Kazem Shamseddine’s family cooperated with the “Lebanese Women’s Association for Equality”, which honored the memory of Kazem Shamseddine with a library that carries his name. The library is adjacent to another one “There was a bird on the tree” created by the writer Rania Zughayer to show her appreciation to victims of the Beirut port blast. All initiatives fall into one category, which is to keep the memory of the Kazem Shamseddine alive through humanitarian actions.