“Ghassan post-Ghassan” and its current relevancy in the 21st century

“Ghassan post-Ghassan”  was the title of Professor Irfan Shahid’s essay about what happened with the Ghassanid Dynasty after the fall of the first Kingdom in the VII Century. The essay is in the Festschrift   “The Islamic World”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pp.323=336.

Professor Shahid’s email (03/24/2012) to HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor wishing good luck in the restauration of the Ghassanid Royal Legacy

However, we’ll go a little beyond Professor Shahid’s account using not only his essay but also information from other sources. The Ghassanids had, over history, tremendous achievements in several areas but we’ll concentrate our essay on the ruling families that claimed to be part of the Ghassanid Dynasty.  

One might think that the subject is part of some obscure section of the past Arab history. However, the subject’s relevancy is amazingly current. In a recent Time Magazine article (April 16 2012, pg.24 – “A Region at War with Its History – Democracy struggles to survive in the Middle East for old and economic reasons”), journalist Fareed Zakaria, citing the paper written by Harvard Professor Erich Chaney, states that the lack of democracy experienced in the Arab world today is a direct consequence of the Muslim conquest initiated in the VII Century:

“He (Professor Chaney) NOTES THAT THE DEMOCRACY DEFICIT TODAY EXISTS IN LANDS THAT WERE CONQUERED BY ARAB ARMIES AFTER THE DEATH IN A.D. 632 OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD. Lands that the Arabs controlled in the 12th century remain economically stunted today. THIS CORRELATION IS NOT SIMPLY A COINCIDENCE. Scholars from Montesquieu to Bernard Lewis suggest that there was something in the political development of the Arab imperial system that seemed to poison the ground against economic pluralism. ARAB IMPERIAL CONTROL TENDED TO MEAN CENTRALIZED POLITICAL AUTHORITY, WEAK CIVIL SOCIETY, a dependent merchant class, and a large role for the state in the economy. Chaney documents the latter, showing that the government’s share of GDP is 7% higher on average in countries that were conquered by Arab armies than in those that were not.”
 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2111248,00.html#ixzz1sPyNrAWh  

Important to mention again, that over five million Christian Ghassanids live today whithersoever dispersed around the globe. They are almost exactly the same people as their ancestors were fourteen centuries ago due to their interbreed relations.  

“While Ghassanid Christians clung to their identity as a minority and were interbreed [keeping the blood pure] because of the prohibition of marriage with non-Christians..” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.149)

Bias, Ignorance, or Laziness?

After the Islamic conquest of the Arabic peninsula and the constitution of the Islamic regime called the “Caliphate”, every historian seems to overlook the minutiae of what actually was happening in the region after the “Levant”. Looking to any map of the region from the VII Century on, in any history book, we’ll see an inaccurate image of the Islamic control over the peninsula.  

The Rashidun Caliphate (632-661 AD)

The Ummayad Caliphate (661-750 AD)

The Fatimide Caliphate (969-1171 AD)

The Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258 AD /1261–1517 AD)

The maps above give the impression that the Caliphates had a very cohesive control over the area which was absolutely not true.

“After the disappearance of the Ghassanid state, isolated Ghassanian Princes continued to reign in some oases and castles, along with Salihids and some other phylae.” (“Late Antiquity” – Bowesock/Brown/Grabar, Harvard University Press, 1999, p. 469)

Historians support not only this assertion but the fact that this practice was very common during all of the extension of the Islamic dominion over the region.  

“935[AD]… From this point, the caliphs no longer wield temporal power but retain merely a symbolic authority. Real power now resides with the local rulers, who establish dynasties in various parts of the empire.” (“Islam – A short history”- Karen Armstrong – 2002, p.xix)

“1118-1258[AD] Small dynasties now function independently, acknowledging the suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphate, BUT IN PRACTICE BOWING ONLY TO THE SUPERIOR POWER OF A NEIGHBOURING DYNASTY.” (Ibid. p. xxii)

So, it’s clear that all of these maps do not reflect the truth.  If we know that the caliphate no longer had temporal power, the suzerainty proclaimed by the small sovereignties (however short-lived) was merely an honorific courtesy.

It’s also clear that the Ghassanid Dynasty didn’t die after the battle of Yarmuk or the fall of the first Kingdom. The Dynasty would play a higher role in the highest throne on earth at the time: the Byzantine imperial purple.

