The International Immigration Conference “FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRIPOLI AND THE NORTH – “YES WE CAN”

05 May 2023


Beirut Arab University - Tripoli Branch launched the International Immigration Conference for the Development of Tripoli and the North – Yes We Can” in cooperation with “Hommes d'Affaires Libanais de France -HALFA” and “Sunday Cultural Council”.

The ceremony was attended by the Mufti of Tripoli and the North, Sheikh Muhammad Tariq Imam, the Patriarchal Vicar Bishop Joseph Naffa, the Pastor of the Maronite Diocese of Tripoli, Youssef Soueif, the Melkite Archbishop of Tripoli and the rest of the North, Edward Daher, the President of the Maronite League in Lebanon, Ambassador Khalil Karam, the former Minister, Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Daher, and the Captain of the Syndicate. Engineers in Tripoli and the North, Engineer Bahaa Harb, members of the Syndicate Council, the global president of the Lebanese Cultural University in the world, His Excellency Mr. Abbas Fawaz, represented by Mr. Elie Al-Turk, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Manla Hospital, Mr. Tariq Manla, and representatives of ministries, municipalities, and cultural and scientific institutions. In addition to a group of businessmen and specialized economists who participated in the conference as speakers from the countries of diaspora: Chairman of the Lebanese Business Council in Kuwait, Ali Khalil, Chairman of the Council of Lebanese Executives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Rabih Al-Amin, President of the Global Organization of Partnership Units between the Public and Private Sectors in Geneva, Ziyad Hayek and Dr. Hatem Othman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Viva International in Belgium, Founder and CEO of Isocel Telecom in Cotonou, Benin, Robert Awad, International Consultant Richard Njeim from France, Executive Director of JP Morgan in France, Mounir Chahine, and CEO of Blue Sea Telecommunications from the United States of America.

And from within Lebanon: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Lebanese Investors in the World, Jacques Sarraf, President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, President of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce, Salim Al-Zeani, President of the Economic and Social Council, Charles Arbid, Head of Research and Economic Analysis at Byblos Bank, Dr. Nassib Ghobril, Director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs Dr. Sami Nader, President of the International Federation of Lebanese Businessmen and Women, Dr. Fouad Zmokhal, Dr. Hassan Dennawi, Acting President of the Special Economic Zone in Tripoli, Dr. Claude Hayek, CEO of the Lebanese American Association JOBROOTER, President of the Association of Economic Journalists in Lebanon Sabine Aweys, the CEO of the Lebanese Institute for Market Studies, Dr. Patrick Mardini, the researcher at the International Information Institute, Mr. Mohamed Shams El-Din, Mr. Elie Lebbs, Vice President of the Syndicate of Tourist Guides in Lebanon, and the Executive Director of the Cultural Agenda, Myriam Shouman.

In addition to the partners in the conference, the Lebanese-French businessmen gathered, led by Professor Antoine Menassa, and the Sunday cultural meeting was held by Dr. Ahmed Elmi. They were received by the President of the University, Professor Amr Galal El-Adawi, along with the Vice President, Professor Khaled Baghdady, the deans of the university and its academic and administrative family.

The ceremony started with the Lebanese and Beirut Arab University anthems, then Miss Nala Makkouk, Master of the ceremony, focused in her speech that according to Beirut Arab University’s mission to develop the region around, it hosted and organized this conference in order to revitalize, improve and develop the economic situation and contribute to the promotion of employment opportunities for promising young graduates and stop the drain of emigration.

Professor Amr Galal El-Adawi, President of the University, welcomed the Conference and its substance, looking forward to "the role of young people in Lebanon's revival and work together to achieve it by supporting scientific and professional paths".

He also noted that the University looks forward to contribute into multiple development through its scientific programmes and moving through specialized programmes to establish a partnership with local communities. "

He also thanked the partners for their preparation and cooperation in organizing the Conference and hoped that "there would be steps to follow up the substance of the Conference and implement its recommendations".

