VINTAGE LEBANESE ACTIVISTS
May Habib Khoury Saadé Arida (1926 – 13 May 2018)
One of the emblematic figures of the Golden Age of Lebanon, May Arida was a member of the founding committee of the International Festival of Baalbeck, head of the music, ballet and opera commissions, vice-president of the festival for 6 years before taking over from 1973 to 2011 – when she handed the torch to Nayla de Freige
From 1953 to 1961, she was president of the Lebanese Water Ski Federation. She organised the first World Water Ski Championships in Lebanon, in collaboration with the Lebanese Water Skiing Federation Committee. She also won once the Lebanese Skiing Championship.
Vice-President of the South Lebanon Support Committee (Aïta el-Chaab), she was in charge of creating shelters, artesian wells, a school and a dispensary in this troubled region.
May Arida was a member of the Jeunesses Musicales du Liban, the executive committee of the National Conservatory of Music and a member of the committee of Friends of the Conservatoire du Liban in 1952.
Gold Medal of Lebanese Merit, which was awarded to her by President Sleiman Frangié on February 28, 1976.
National Cedar Badge to the rank of Commander, presented by President Émile Lahoud on June 22, 2000.
King Hussein of Jordan awarded her the Star of Jordan (al-Kawkab al-Ourdouni) as commander in 1963.
French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing gave her the Knight’s Cross of the Legion of Honor on September 8, 1978.
She is decorated with the title of Commander of the Order of the Italian Solidarity Star by the Italian President Carlo Azelio Ciampi on September 21, 2005.
– Member of The National Heritage Foundation from 1996 –2018.
– Member of the executive committee of the Lebanese National Conservatory, 1952.
– Founded the first acting school in Lebanon with Mounir Abou Debs in 1960.
– Named among the top 100 European and Arab Women managers by the EPAM Media group, Women Chief ExecutiveOfficers of Belgium, and BE press agency.
Awards and Distinctions:
– Shield of Appreciation from the Arab Administrative Association on the occasion of the 1st Forum on Festivals in the Arab Countries, 2009.
– Commander of the Isabelle la Catholique Order from the King of Spain, 2009.
– Commander of the Star rank of the Italian Solidarity from President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 2005.
– Commander of National Order of Cedars from President Emile Lahoud, 2000.
– Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur from President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, 1978.
– Gold Medal of Lebanese Merit from President Suleiman Franjié, 1976.
Establishing with members of the Baalbeck Committee the Theater of Baalbeck Festival to give students an opportunity to perform on stage, 1968.
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