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A Prominent Statesman & Generous Philanthropist in his Country
An Influential Leader on the International Level
Honorary Doctorates
Medals & Decorations
Certificates/Plaques of Recognition

His Excellency Mr. Issam M. Fares was born in Bayno, Akkar, North Lebanon in 1937. After graduating from the Tripoli College concentrating on business, he worked in the Arabian Gulf and rose rapidly in the realm of investment and international business. He founded dozens of major corporations, and cultivated business and political contacts with leaders in Lebanon, the Arab East, Europe, the US, Canada, and Latin America. Ranging from industry to services, trade, and to communication media, these corporations employ over 70,000 people. The corporations under the name of Wedge Group include Wedge Trust Corporation, Wedge Bank, Wedge Real Estate, Minefa Holdings, and Farinvest.

As a leading Lebanese statesman with extensive connection in the region and in the West, Mr. Fares is called upon frequently to deliver lectures, to participate in panel discussions, and to issue statements on topical subjects. He has lectured at the Council on Foreign Relations, at Tufts University, at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow, at the University of Balamand, and frequently at special political events in Lebanon.

A Prominent Statesman & Generous Philanthropist in his Country
Issam Fares held key positions in Lebanon, assuming the post of Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Lebanon, chairing a great number of governmental committees, and the post of an active member of Parliament. He transformed the office of Deputy Prime Minister to a hub of political activity and to the preparation of serious studies on all issues submitted to the Council of Ministers.

The great needs of Lebanon after its war led Mr. Fares to concentrate his efforts on the democratization and reconstruction of Lebanon, on improving Lebanon’s relations with the international community, and on working with all concerned for a just and stable peace in the region. In his opinion, a just peace is the best guarantee for a future Lebanon that is free, pluralistic, and democratic. Fares became a prominent Lebanese statesman with great influence on the political process, nationally and regionally. In this capacity, he supports all those who in Lebanon or outside Lebanon could contribute to the welfare of his country.

On the political level, and in his capacity as member of Parliament and as Deputy Prime Minister, Fares mobilized his world-wide network of relationships to draft modern laws and to pursue governmental policies leading to Lebanon’s financial stability and to its economic progress.

Throughout his political career, he held a series of reunions and meetings with scores of politicians and political figures and a string of diplomats, religious dignitaries of different sects, economists, jurists, businessmen… He raised the volatile developments with a great number of political parties, unions, syndicates, as well as social, developmental, and cultural sectors. He never refrained from holding any meeting that would serve Lebanon's interests.

Fares' performance mainly relied on offering solutions to the various problems and dilemmas, away from controversies and disputes. He persistently endeavored to build up a UNITED, UNIFIED nation: the nation of the compatriot, the nation of development, justice, and righteousness. He always showed commitment, in words and deeds, to three factors which he considered indispensable for Lebanon's recovery: National unity, democracy, and a balanced, comprehensive development.

Issam Fares knew how to fill his prominent place, his renowned position, thus giving the title of 'Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon' a distinguished unprecedented role. Fares became a patriotic symbol, a valuable reference to any party who aims at working for Lebanon's recovery and prosperity.

He neither disregarded the State's rights nor bargained on the national public interests. He constantly advocated Lebanon's transition from the era of feuds and dissensions to the era of achievements and realizations, from the area of sectarianism, favoritism, and quota system, to the era of patriotism and competence.

Indeed, Fares always focused his attention and devoted his efforts to reduce Lebanon's high-sky indebtedness, introduce administrative reforms, consolidate and strengthen the judiciary system, halt the squandering and embezzlement of public funds, and struggle against corruption.

On the educational, social, and developmental levels, Fares' dynamism was not less enthusiastic and productive. Fares exerted frantic efforts for the establishment of local and international centers and institutions, with the aim of raising high the flag and banner of Lebanon, promoting Lebanon’s ties with the international community, and refining the image of Lebanon, mobilizing his world-wide network and world-wide programs to help ensure a better world marked by culture, education, civilization, and democracy. In Lebanon, he lends his influence to the Government, to the administration, to syndicates, universities, social organizations, hospitals, municipalities, urban and rural NGO’s, and to cultural centers.

Through his outstanding programs, he helped crystallize practical solutions, played the role of a catalyst in conciliating conflicting views, hosted leading world figures to open channels of communication aimed at consolidating Lebanon’s ties with the international community, contributed to means aimed at securing Lebanon’s economic recovery, contributing thus in the promotion of Lebanon’s stature.

In Lebanon, he established many centers and institutes to contribute in raising high the banner of Lebanon the Culture, Lebanon the Democracy. The Issam Fares Chair at the Balamand University for instance provides the country with a forum for regional and world leaders to express themselves freely on international issues as they pertain to the Middle Eastern region. The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs was also established in Fares' firm belief that the promotion of public policy and international affairs is a primordial necessity for Lebanon and the Middle East region. For its part, the Issam Fares Center for Lebanon endeavors to achieve its mission of advancing a balanced and realistic understanding of major global regional and domestic issues affecting Lebanon.

