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The outcome is that Christians, historically preeminent stakeholders in the Lebanese government, seem to be playing an ever-waning role in state affairs. Administrators in Catholic schools view a diminishing Christian influence in government as cause for alarm. Without a strong Christian voice in politics, they fear lawmakers may potentially erode the freedoms that the Catholic school system at present enjoys, particularly in regard to its religious foundations.

In this context, Father Marwan stressed the vital importance that Catholic schools maintain their competitive edge. The combination of their high academic standards and commitment to diversity and universal values may very well ensure their survival in an ever-more religiously homogenized Lebanon.

The future of Lebanon’s Catholic schools, said Father Marwan, “relies on the extent to which these schools will remain centers of dialogue and crossroads of culture.”

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Based in Beirut, Canadian Spencer Osberg covers the Middle East for numerous publications. A native of Northern Ireland, Sarah Hunter’s photographs have appeared in many publications.

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Tags: Lebanon Education Muslim Christian-Muslim relations Emigration