Solidus with Byzantine Emperors Nikephoros and Staurakios from Royal Ghassanid origin

The Byzantine Empire

Since the elevation of the Ghassanid King Arethas (Al-Harith) V (reigned 528-569 AD), to many titles by Emperor Justinian I in 529 AD, like “King of all Arabs”,  the Imperial address (Axioma Basileus) and the “Archyphilarchia” of the Oriens (the Commander-in-chief of all Arab Armies of the Byzantine Federation), the Ghassanid Kings were elevated to the rank of “Patricians” of the Byzantine Empire, in other words, the highest rank of nobility or the ruling class within the Empire.  

“The term patrician (Latin: patricius, Greek: πατρίκιος) originally referred to a group of elite families in ancient Rome, including both their natural and adopted members. In the late Roman Empire, the class was broadened to include high council officials, and after the fall of the Western Empire it remained a high honorary title in the Byzantine Empire.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrician_(ancient_Rome)

After the fall of the first Kingdom in the VII Century, King Jabalah VI (reigned 628-638 AD) established a Government-in-exile in Constantinople, later moving to Anatolia.  

” Heraclius [Byzantine Emperor] received him [King Jabalah] with honor and bestowed upon him estates and palaces.” (Professor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected” p. 13)

“Although little is known of Jabala’s activities after his emigration to Anatolia, his place in the history of the Ghassanids in the Middle Byzantine period is important, since it was he who established a strong Ghassanid presence in Byzantine Anatolia, one which lasted for many centuries. The climax of this presence was the elevation of one of his descendants to the purple and his establishment of a short-lived dynasty which might be described as the House of Nicephorus.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 325)

“Nicephorus (A.D. 802-11) was a descendant of the Ghassanid [King] Jabala.” (Ibid.)

This assertion was even stronger not merely citing King Jabala as an ancestor, but the eponym of the Royal Ghassanid Dynasty using the name of King Jafna, the founder of the Ghassanid Kingdom. Therefore, we can conclude that Emperor Nicephorus (or Nikephoros) was not only citing his ascendancy but by using the term “Jafna” he was claiming to be the head of the Ghassanid Dynasty.

“…This valuable information comes from Tabari; see Tarik (Cairo, 1966), VIII, 307, when he speaks of [King] Jafna, the eponym of the Ghassanids, rather than [King] Jabala.” (Ibid. pg.334)

In spite of his short reign, he is considered a great Byzantine Emperor.

“He had been a high official in the previous reign (logothete, or minister of finance), and yet, in spite of his background in imperial finance, he played an important and vigorous role in the military and ecclesiastical history of Byzantium throughout the nine years of his reign.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 325)

Like Roman Emperor Philip the Arab, according to many scholars a Ghassanid Sheikh himself and the first Christian Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Nikephoros was a pioneer:

“… the first Arab Emperor to rule in Constantinople.” (Ibid.)

He was bold and obstinate like his other ascendant, Ghassanid King Al-Harith Bin Abu Chemor Al-Ghassani, who in the VII Century rebuffed the Prophet Mohammad after receiving his letter demanding his conversion to Islam. Right in the beginning of his reign, Emperor Nikephoros refused to recognize Charlemagne’s imperial title, assumed in 800 A.D.

“In 803 Nikephoros concluded a treaty, called the Pax Nicephori, with Charlemagne, but refused to recognize the latter’s imperial dignity.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikephoros_I

Unfortunately, as his reign, his Dynasty was also succinct. Nikephoros’ son Stauracius (also Staurakios) was crowned co-emperor in 803 AD, but after his father’s death, he reigned only for two months as sole emperor. The power then went to his brother-in-law, Emperor Michael I Rangabe who ruled from 811 until 813 AD with his wife, Nikephoros’ daughter Empress Procopia (later Saint Procopia). Procopia’s eldest son Theophylactos reigned as co-emperor with his father from 811 AD.

“The House of Nicephorus in the ninth century was represented both in the imperium (Empire) and in the ecclesia (Church). Another grandson of Nicephorus through Procopia, Nicetas (also Niketas), finally became Patriarch of Constantinople. As Ignatius (later Saint Ignatius), he twice became Patriarch, the first time from 847 until he was deposed in 858, and the second time, after being reinstated, for the period 867-77.” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 327)

“It was thus given to a grandson of Nicephorus the highest rank of the Byzantine ecclesia (later to be the highest rank of the whole Orthodox Church)…” (Ibid.)

St. Ignatius or Ignatios (Greek: Ιγνάτιος), (c. 797–877) Patriarch of Constantinople from July 4, 847 to October 23, 858 and from November 23, 867 to his death on October 23, 877.

