On behalf of The Chairman and the Board of Directors of the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Vic), it is with my greatest pleasure to wish you all a very successful year ahead.
Our team has been very busy planning the launch of major new initiatives for the future benefit; many of which were years in the making. 2016 has seen a paradigm success in the ALCCI activities, including Trade Missions, assisting Australia and Lebanese Governments towards strong economic development, devoting platforms for networking and negotiations, and finally a major focus moving forward for 2017 has been on education, construction, finance, business, tourism and culture.
The Chamber takes a collaborative approach to building solid platforms to keep the industry, innovation, education, economic growth, growth market for jobs and much more, as we move forward together in 2017 with our members/sponsors and partners.
As a not for profit Chamber, the ALCCI connects with members in order to open up new markets for businesses, enhancing our membership which incorporates a diverse range of backgrounds, all with one aim of prosperity through business.
I am extremely privileged to acknowledge the visit to Australia of H.E. Gebran Bassil Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Minister of Lebanon in March/April this year. Minister Gebran is a true advocate towards the vitality of Lebanon’s diaspora and the growing role of Lebanon. Minister Bassil recognises that around 40 million Lebanese expatriates reside in 167 countries around the world. “We have presence in every single corner of the globe, and this represents a golden opportunity for us. What we are trying to do is to reconnect these expatriates through cultural exchanges, monetary interests, and the Lebanese traditions so they can have a positive impact on the economy. This concept has been going on for years; however, we are now materializing it into a state policy. After all, the flows of capital coming from the diaspora have maintained Lebanon’s economic standing during adverse times. We receive around USD8 billion annually from the diaspora; therefore, we are trying to build bridges to bumper their contributions to the homeland.”
Minister Bassil wants to build up relations based on values rather than interests. “We want to preserve our country’s stability by preserving our values. History has shown us that the prevalence of power makes us lose, that we need to build up on a chain of values to maintain solid foreign relations and a good domestic situation. We want Lebanon’s message of coexistence and tolerance to prevail and to echo all across the region to bring peace to the Middle East. We are a small player in this chessboard, but we can be a significant one if we put our values beforehand and form bridges between regions, between our Arab neighbours and us, and between the Arab world and Europe.”
His Excellency is the instigator of the new Lebanese Nationality Program website which was launched by the Lebanese government to help Lebanese people abroad (who don’t have their citizenship) reclaim their Lebanese nationality. This is an initiative launched by the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Emigrants to initiate and facilitate the process for people of Lebanese heritage.
Minister Bassil recently said:
“We need your help to restore Lebanese expats their Lebanese citizenship … With each person that restores his Lebanese citizenship, we give Lebanon a new day of life”
Our Chamber is extremely overwhelmed with joy and excitement to welcome HE Gebran Bassil to Australia this year and wish him and his delegation a very successful and rewarding association with Australia and beyond.
I am very excited to invite you all to attend Australia Week In Lebanon themed“G’Dy Lebanon” 4-9 May 2017 in Lebanon. The main aims and purpose of G’Dy Lebanon are to provide Australian Businesses the opportunity and platforms to extend their business across the international seas into the ready and prosperous lands of Lebanon, Middle East , The Gulf and Africa. This opportunity will be greatly achieved by attending the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Department LDE 2017. The LDE 2017 embraces all Lebanese Diaspora from all over the world. A wonderful opportunity for Australian Companies, businesses to further enhance their potential overseas. Truly a business venture not to be missed.
I look forward to a mutually rewarding association for 2017 and beyond and look forward to a reciprocally rewarding prosperous year ahead.
Mr Faddy Zouky OAM