As another year draws to a close, it is with a heart full of pride that I address you on the achievements and accolades of the Australia Lebanon Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (Vic) (ALCCI) over the past 12 months. 2017 has been a year filled with opportunity and success; it has been a year of new beginnings and a plethora of dynamic opportunity. It is with much excitement that I can inform you of our accomplishments this year, and what we have to look forward to in the next!
It is with resounding joy in my heart that I have the esteemed honour and privilege to have extended the warmest of welcomes to a Luncheon hosted by the ALCCI in honour of HE Gibran Bassil Foreign Affairs & Emigrants Minister for Lebanon earlier this year. In my years I have come to live by the motto “Making a difference is the key to success”, this could not ring more true than in Excellency Gibran Bassil. His overwhelming and tireless efforts to bring together international contingents and Diasporas, to enhance, enrich and exhibit the beauty of our homeland Lebanon is a true testament to his driven and hardworking spirit. His drive, passion and enthusiasm to be the change is the true measure of his success in Lebanon and abroad. Truly so grateful for his innovation and drive in making the LDE the astounding success it is today. He has been an honouring example of everything the ALCCI stands for, by pioneering a new page in Lebanon’s history, by opening it up to a wider audience and sharing her beauty with the rest of the world. He is truly building bridges of opportunity for all of us and further enhancing and allowing us to bring Australian Toils to Phoenician Lands. It is with great confidence I can say today, that we truly have a reference in Lebanon that supports our existence as a chamber of commerce, and that is HE Gebran Bassil, His Excellency is the future of a progressive Lebanon that we all want. He has boosted confidence in our new generation, not just in Lebanon, but around the world. I personally witnessed the tireless efforts and hard work that he and his team put in to ensure Lebanon receives the best representation abroad targeting all facets of economic stimulus to Lebanon. Today, we are very thankful of our Lebanese Government who boosts stability and confidence in the country, made possible through unity, consensus and harmony of all political parties. In particular, I am extremely proud and thankful to HE General Michel Aoun President of the Republic of Lebanon for his tireless hard work, dedication and commitment to ensuring Lebanon’s economic strength and economic stability. And we hope they all work together for the benefit of the Lebanese people who have unbearably suffered for decade’s political, economic and military crisis. Today, we are proud to say that we have successfully created the International Chamber House in Lebanon, under the benefaction of His Excellency Mr Bassil. Through this catalyst we are able to unify and amalgamate all Lebanese chambers of commerce throughout the world, to work hard for an economically solid Lebanon. We are also striving hard to persuade the wider Australian Business community to invest in Lebanon.
The ALCCI has been extremely busy in 2017; Honouring The Hon Martin Pakula MP State Attorney General and HE Glenn Miles Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, attended LDE 2017, meet with HE General Michel Aoun President of the Republic of Lebanon, HE Saad Hariri The Prime Minister of the Republic of Lebanon, The Maronite Patriarch, The Mofti, Dr. Salim George Sfeir CEO of Bank of Beirut and Honorary Chairperson of the ALCCI, Dr Joseph Jabbra from ULA, meeting with Mr Mohammad Chocair President of the Beirut Chamber of
Commerce & Industry and it’s representatives and with Mr Toufic Dabbousy President of the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce & Industry and it’s representatives and many more dignitaries and promoted Australia during our Trade Mission in 2017 to Lebanon themed “G’Day Lebanon. I am further honoured to advise that for the first time, both the Business Women’s Group and the Young Entrepreneurs were part of the delegation to Lebanon. A wonderful array of breakfast seminars, business meetings and so many other events were organised by both these Groups. I am so deeply proud to advise that both these groups are the first of their kind all over the world; what a great accolade for the ALCCI.
On Monday 23 October 2017, at the Presidential Palace, Beirut, the Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Lady Cosgrove as guests of the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency Mr Michel Naim Aoun, and Mrs Nadia Al Chami, attended a Ceremonial Welcome. It was my greatest pleasure and privilege to have been invited by the Australian government to attend this official visit.
The Governor-General, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), as guest of the Caretaker of the Commonwealth War Graves facilities in Beirut, Mr Yahya Bsat, viewed Australian War Graves laid a wreath at the base of the commemorative cenotaph. Afterwards, at Martyrs’ Square, Beirut, the Governor-General, as guest of the Minister of Defence, His Excellency Mr Yacoub Sarraf, attended a commemorative ceremony and laid a wreath at the Martyrs’
In the evening, at the Australian Residence, the Governor-General and Lady Cosgrove, as guests of the Ambassador to Lebanon, His Excellency Mr Glenn Miles, attended a reception in recognition of United Nations Day with Australian supported aid agencies operating in Lebanon.