Some scholars defend that Emperor Michael I and Prokopia could be ancestors to the later Byzantine Emperors of the Macedonian Dynasty. For example, David Hughes has theorized such a descent by which Prokopia’s son, Theophylaktos was father to a daughter, named Melissena. Melissena married Inger Martinakios. Inger was the father of Eudokia Ingerina.

“Eudokia (or Eudocia) Ingerina (Greek: Ευδοκία Ιγγερίνα) (c. 840 – c. 882) was the wife of the Byzantine emperor Basil I, the mistress of his predecessor Michael III, and the mother to both the Emperors Leo VI and Alexander and Patriarch Stephen I of Constantinople.”

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudokia_Ingerina

That being true, would put Ghassanid Imperial and Royal blood on the purple throne again for almost another two hundred years.

The Nasrid Dynasty

After the fall of the first Kingdom, many Ghassanids migrated to Spain and founded a small city, a “Principality” there also called “Ghassan”.  

“Other Ghassanids emigrated to Umayyad Spain as part of the Jund of Damascus and settled in Andalusia in a qarya (village) near Granada that they called ‘Ghassan’, Cacin of today.”  (Professor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected” p. 146)

“Cacín is a Spanish municipality belonging to the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cac%C3%ADn 

City of Cacin (Ghassan) in Spain

“Most theories suggest that the name “Cacín” comes from an anthroponym since the eighth century there was an Arab tribe, “Gassin” (Ghassan), in Elvira influential in times of Abd al-Khaliq al-Gassani that was appointed qadi [Magistrate] of the kora (one of the territorial demarcations which were divided al-Andalus, the Arab Spain).” http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cac%C3%ADn

So, it’s clear that, by many different tentatives, the Ghassanid Princes tried to preserve their Kingdom in different places.

Rasulid coin

The Rasulid Dynasty

Several Ghassanids ceded to the pressure of being forced to convert to Islam. The Rasulid was a Muslim dynasty that ruled Yemen and Hadhramaut from 1229 to 1454 AD. The Ghassanids always were symbols of Christianity and resistance to the Muslim regime.

“Descent from the Royal Ghassanids was an honour to be claimed by many Christians as was the honour for Muslims in claiming descent from Quraysh, the tribe of the Prophet [Muhammad].” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.149)

So, as far as prestige, the Ghassanids were to the Arab world the equivalents of the Habsburgs were to Europe. Today, both of Royal Houses of Hashemite (Jordan) and Alouite (Morocco) claim descendency from the Quraysh.  

So, it’s very ironic that the Rasulids so proudly invoked their descent claiming to be the heirs of the Ghassanid Dynasty. However, it’s known (and cited at the beginning of this essay) that there was a prohibition to any Ghassanid citizen to be from any other religion but Christianity and also to marry someone outside the Christian faith. So legally, the Rasulids Sultans, although legitimate descendants, couldn’t be the lawful heirs of the Ghassanid Dynasty.  

“…the Rasulids themselves were aware of their Ghassanid descent and were proud of it. The natural question arises: why would they have concocted such a lineage if they had not truly been descended from the Ghassanids of old? Furthermore, why would they, as Muslims, have chosen a descent from those Christian Ghassanids, whose last king had had that well-known encounter with Caliph ‘Umar, and who had gone over to ally himself with the chief enemy of Islam, the Byzantine Empire?” (“Ghassan post Ghassan” by Prof. Irfan Shahid, Festschrift  “The Islamic World – From classical to modern times”, for Bernard Lewis, Darwin Press l989, pg. 332)

Burji Mamluk knight. The Sultans from the Burji Dynasty also claimed Ghassanid descent

The Burji Mamluks

The Burji dynasty المماليك البرجية ruled Egypt from 1382 until 1517. Although mainly of Circassian origin (not Arab), they claimed to be of Ghassanid Royal blood. Many Islamic scholars agreed with this assertion like Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Yas. Also P. Holt in his book “The Exalted Lineage of Ridwan Bey”, BSOAS (1959) pp. 221-30.    

The Burj Mamluk Sultans were, obviously, Muslims. For them, as for the Rasulids, the claim of being  Ghassanid (the most famous Christian Arab Dynasty) would be a matter of shame, not pride.

At the beginning of the XVI Century, they lost their throne to the Ottomans. However, they kept their prestige becoming an elite inside the Ottoman empire, like their ancestors in the Byzantine.  