Dr. Bassem Bachache, from Sunday Cultural Council, delivered a speech, noting "the tragic conditions in which the country is passing and the Lebanese feels frustrated, that is why we have to work to grow some hope in the hearts of desperate people, by joining forces with emigrants and people who are living in Lebanon."

He continued “Countries are not measured by its area, but by the amount of their giving and Lebanon is great by its creative sons". He also refused to name the diaspora for immigrants, but as members of diaspora and adhere with them because they made sacrifices and turned to be the lungs of the homeland.”

Mr. Antoine Menassa, President of Hommes d'Affaires Libanais de France -HALFA, also spoke, thanking the President of the University and everyone who contributed to the success of the conference, considering that this is a great opportunity for us to meet in Tripoli in Northern Lebanon to look together for how Lebanon can benefit from the enormous resources and the willingness of the Lebanese expatriates to support their country of origin...

He continued, “I tell you that it is our duty to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors, especially in this global and regional crisis we are facing. We have a great cause to work on to support making tomorrow a better place for our youth in Lebanon.

Times are changing, and we are on the verge of a new phase. It is true that we are suffering from monotony and stagnation, where many of our institutions are far from modernization, but fortunately, despair is not a destiny.

For that, we need to create another model to get out of the crisis and to better secure the future.  We need to rebuild on new foundations and redefine a new pattern that reorganizes the country’s finances, to ensure the continuity of the country and the future of our youth.

Thus, Unity is a necessity, and it is our duty to propose tangible measures, within a realistic program, that simulates the size of the current crisis and to rebuild according to a unified plan and program, in addition to restoring legitimacy.

Sometimes, one needs a different reading and that we listen to each other without sensitivity.  I refuse to feel defeated because success is an unstoppable goal, and I am proud of being from an immigrant family, just as I am proud of being Lebanese..."

Mr. Rami Baitieh, who is an emigrant, gave a speech about the title of the conference recalling his experience since he migrated, overcoming obstacles and moving to France. He mentioned also his excellence there until became the chairman of the Board of Directors of one of the world's largest companies, Carrefour. He drew the attention that he abided by impulsiveness and sincerity in work, and what he achieved depended on "belief in God and the satisfaction of parents and creative work by fulfilling what is required, and on conditions based on a heartfelt desire for work, rejection of the work we do not like, and learning from mistakes and not repeating them".

At the end of the opening ceremony, Professor El Adawi, President of the University, presented the University’s Memorial Medal as a tribute to the participants in the opening session. Dr. Ahmad Alami was also honored on behalf of “Sunday Cultural Council”.

The Conference was concluded and resulted the formation of a unified programme of work for cooperation between businessmen and their councils in the North, countries abroad and universities, which will:

• Follow-up to organize periodic conferences that works on creating remote employment opportunities, prepare young people and build their capacities to enter the labour market and attract foreign investments.

• Launch of the e-platform “Career flow” to link job opportunities available in investor companies of expatriates inside and outside Lebanon with young graduates from Tripoli and the North who are wishing to work as well as train them.

• Establish a task force who is responsible for information management and feeds in addition to control them.

• Contact companies and Lebanese business owners abroad to feed the electronic pages with information and publicity to those companies.

• Communicate with universities to provide online preparation and training programs

• Develop a strategic media plan about Tripoli to give the true picture and not the stereotyped one

• Develop a plan to build behavioral and cognitive shells for university and school students

• Develop a plan to improve technical shells in line with the future labour market.

• Encourage expatriate capitals to invest in Agro-Tech industry, knowledge industry, creative industry, creative industry, fashion, act, and movies industry), health industry and engineering in collaboration with stakeholders

• Support the economic zone so that it will change from dream to reality.

• Make Tripoli a distinctive brand in cooperation with stakeholders.

• Establish committees to implement recommendations and monitor them.