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   IRI-ELCIM GALA DINNER AT HABTOOR october 9th, 2008   

Under the Patronage of H.E the Minister of Industry, Mr. Ghazi Zaiter, the Industrial Research Institute - IRI and the Euro-Lebanese Center for Industrial Modernization - ELCIM organized a Gala Dinner at Habtoor Grand Hotel on Thursday, October 9th, 2008.

The event was attended by H.E the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Fawzi Salloukh, H.E the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Elie Skaff, H.E Ambassador Patrick Laurent, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Lebanon, H.E the Ambassador of Denmark, Mr. Jan Top Christensen, H.E the Ambassador of Belgium, Mr. John Verkammen, and a large number of stakeholder representatives, along with industrialists from various fields.

The Gala Dinner was intended to honor a representative group of pioneers from Lebanese industry, people who have been toiling for so long and deserve recognition.

The event commenced with the National Anthem, after which the Director General of IRI, Dr. Bassam Frenn, spoke about new IRI services to industry, and the role ELCIM has been playing in that regard as a member of the IRI family. Dr. Frenn was followed by H.E Ambassador Patrick Laurent, who spoke about ELCIM’s role in modernizing the Lebanese manufacturing sector. Last but not least, H.E Minister Mr. Ghazi Zaiter, spoke about the role of the Ministry and IRI in promoting growth in the industrial sector.

Guests enjoyed their dinner. After which, Appreciation Awards were bestowed by H.E Minister Ghazi Zaiter and Dr. Bassam Frenn on 18 pioneers who have worked in industry for many years.

The pioneers were: Mr. Nabil Ladki, Mr. Toufic Mrad, the late Marwan Nasr, Mr. Jamil Mansour, Mr. Serge Hochar, Mr. Chafic Ghandour, Mr. Joseph Ghorra, Mr. Samir Jamaleddine, Mr. Ibrahim El Kadamani, Mr. Samih El Yaman, Mr. Nizar Choucair, Mr. Garbis Markarian, H.E. the late Georges Frem, the late Emile Cortas, the late Reda Ghaddar, the late Ahmad Kabbara, and the late Hisham Ghandour. Finally, an Appreciation Award was presented to H.E. Patrick Laurent for the efforts he has undertaken for Lebanon and Lebanese industry.

During the event, a documentary, “Living Industry,” which ELCIM produced as a tribute to Lebanese manufacturers, their workers and their craft, was shown. With the help of the very talented Director, Ms. Carole Mansour, ELCIM tried to tell the “story” of industry in Lebanon a little differently, through the recollections of practitioners who spent a life-time being productive….and building, along the way, the foundations for our future and the future of our children.

Moreover, a short presentation was made on one of ELCIM’s experts, Mr. Ali Wehbi, who also happens to be an Extreme Marathon runner. Mr. Wehbi has surmounted immense challenges, crossing deserts and climbing mountains in pursuit of his dream of raising funds for cancer research, in memory of his late mother.

The symbol of the IRI-ELCIM Gala dinner was the olive tree because the majestic olive tree is a symbol of endurance. Despite harsh conditions, it continues to grow, proud and strong, bearing a fruit that nourishes, heals and inspires. Therefore, ELCIM collaborated with the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (ADFC), an NGO, on planting 500 olive trees in the Upper Metn, as part of a drive for re-forestation after devastating fires.

Consequently, the banquet hall was decorated with beautiful orchids and branches of olive trees; each guest received two bars of olive oil soap as a souvenir. Finally, on their way out, each participant received a certificate of appreciation in their name from ELCIM and AFDC..


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