“In 1517 the Ottoman Turks and their sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluks with the capture of Cairo on January 20. The center of power transferred from Cairo to Istanbul. However, the Ottoman Empire retained the Mamluks as an Egyptian ruling class, and the Mamluks and the Burji family succeeded in regaining much of their influence, but remained technical vassals of the Ottomans.”

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burji_dynasty

The Sovereign Christian Sheiks El Chemor

Concomitant with both the Rasulids and the Mamluks, we see several sovereign Christian Sheikhs ruling small Sheikhdoms in the region we know as Lebanon today.

It’s known and documented that the El Chemor Sheikhs descended directly from Ghassanid King El Chemor Jablah Ibn Aiham (ruled 632-638 CE), the last King of Ghassan:

 “It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemorwho are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to [King] Al Jafna.” Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)” Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38

The Sheikhs El Chemor are known to rule  Al-Akoura (Byblos District, presently Lebanon) from 1211 to 1633A.D. and ruled as sovereigns the region of Zawiya from 1641 to 1747 A.D.

The Encyclopedia of the Maronite families of Lebanon, published by the prestigious Catholic Notre Dame University, in volume 4, mentions the El Chemor family

The text is very concise but confirms the chronicles of Maronite historian Patriarch Stephen Duaihy (1630-1704 CE) and the 1948’s book of historian Ignatios Tannos El Khoury, mentioning both sources as some of the many references.

Based on the reputation of the greatest Arab historian of the 17th Century, the Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy (1630-1704), the Sheiks El Chemor were related by marriage to the Hashemites (El-Hashem) of Al-Akoura. Therefore, they are related to the Royal Family of Jordan, who claims to be linked directly by blood with the Prophet Mohammad, the founder of Islam. In 1757, Sheik Antoun Chemor took his father’s (Sheik Gharios Chemor) first name as his family name, so, changing from “Chemor” to “Gharios”.

Suffering from persecution from the Muslims since the 7th Century, the Family found it impossible to bear the situation in the 19th Century with the tyranny of the Ottoman Empire forcing many members to escape to other continents.  

“… in modern times, thirteen centuries later were claimants of Ghassanid descent emigrated from Palestine and Lebanon to the new world.” (Professor Doctor Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, 2006, p.143)

The Gharios family was established in Brazil and registered as “Guerios”. After decades of struggle settling in a new continent, one branch of the family was able to restore the Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan being accredited internationally by the United Nations and legally recognized by the Government of the Lebanese Republic by Presidential decree number 5800/2019. More HERE

Important: Please, note in the document below, that a full investigation was conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior culminating with the approval by the Council of Ministers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fully aware of the Royal Houses’ international activities and goals having to issue a formal report (No.865/5 of March 6th, 2018) also, HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor was formally invited by the Lebanese Government to several official events (see certificate below signed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Sworn English Legal Translation of the Council of Ministers’ decision that has culminated with the Presidential Decree Download

The certificate above signed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs stating the official participation of HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor at the Lebanese Diaspora Conference, an official governmental event

Ghassanid Royal Family was officially received by the President of Lebanon

The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Chemor)

“The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Arabicإمارةجبلشمر‎), also known as the Emirate of Haʾil (إمارةحائل)[1] or the Emirate of The House of Rashīd (إمارةآلرشيد), was a state in the Nejd region of Arabia, existing from the mid-nineteenth century to 1921.[2] Jabal Shammar in English is translated as the “Mountain of the Shammar“. Jabal Shammar’s capital was Ha’il.[2] It was led by a monarchy of the House of Rashīd. It included parts of modern-day Saudi ArabiaIraq and Jordan.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Jabal_Shammar

The Maronite Encyclopedia of Families confirms the chronicles of Maronite historian Patriarch Stephen Duaihy (1630-1704 CE) and the 1948’s book of historian Ignatios Tannos El Khoury, mentioning both sources as some of the many references (see p. 2236, Encyclopedia of the Maronite Families, v.4, Notre Dame University) also stating that the El Chemor family and the El Shammar family of Saudi Arabia are the same. The way of writing the family name in Arabic is identical and there is absolutely no other family with this name in the whole Arab world. If that fact is true, there’s no harm to the Ghassanid Royal Claim since the El Shammar family is Muslim and there was a prohibition of Ghassanids to even marry non-Christians. (See Yasmine Zahran, “Ghassan Resurrected”, p. 150).

