Back To Roots participants explore the Faqra ruins, Monday, June 29, 2015. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Wandering through the ruins in Faqra, George Naameh explained that he was excited to see what had changed in Lebanon since he was last here six years ago.While many of 20-year-old Naameh's travel partners haven't been back to Lebanon in a long time, some of them have never visited the country at all.Those in the group he is traveling with are all participants in Back to Roots, a two-week immersion program for American- and Canadian-Lebanese youth who want to learn more about Lebanon. Back to Roots takes the group around Lebanon for a range of activities that include cultural and touristic tours and meetings with NGOs and politicians. Maya Gebeily, the assistant director and alumnus of Back to Roots, said the program aims to dispel the two simplified narratives about Lebanon: It's either a fun-loving Mediterranean gem or a desolate war-torn place. The Back to Roots program draws an awkward similarity to Israel's controversial Birthright program.Back to Roots is now in its sixth year.
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