In 2017 the ALCCI hosted many business seminars, business networking meetings, attending many special events so of which were but not limited to:
- Mr Raed Charafeddine First Vice Governor of Banque of Beirut
- Attended LDE 2017 in Lebanon
- Coordinated our Trade Mission to Lebanon themed “G’Day Lebanon 2017
- HE Samir Geagea Member of the Lebanese National Assembly of Representatives, Executive Chairman of
- Lebanese Forces visit to Melbourne
- Medyar Business Building & Construction Seminars in both Melbourne and Sydney
- Hosted our Annual Gala Ball themed “Making Difference”
I am extremely proud to acknowledge the wonderful support of our partner Bank of Sydney, who have been a dynamic force for the ALCCI.
As a Chamber it filled our hearts with pride when The Honourable Marlene Kairouz MP was elected as the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation last year and this year Minister Kairouz was also elected as the Minister for Local Government again the first female of Lebanese decent to do so in Australia, we marked this significant achievement by presenting her with an award on behalf of the Chamber at the Business Women’s Group Business in Fashion Event.
This year we also hosted a superstar studded spectacular Gala Ball themed “ Making a Difference” held at the Palladium Ballroom Crown Casino Melbourne . Our event included the talents of Mr Wissam Braidy, Miss Rim Saidi, Mr Faddy Charbel, Miss Joanna Karaky, with Michel Fadel’s Musical Quartet and so much more. It was an honour to have also hosted Dr Salim Georges Sfeir CEO of Bank of Beirut from Lebanon who is also the Honorary Chairperson of the ALCCI, Mr Antonine Menessa President of HALFA from France and Mr Firas Abdelrahman and Mr Nadim Kazma from Medyar in Lebanon . Congratulations to all award recipients being The Young Entrepreneurs Award was received by Mr Jerome Zouky & Mr Daniel Trjukla – Water for Life, The Business Women’s Award received by Mrs Abla Amad OAM, Best Business Strategist was received by Mr George Ghossayn OAM, Mr Peter Bader and Mr Ali Khodr and finally the President’s Award was received by Dr Salim Georges Sfeir.
The ALCCI has been established to create an economic bridge between Australia, Lebanon and the resto of the world. We have worked tirelessly to boost ties between Australia and Lebanon, and encourage political exchange and economic support which we believe is part and parcel of the relationship. This has been done through trade missions, network seminars, forums and aggressive lobbying with both governments for the benefit of our respective business communities in Lebanon and Australia. We have indeed become an important contact and consulting body for Government and business interests.
I must take this significant opportunity to extend my unwavering and ever grateful appreciation to Australia and her successive government for affording all immigrants the opportunities to thrive and peruse their dreams. It is true that Australia is the land of opportunity with her “golden soils and wealth for toils her beauty and rich and rare”, we are eternally indebted to this homeland for being a springboard of endless opportunities, and for allowing us to live our dreams. We must thank the founders of this nation who built our constitution on the philosophies of liberty, freedom and a fair go. A philosophy each of us Australiana encompass in our everyday lives. My humblest and utmost gratitude is extended to the Australian government for continuing to be a pinnacle of strength, support and positivity, in all of the Chamber’s endeavours.
The strength of the ALCCI is in the diversity and skills of its members. We seek to include members from all facets of business, commerce, tourism, hospitality, education, health, construction, banking and technology. Help us to build the ALCCI by encouraging membership among colleagues and contacts.
I invite you to engage in our upcoming events for 2018, including but not limited to: Banking & Finance Seminars with our Partner Bank of Sydney, Business Networking Seminars, the ALCCI Business Women’s Group events and the ALCCI Young Entrepreneurs events and finally our 2018 Gala Ball.
We look forward to another successful year working with our partner the Bank of Sydney, to whom we remain grateful for their ongoing support.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank sincerely the Executive Directors, The Board Members, The Matriarch, The Business Women’s Group and The Young Entrepreneurs of the ALCCI, of whom I am deeply indebted for their hard work, commitment and tremendous support towards further enhancing the ALCCI.
On behalf of Executive Directors, Board Members, The Matriarch, the Business Women’s Group and the Young Entrepreneurs, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and wish you and your families a very Merry and Happy Festive Season and a very prosperous New Year.
Faddy Zouky OAM