Some of them [Chemor/Shammar family] migrated to the north of the Arabian Peninsula, and they founded in year 905 A.D the capital of the Emirate of the Shammar. It remained with the takeover of [king] Abdul-Aziz Al Saud forces on all parts of the region in 2/11/1921 A.D, and the announcement of the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 23/9/1932 …” p. 2236, Encyclopedia of the Maronite Families, v.4, Notre Dame University

But such a statement makes the El Chemor family even more prestigious and Royal since that would make the Lebanese El Chemors cousins of the Emirs of Jabal Shammar (1836-1921 CE). The family has ruled virtually almost all of the Arabian Peninsula: the Christian Family has ruled the whole Levant (today Syria, Jordan, part of Iraq, and Lebanon) and the Muslim family has ruled the majority of today Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq. Important to note that the El Chemor family of Lebanon (the heirs of all the Christian titles) doesn’t claim the Muslim titles and vice-versa.

“The Emirate of Jabal Shammar (Arabicإمارةجبلشمر‎), also known as the Emirate of Haʾil (إمارةحائل)[1] or the Emirate of The House of Rashīd (إمارةآلرشيد), was a state in the Nejd region of Arabia, existing from the mid-nineteenth century to 1921.[2] Jabal Shammar in English is translated as the “Mountain of the Shammar“. Jabal Shammar’s capital was Ha’il.[2] It was led by a monarchy of the House of Rashīd. It included parts of modern day Saudi ArabiaIraq and Jordan.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emirate_of_Jabal_Shammar

Above: Map of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar

Above: Flags of the Emirate of Jabal Shammar

The emirate of Jabal Shammar (or Ha’il) is portrayed in the movie “Queen of the desert“(2017) by the acclaimed director Werner Herzog and starring the academy award winner Nicole Kidman.

Also, by that statement, the Sheikhs El Chemor of Lebanon are cousins of several Saudi Princes that descend from Princess Fahda bint Asi Al Shammar (El Chemor) wife of the founder of the Saudi Kingdom, King Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud. Amongst them, is the late King Abdullah (1924-2015) of Saudi Arabia, the son of Princess Fahda and King Ibn Saud.

Above: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (1924-2015), according to the Maronite Encyclopedia, cousin of the El Chemors of Lebanon

Watch the documentary about the Ghassanid Dynasty from biblical times until the present days

Conclusion

So, when we talk about Ghassan, we’re not talking about a Dynasty and a people that only lived 14 Centuries ago, but a Dynasty that reigned from biblical times until 1921; and a people that kept its heritage by intermarrying, kept its religion and keep claiming its descent today, even under persecution. But above all, even not currently reigning, the Ghassanid Royal Family never stop respecting its duty and being relevant in the contemporary world as it was back then.

According to HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor, the current head of the dynasty:

“Titles, as a personal honor, are completely useless in the twenty-first century. The only real value of a title is if you can make it relevant today. A prince, even losing his rights, his duties remain. Royalty is service, the glamour and prestige are only a byproduct.”

HIRH Prince Sheikh Antonios El Chemor (1910-1971) headed the royal family until his premature death in 1971 at only 60 years old

This essay is dedicated to Professor Irfan Shahid

(1926-2016)

Irfan Shahid, also written Shahîd (born 1926 in Nazareth) in Arabic: عرفان شهيد, is Professor Emeritus at Georgetown University. Since 1982 he has been the Oman Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Irfan Shahid was born to a Christian Arab family in Palestine. He received his B.A. from Oxford University in Classics and Graeco-Roman History and his Ph. D. from Princeton University in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He mainly published on the Arabs and the Greco-Roman world in the late antique and medieval times, classical and medieval Arabic poetry, and the Koran.

On March 20, 2010, Irfan Shahid was inducted as a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Fellows are the most distinguished scholars of medieval studies and are elected for advancing the field.

The professor passed away in 2016 at 90 years old.

Works:

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2, Part 1, 2002

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 1, 1995

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century, 1989

    Byzantium and the Semitic Orient Before the Rise of Islam (Collected Studies Series: No.Cs270), 1988

    Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, 1984

    Rome and the Arabs: A Prolegomenon to the Study of Byzantium and the Arabs, 1984

    Omar Khayyam, the philosopher-poet of medieval Islam, 1982

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irfan_Shahid

The Prince of Ghassan sends congratulations to UAE’s new president and Emir of Abu Dhabi

In my name, and in the name of the Imperial and Royal Family of Ghassan, I’d like to send our best wishes to the Al Nahyan family, and to all the Emirati around the world, for the election of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the Third President of the United Arab Emirates and the new Emir of Abu Dhabi. May Allah Bless and Guide His Highness.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan “de jure” Al=Numan VIII – Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan

