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Beyond the Stage
Wissam Saliba

They say art imitates life, but sometimes, life itself becomes the greatest performance. As an actor, I spend my life stepping into different shoes, portraying various experiences. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the emotional depth and sheer joy I witnessed at the recent “Night to Shine” event, hosted by SKILD Center here in Lebanon.

For years, I’ve been involved with various NGOs, volunteering and offering support wherever I could. But with each interaction, a curious realization dawned on me. While I intended to offer service, the experience itself became a profound lesson in empathy and personal growth. Nowhere was this more evident than at “Night To Shine” hosted by SKILD Center.

Beyond Labels: A Community of Strength

SKILD isn’t just a center; it’s a beacon of hope in a country grappling with its own challenges. Here, amidst the “insane adversity” faced by similar organizations in Lebanon, SKILD fosters a remarkable sense of unity. It’s not just about bringing people together; it’s about creating a space where resources blossom, hearts overflow with determination, and awareness spreads like wildfire. Witnessing this firsthand was an honor, and being invited to MC their “Night to Shine” event filled me with immense pride.

The Craft Space: Where Everyone Shines

Our guests were abuzz with excitement, eager to showcase their impressive crafting talents. The Craft Space was a hive of activity as they proudly designed their names on glittering stars. These personalized stars weren’t just decorations; they served as a beautiful reminder that everyone who participated truly shines with their own unique talents. It was a powerful testament to the inherent creativity and strength that resides within each individual at SKILD.

The Spotlight Finds Its Home

The evening itself was nothing short of magical. As an actor, I’ve reveled in the spotlight, but the pure, unadulterated joy radiating from the men and women at SKILD that night surpassed any stage performance. It was a celebration of inclusion, a testament to the normalcy and appreciation these individuals deserve every single day. The atmosphere shimmered with love, acceptance, and a shared sense of belonging.

Spreading Awareness, Bridging Divides

The event wasn’t just about revelry; it was a powerful call to action. The passionate speeches resonated deeply. The fight for equal opportunities, the drive to shatter societal stigmas surrounding those with special needs – it was a revelation. The very notion of labeling these extraordinary individuals as “different” or “unworthy” seemed anathema in the face of their genuine spirit.

A Shared Mission, a United Family

Witnessing this collective resolve ignited a fire within me. This wasn’t just SKILD’s mission; it became a shared purpose. Changing entrenched perceptions, dismantling societal barriers – these were the goals we all embraced that night. Being part of this remarkable family, this haven of love and acceptance, was a privilege beyond words.

I’ve reveled in the spotlight, but the pure, unadulterated joy radiating from the men and women at SKILD that night surpassed any stage performance

 

The Final Curtain: A Beacon of Hope

As the final curtain fell on “Night to Shine,” a profound sense of hope lingered. The tireless work of SKILD, the unwavering spirit of the individuals they serve, and the collective commitment to create a more inclusive society – these were the powerful notes that resonated long after the last song faded.

This experience wasn’t just about volunteering or attending an event. It was about being a part of something bigger, a testament to the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity and shine brightly. And as for me, it was a powerful reminder – the greatest performances often happen off-stage, in the real world, where compassion, acceptance, and the fight for equality take center stage.

Wissam Saliba

Although Wissam's first experience in front of the camera came at the age of 5, his passion for acting ignited at 12, solidifying it as his career goal.
After studying and graduating from Elie Lahoud's conservatory in Amshit, Wissam immediately left for LA following high school to pursue acting. There, he graduated from the prestigious Stella Adler Studio and UCLA, earning degrees in both acting and directing. He further honed his craft with intensive training at Brian Reise's studio in Hollywood.
Wissam's dedication paid off. He performed in several plays, short films, and independent features in LA. Notably, his portrayal of Lord Capulet received positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, and his role in the Fox TV movie "Ballistica" gained recognition throughout the Middle East. After seven years, Wissam decided to return to Lebanon to be closer to family and further propel his acting and producing career.
Back in Lebanon, Wissam landed his breakout role as Ahmad in "Ahmad W Christina" produced by Marwa Group. He has since pursued his dream project and launched his own podcast, "At Wissam's." He remains actively involved in various acting projects across television, film, and theater. His recent work includes the play "Ekher Cigara" and the sequel to the hit series "2020" titled "2024." Looking ahead, Wissam is involved in an upcoming untitled musical premiering at the prestigious Ehden Festival and a Netflix series titled "Franklin."

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