On the 3rd of August 2009, the the University of Balamand and the town of Kaftoun celebrated the opening of the "Daad and Farid Karam Reserve", donated to the university by Dr. Farid Karam. Dr Karam and his wife attended the ceremony, Bishop Louca representing Patriarch Hazim, the president of the municipality of Kaftoun, Mr. Nakhle Fares, officials from the North, and the President of the University Dr. Salem, and its deans and directors also were in attendance.
In keeping with the Scout Motto "Be Prepared", Dr. Karam, as any good scout, has in establishing the Daad & Farid Karam Reserve proven that he is a well prepared individual indeed!
In a short period not exceeding two years, he has managed to miraculously transform the property, inherited from his father thirty years ago, at the base of the el Majdel Mountain from a modest shepherd's residence to a superb scouting and camping facility with well planned and equipped camp grounds.
This private reserve extends on grounds of almost 60,000 m2 primarily formed of scrub oaks, wild pistachio trees, weeping willows, eucalyptus, chestnuts, carob (Ceratonia Siliqua) trees, hazel trees as well as a large variety of fruiting trees. The idea of establishing the reserve has been in Dr. Karam's mind since childhood when he used to accompany his father Karam (a former provost of AUB) on hunting trips to this side of the el Majdel Mountain. His attachment to this forest had grown over the years since he joined the Lebanese Scouting Movement at the young age of ten and after which it was his practice to frequent this part of the forest with his scouting troop on camping trips. His lifetime involvement in scouting only reinforced his love of nature and his appreciation for the unspoiled and pristine environment of this forest.
Dr. Karam has been involved in scouting since childhood. He was elected president of the Federation Lebanese of Scouting in 1971, which he served until 1976 at a time which he had to flee Lebanon because of the raging Civil War and immigrate to United States of America. Dr. Karam was also twice elected as vice-president of the International Scouting Committee based in Geneva, Switzerland. He is presently a life member of the World Scout Foundation [WSF], chaired by the King of Sweden. This is an honor bestowed on a select few volunteers who have demonstrated their lifetime commitment to Scouting and are successful in their fields of endeavor. There are presently only four WSF life members from Australia, Switzerland, Venezuela and Lebanon. Dr. Karam is Lebanon's representative.
Scouting was introduced to Lebanon in 1912. After Lebanon gained independence in 1943, scouting spread rapidly throughout the country. Presently, the Lebanese Scouting Federation, which is the governing body of scouting in Lebanon, boasts nineteen formal groups and associations. Boy Scouts usually participate in scouting activities from age 4 up to age 18. Parents participate in their kids activities and volunteer to teach them various skills that they need to progress from one rank to another. These activities prepare boys and young men to be good citizens in the society. Scouting prepares them to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes based on the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The Scout Oath and Law slightly vary from one country to another, but their essence and sprit remain the same. Here are the Scout Oath and Law of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA):
On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
- A Scout is Trustworthy. A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him.
- A Scout is Loyal. A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and nation.
- A Scout is Helpful. A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.
- A Scout is Friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different from his own.
- A Scout is Courteous. A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along.
- A Scout is Kind. A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing.
- A Scout is Obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them.
- A Scout is Cheerful. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
- A Scout is Thrifty. A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
- A Scout is Brave. A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.
- A Scout is Clean. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean.
- A Scout is Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.
The entry fee to the Daad And Farid Karam Reserve is fixed at the symbolic price of one US Dollar or the equivalent 1, 500 LL. Anyone wishing to visit the reserve could contact Dr. Karam at +961-1-802-962 (01/802962 local) or 961-3-417-707 (03/417707 local) or his brother Mr. George Karam in Kaftoun at +961-6-922-205 (06/922205 local). Dr. Karam is thinking of transforming the reserve into an independent trust, whose board of directors would be trained representatives of a bank, members of the family as well as a neutral person, and whose mandate would be to preserve capital and utilize income from investments to support the reserve. Another idea is bequeathing the reserve to a university for administration and sustenance with strict clause prohibiting its sale.
This Reserve has been established entirely through the philanthropy of Dr. Karam and his late wife Daad. This is a small but important step in providing Lebanon yet another essential element of a civil society. Bravo!
In addition to these photograps of the reserve taken August 2004, we also invite you to examine the panoramic view of the reserve grounds and it' surrounding areas below.