The Prince of Ghassan sends condolences for the passing of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

In my name, and in the name of the Imperial and Royal Family of Ghassan, I’d like to send our deepest sentiments to the Al Nahyan family, and to all the Emirati around the world, for the premature passing of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Second President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi. May Allah have mercy on him.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan “de jure” Al=Numan VIII – Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan

One Voice Foundation organizes event under the patronage of the Lebanese Minister of Culture

The dignitaries patronizing the event, the Lebanese Minister of Culture and the Armenian Ambassador in Lebanon, here with the One Voice Foundation’s President and other VIPs

The One Voice Foundation, an “arm” of the Royal House of Ghassan in the Middle East, organized a panel discussion on the book of the researcher Tigran Yeghavian entitled “Minorities in the Orient: The Forgotten of History” at the Monastery of Our Lady of Albert – Qenaya – on April 9, 2022.

The event was a partnership between the One Voice Foundation and the Armenian embassy in Lebanon under the patronage and presence of the Lebanese Minister of Culture, Mr. Muhammad Wissam Al-Murtaza.

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Numan VIII, head of the Royal House of Ghassan and chairman of the One Voice Foundation, has congratulated the Foundation’s president and CEO, His Excellency Mr Antoine Kalaydjian for another very successful initiative.

The event was reported by the official Lebanese governmental News agency and can be read (in Arabic) HERE

Also, the event was reported by the Beirut Observer and can be read (also in Arabic) HERE

More about the One Voice Foundation HERE

Lebanese Minister of Education participates on One Voice Foundation’s conference in Lebanon

The Lebanese Minister of Education Dr. Abbas Halabi

The One Voice Foundation, one “arm” of the Royal House of Ghassan in Lebanon, organized the “Permanent Renewal” conference, entitled: “To Walk Together for the Establishment of the State of Justice, the Homeland of Man”, at the Monastery of Our Lady of El-Bir – Qenaya, in the presence of the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Abbas Al-Halabi, and with the participation of: Adyan Foundation The Ora Union, the Kamal Youssef El Hajj Chair for Lebanese Philosophy, the Lebanese Foundation for Citizenship, and the Lebanese Green Party. The conference dealt with education, justice, administration, and the Levant.

The conference was attended by the representative of the Armenian Catholic Patriarch Raphael 21 Minassian, Patriarchal Vicar Georges Asadorian, the Syndicate of Editors Joseph Kassifi, the Secretary General of Catholic Schools, Father Youssef Nasr, the President of Caritas Lebanon, Father Michel Abboud, the President of the Ora Union, Father Tony Khadra, the President of the Green Party Fadi Abi Allam, the President The Heart of Jesus family Salwa Estefan, along with a number of media professionals, jurists, academics and thinkers.

The meeting opened with a speech by the President of the One Voice Foundation, Antoine Kalajian, in which he spoke about “the association’s goals, the most important of which are consolidating Lebanon’s identity, protecting freedoms and human rights in it, and keeping it a wonderful model of coexistence, despite all the difficulties that beset it.”

He called on the Lebanese to “transcend sectarian affiliation to national affiliation to build the state and the nation.”

He praised the association’s work in social affairs, pointing out that “it has secured 50,000 cartons of milk for children, in cooperation with the Caritas Association, and seeks to secure other medical services in the future.”

Al- Halabi and the Minister of Education delivered a speech in which he commended the “conference and its objectives”, speaking about “

He also addressed the “workshop that was held in the Saraya for this purpose, and gathered all the people of education without exception at one table”, considering that “the Ministry of Education is not the only responsible for the education sector, but rather the responsibility of all the Lebanese, to provide the best means of education for students through accreditation.” on human competencies.

Tabbara 
then launched the conference, which was moderated by lawyer and media figure Rola Elia, and the first lecturer was Dr. Nayla Tabbara, who spoke about “the foundations of education on active citizenship and incubating diversity, based on the experience of Adyan Inn at the level of curricula and cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Educational Center, or on the level of programs that Interfering with formal or informal education, i.e. outside educational institutions. 
 
She also stressed the “importance of raising male and female teachers”, considering that “accepting religious and cultural diversity and positive interaction with different viewpoints is the most important axes of upbringing on active citizenship and incubating diversity and immunization from any attempts to manipulate the feelings of citizens.”

Former MP Ghassan Moukheiber 
spoke about “ways to develop justice and the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the judiciary,” saying that “justice in Lebanon is not good, and so is the judiciary.” 
 
