The President Mrs. Bahia Hariri

Mrs. Bahia Hariri

Bahia Hariri has always believed in Lebanon and the Lebanese people. “My fellow citizens are creating the future,” she says. “If we succeed in creating a truly modern state, with everyone able to live there without any borders, advocating law for everybody, everywhere, the Lebanese will be an inspiration to the rest of the world.” Bahia was born the third child of a modest family; her father was a farmer, her mother a housewife. Still, her mother was keen to provide adequate education for her children. Bahia went to school at age five and has fond memories of all her teachers. She was a brilliant pupil who continued to become a brilliant student. Despite dreaming of a medical career, she eventually studied teaching upon her mother’s advice. After graduating, Bahia started teaching in a small village before returning to her home city of Saida. Ten years later, in 1979, she headed the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development created by her brother Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, providing education scholarships to tens of thousands of Lebanese youth during the civil war. Meanwhile, she was also married, gave birth to and raised four children, while managing to maintain the right balance between her personal and professional life.

Education is at the root of everything;
it is the first step towards any change

“I like giving young people the necessary tools to help them build their own future. My family helped me gain trust in myself, but not every woman is as lucky as I was. That’s why our aim now is to help youth, especially women in their career development through building human capacities and activating the civil involvement in the process of social change.” But finding the true mechanism for putting theory into practice remains the trickiest part. “We have to learn every day,” she says.

Trophies and Awards


French Order of Merit, knighted by the President of the French Republic, François Mitterrand


Lebanese Rice Order of Officer’s Rank


Aga Khan Prize for the Restoration of the Grand Age Collector 


Golden Apple Award by the International Federation of Writers and Tourist Journalists


French Order of Merit, knighted by the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac


Honorary doctorate from the American University of Science and Technology AUST


Honorary Doctorate of Law, University of Dundee, United Kingdom


Legion d ‘honneur of the French Republic


Strategic Partnership Award, Lebanese American University


BIAF Award, Beirut International Awards Festivals


International Medal for Leadership Excellence and Contributions to International Education from the Center of Excellence in the United States

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