A major whole day event highlighting Tyre’s relevance, to the past, the present and the future was organized by the International Association to Save Tyre and the American Committee for Tyre, in cooperation with The Honorable Congressman Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.), at the U.S. Library of Congress on Wednesday June 3rd, 2015.
A free symposium titled "Tyre Day at the Library of Congress", in collaboration with the African and Middle Eastern Division in the Library of Congress, was held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on that day in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.
"This is the Library’s first major conference on the rich archaeology of the Tyre region and its contribution to world civilization," said Mary-Jane Deeb who had a major contribution orchestrating that event.
The first panel discussed the history of Tyre, while the second panel focused on Phoenician commerce and art, and the third panel spotlighted Tyre in the Bible. During the Symposium, domestic and international expert panelists examined the legacy of the Queen of the Seas. (See Symposium Program)
One of the crucial questions raised during a day-long symposium at the Library of Congress was how can important heritage sites like Tyre be saved from being looted and destroyed. James F. Fitzpatrick, an adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law School, believes this can only be done with the cooperation of the international community: “Somehow the international community must come up with a solution together and bring an end to this disrespect for the past,” he concluded.
The day-long Symposium was followed by a private tour of the Library and ended with a private Book Display of the Library’s book collection on Tyre and a dinner reception in the Great Hall. During a tribute to Dr. Chalabi at a dinner-reception, Senator Anne-Marie Lizin reminded the several hundred guests that they must never forget the reason for their presence at the Library of Congress that evening. “It is due largely to the tremendous efforts of Dr. Chalabi who is a symbol of a courageous Phoenician woman during these difficult times for Lebanon.”
At the dinner-reception, two giant leaders of the 20th Century, the late Senator Claiborne de Borda Pell (D-RI), and The Honorable Esther Coopersmith received “Recognition Awards” for their pioneering roles in the founding of the American Committee for Tyre.
Among the many guests was Clay Pell who received the award for his late grandfather. “I am thrilled to be here. On behalf of my entire family,” he said, “I would like to thank Dr. Chalabi, Ambassador David Killion, and the American Committee for Tyre for their recognition of my grandfather. It is not only a testament to his commitment to preserving Tyre, but also to your commitment to preserving the historical site for the benefit of generations to come.”
Also, among the special guests for the evening was Jeffrey Gonano who became internationally famous when his $140 raffle ticket won him a million-dollar Picasso watercolor “L'Homme au Gibus” (The Man With The Opera Hat). “This instant good fortune,” Gonano said, “has significantly changed my life… Moreover it raised in me the curiosity to discover Why Tyre?”