He addressed his “vision of achieving justice and reforming the judiciary,” recalling “the symbolic image of justice represented by women who symbolize independence and impartiality from the authorities,” pointing to “impartiality that is not affected by the character of the litigating parties, and the integrity represented by the judge’s ethics so that the balance of justice does not twist.”

He presented “reform at the level of the judicial judiciary, the military court, the Judicial Council, the State Consultative Council, the Audit Bureau, the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Council for the Trial of Presidents, the various disciplinary councils, the religious judiciary, and the international judiciary.” 
 
Rahma 
, Dr. Joseph Rahma emphasized “the need for administrative reform in Lebanon through developing the performance of government services”, listing “the factors that require the administrative reform process and how to implement it through re-engineering public administrations in their structural dimensions and relying on mechanization, information technology and human resource development”, recalling that The many obstacles impeding the process of administrative reform in Lebanon. 
 
second session
The second session resumed with Dr. Ramzi Abu Chakra, who lectured on “Education on citizenship between the glut in texts and hunger and thirst in souls: in the dominance and authority of the hidden curriculum,” wondering about “the benefit of world citizenship if a person is not a citizen of his country.” 
 
He said: “Those who look at the citizen scene in Lebanon today realize the dangers facing our country, and feel the difficulty and accuracy of the stage.” 
 
He pointed out that “the educational goals of knowledge, skills and values ​​are similar to what they are in school education with an inverted pyramid that cannot be settled.” He said: “Education for citizenship begins in the field by challenging the geography that has accumulated in the minds, starting with the discovery and rediscovery of our country.” 
 
He considered that “the challenges facing education require confrontations that go beyond the official curricula and literature.” 
 
Zbian
Dr. Rola Thebian, President of the “Dean Assad Thebyan Foundation for Peace Culture” gave a speech in which she addressed “the term transitional justice through four axes: highlighting the characteristics that distinguish it from traditional judicial justice, clarifying the relationship that binds it to individual and collective memory in the Lebanese regions that emerged in The modern history of Lebanon, from armed conflicts and clarifying the role it plays in removing society from the mentality of wartime conflict to the space of conciliatory thought that guarantees the building of man as an active entity, showing the role he plays in oral literature and witnessing the event from the victim’s perspective, so that the individual oral narrative becomes a reliable reference, The official recorded history can count on it.” 
 
Blessing
Then Professor “Kamal Youssef Al-Hajj Chair for Lebanese Philosophy” and researcher in modern and contemporary Arab thought, Dr. Hoda Nehme, lectured on “The Oriental at the heart of modernizing the concept of living together”, introducing an “initial vision that establishes a contemporary orientalism based on the philosophy of authentic coexistence, in which different entities are formed A wonderful fabric of understanding and harmony of opposites, by motivating them to meet and communicate in an environment that extends over the area of ​​eastern humanity, which is called to recover from the instinct of violence and destruction to enjoy peace based on the principle of the union of life with God. A society in which Orientals are equal in the logic of mutual respect.

Sayyah
, Vice-President of the “Friends of the Lebanese University” Association, Dr. Antoine Sayah, spoke about the “political project of the Lebanese Gathering for the Entity, which launched the national document on December 7, 2021 with the aim of getting out of the political stalemate that Lebanon has been suffering from since the Taif Agreement today.”

Considering that “Lebanese society suffers from many existential problems and crises, both chronic and emergency,” he addressed the “five files raised by the project,” explaining “the reasons for limiting treatment to these files,” considering them “a starting point for a great national dialogue that would To set a road map towards building a just and capable state, as for the five files: constitutional reforms, the Senate, impartiality, expanded administrative decentralization, the civil state, and constitutional reforms.

In conclusion, the recommendations emanating from the conference were collected for study and formulation, defining an action plan and forming a follow-up committee to implement and keep pace with the conference’s conclusions

Click HERE for the article in Arabic from the official website from the Lebanese Ministry of Information

More about the One Voice Foundation HERE

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor inducted to the International Sports Hall of Fame

The International Sports Hall of Fame is a Non-Profit Foundation founded by the legendary Dr. Robert Goldman, MD, and established to honor the world’s greatest athlete legends in all sports. It’s one of the most prestigious Halls of Fame in the whole world. Just as important is what Hall of Fame candidates do later in life, in giving back to others and society, with charity work, and mentoring young people.

The induction ceremonies are held annually every March at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival, which is the world’s largest annual sports weekend, hosting 175,000 attendees and over 22,000 competing athletes. 

