Kunhadi and the Arabic Open University (AOU) held a press conference on June 9, 2015 in the presence of the Minister of Culture H.E. Raymond Araiji, Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji represented by Colonel Qassem Abou Hamin, ISF Director General Major General Ibrahim Basbous represented by Colonel Rony Qoussaifi, to launch the new speeding campaign.
“We Won’t Forget You”
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, and in support of Kunhadi’s relentless effort to raise road safety awareness among Lebanese youth, AOU joined hands with the NGO to launch a speeding campaign in the objective of urging drivers to stop excessive speed, which is the leading cause of fatal car crashes among the youth, and respect the speed limits.
AOU President, Dr. Fairuz Sarkis, opened the ceremony by welcoming the Minister of Culture H.E. Raymond Araiji, and the representatives of security and military corps. Dr. Fairuz stressed on the significance of this campaign in light of the increasing toll of traffic fatalities in recent years, and the importance of efforts taken to begin the implementation of the New Traffic Law and hoped for more collaboration between concerned ministries to serve road safety better.
Dr. Sarkis then explained the role of AOU in developing the community, notably the youth, by offering them a high-level education and supportive tuitions whereby the university covers 70% of students’ tuition. The university also contributes in not only training youth, but also supporting them financially in their individual projects.
Kunhadi President, Mr. Fady Gebrane, then explained more about the new campaign and the radical change the correct implementation of the New Traffic Law could have on the country: Mr. Gebrane showcased traffic statistics taken from the Internal Security Forces (ISF) after the first month of the implementation of the traffic law in April 2015 that show a decrease of about 50% in numbers of crashes and death toll compared to April 2014.
Kunhadi president then proceeded to explain that the strict enforcement the Traffic Law could drive a minimum increase of 2% in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mr. Gebrane, also explained that the only correct legal way to implement the New Traffic Law begins with the meeting of the National Road Safety Council that has a main role of setting a comprehensive national strategy for implementing and improving road safety, which is not being done currently, and urged the Prime Minister to call for this meeting.
During his speech, the Minister of Culture confirmed the importance of having a traffic law but insisted that without consistent effort from the government and road users, the law alone cannot significantly improve road safety.
The Minister also expressed the importance of citizens’ conviction in safe driving habits and in regulations. “Road safety is a culture”, H.E. Araiji said.
The Minister concluded his speech by thanking the Arabic Open University for hosting the press conference about this critical cause and praised Kunhadi for their will to turn the tragic loss of a son into an initiative that has and will save many lives.