The list of inductees is beyond stellar: Arnold Schwarzenegger (first awardee and currently the head of the award’s board) the godfather of fitness Jack LaLanne, 5 time World Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield, UFC world champions like Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey, Bas Rutten, WWE’s Paul “Triple H” Levesque, action movie stars like Jason Statham, Michael Jay White, Cynthia Rothrock, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson; bodybuilder legends like Dr. Franco Columbu, Lee Haney, Lou Ferrigno; amazing sports’ icons like Johnny Damon, Eddie George, Hershel Walker, Marcus Allen, Peter Westbrook, Earl Monroe, Johnny Bench, and martial arts’ references like GGM Ernie Reyes, AnnMaria DeMars, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez and Billy Blanks.

With HRH Prince Gharios El Chemor, the first Arab to be awarded, the class of 2022 inductees:

  • Grandmaster Ron Van Clief: 5X World Martial Art Champion and Actor
  • Vinny Paz: 5X World Boxing Champion
  • Burt Watson: Boxing/MMA Coordinator and Manager
  • Frank Shamrock: Former 4X UFC Middleweight Champion
  • Shannon Knapp: Founder Invicta Fighting Championships
  • Stipe Miocic: Former UFC Heavyweight 6X world Champion and Firefighter

Last Saturday, The prince of Ghassan was awarded for his multi-awarded (in four continents) global humanitarian work and his lifelong dedication to the martial arts being an internationally awarded grandmaster. HRH started in the martial arts (Judo) at only 4 years old, initially forced by his father. After that, fell in love with the Asian culture and all its aspects. Studied also Kung Fu, several styles of Karate, European fencing, Japanese swordsmanship, Jiu-Jitsu, Kali Silat, Kobudo, and his passion, the Aikido.

Acceptance speech

Started Aikido in 1986 and became an instructor for beginners in 1991. Got his black belt in 1992 being registered in Japan in 1993. In the same year founded the Shinken Institute (previously Bushido Budo kai), active until 2017 operating schools of Aikido and Japanese Culture in five cities in Brazil.

One of the masters who most influenced him was Steven Seagal being Seagal’s direct disciple, business associate, and personal friend for 5 years (1997-2002). Prince Gharios was the only teacher in South America to have such a relationship directly with Seagal.

Steven Seagal, a well-known
star of Hollywood is also a master of various martial arts styles and 7th. degree black belt in Aikido, and was (before the fame) the first Westerner to own and operate a school on Japanese soil.

Interview

In 1999, HRH has received “The Sports Merit” a Brazilian governmental award for his work for the martial arts. From 2003 until 2017 was a direct student of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei 8o.Dan (one of the few direct disciples of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba still alive). Was a pioneer, being personally responsible for the promotion of Aikido (Aikikai) in Curitiba (Parana, Brazil) from 1991 until 2010. Was directly responsible for forming dozens of black-belt instructors that became masters and are active today all over Brazil, teaching thousands of students. In 2020, was inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Honors during the largest martial arts event in the world, the Mega Martial Arts Hall of Honors 20th Anniversary at the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.

In 2021, has received the AOF Icon award from the Action On Film International Film Festival, also known as the Action On Film Festival. The AOF Icon award was received by many Hollywood stars and world-class martial artists like David Carradine, Jeff Speakman, Cynthia Rothrock, Don “the dragon” Wilson, Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Art Camacho, Michael Jay White, Nick Mancuso, Tom Sizemore, Michael Madsen, Bill Duke, Bob Wall, John Saxson, Kim Coates, etc.
In the same year, was inducted in the Grandmasters Hall of Fame of the World Martial Arts Masters Association counting on several major names in the international martial arts as Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Ip Man, Royce Gracie, Samuel Kwok, Randy Couture, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Benny “the Jet” Urquidez, Steven Seagal, Don Wilson, Al Dacascos, Cynthia Rothrock, Ron Van Clief, Keith Vitali, etc.

Holds the 8th Dan (degree of black belt) and the title of Shihan (Grandmaster) in Aikibudo, the 5th (fifth) Dan in Aikido (certified by the Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan) the 5th Dan in Combat Hapkido and also holds black belts in Karate and Kobudo (Japanese weapons)

The prince also founded his own martial art style known as Shinken-Ryu Aikibudo LEARN MORE

The 11th Anniversary Induction Ceremony for the International Sports Hall of Fame was held in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, in Columbus, Ohio.

Watch here the full ceremony

More about The International Sports Hall of Fame https://sportshof.org/