Moreover in Lebanon, the Fares Foundation has always been active in the fields of human and social development in Lebanon, paying particular attention to underprivileged groups, communities, and regions, and including programs and services in health, education, humanitarian aid, culture, infrastructure, research… Not to mention also many other programs he craeted, in his strong belief that education is the pivotal axis of life.

Fares also established the Issam M. Fares Chair at the University of Balamand, with the first speaker being the Secretary General of the League of Arab States Dr. Ismat Abdel al-Majid  who took the floor in 1999 before an audience of ministers, parliamentarians, heads of political parties and civil organizations, faculty, and students. The Issam Fares Forum at the Balamand also serves as locus for dialogue, not only amongst students, but also between faculty and students.

Also in his firm belief that technology is a key pillar of modern life and that it has become the cornerstone of the development of civilization, and realizing the key importance of having programs dedicated to the applications of technology, he took the initiative to establish the Issam Fares Institute of Technology in Akkar which is affiliated to the University of Balamand. Based on the decision, a government license was requested. The Lebanese Government honored the request and issued Decree No#1946 dated December 30, 1999. This Decree entitled the University of Balamand to provide a technology education leading to a DUT degree.

This Institute represents the largest donation to the University to date. Fares showed great keenness to respond to the urgent request of the University to fund this Institute in Akkar, the first such venture by the University in that region, and therefore donated 100,000 m2 in Bayno and in Cheikh Zneid to build the Institute. The said Institute shall offer a diploma equivalent to the Bachelor of Sciences and shall admit its holders to enter the graduate Engineering Program on Campus.

Worth to mention also the Issam Fares Center for Technology at the Antonine University, the Issam Fares Cultural Center, the Issam M. Fares Center for Post-Graduate Medical Education, the Issam Fares Library at La Sagesse University, the Issam Fares Library in Kfarhata- Cada of Zghorta, Issam Fares School in old Akkar, Issam Fares Primary School...

The particular importance Fares dedicates to education also led him to organize a number of renowned prizes such as the Issam Fares Prize in Media Excellence, Issam Fares Annual Prize for Scientific Research, and Issam Fares Educational Prize for High Achievers..

All these achievements have led scores of associations to grant him their highest decorations. Among the local decorations figure:
  • June 1993: Fares receives the National Cedars Order, Grand Officier of the National Order from the Lebanese President
  • November 14, 2001: Fares is offered the Gold Merit from the Central Maronite Council at Bristol Hotel, Beirut
  • August 2002: Award from the Maronite League
  • September 6, 2002: Fares attends the 24rth anniversary of the Lebanese League for Greek Orthodox, receives a plaque of recognition
  • November 21, 2004: Fares receives the decoration of Saint Aphrem the Syrian Decoration for Commander
An Influential Leader on the International Level
On the international level, Fares' performance was not less active and dynamic since he embodied a series of constants upon which the Lebanese had sought consensus. He continued to demonstrate the guidelines he had underlined in his famous speech before the UN 59th General Assembly in New York in 2004:

  • In dealing with the United Nations, we would demonstrate a firm and full commitment to international legitimacy and observe the resolutions emanating from this international body, thus constantly reflecting Lebanon's consensus which serves the Lebanese interests
  • Accelerate the settlement of the Middle East crisis through the implementation of the UN Resolutions pertaining to Israel's withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967, the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and autonomous independent state, and the return of Palestinian refugees
  • Assist the Middle East to reach a balanced regional system based on justice and the people's self-determination, preventing the arms' race, the waste of energy, and the amassing of weapons of mass destruction
  • Encourage and advocate the establishment of civil organizations as a preliminary step towards the introduction of reforms. In this context, Fares considered it is impossible to create democratic systems in the absence of various and multiple civil organizations, deeming that democracy is based on the existence of syndicates, clubs, and humanitarian associations of different types.

Fares' efforts on the Arab and international levels revolved around three major pivotal points:
  • Safeguard Lebanon's unity, sovereignty, and independence
  • Protect Lebanon from any eventual unrest that might result from the conflicts arising in the region
  • Promote the investment, developmental, and economic capabilities to enable Lebanon to restore its place and role in the region and the world

On the international level, he established at Tufts University in Boston the Issam Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, the mission of which is to create an academic environment for the promotion of greater understanding of the rich heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean, and of the significant challenges that this region faces at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Many projects there carry his name: The Fares Research Center at Fletcher (a program of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University), the Fares Equine Research Center at the School of Veterinary Medicine, the Fares Chair, the Issam Michael Fares Book Fund at Tufts University, the Issam Fares Endowed Fund for Cancer Research, the Issam Fares Endowed Fund for Heart Research, and mainly the world-renowned Issam M. Fares Lecture Series.

In addition to his many public functions and world-wide philanthropic activities, Mr. Fares continues to serve on boards of international organizations, major business corporations, and on boards of universities and institutions of higher learning. To all his activities, he brings a wealth of experience and a passion to help organizations succeed and excel.

Fares’ role has been recognized by nations that have granted him their highest decorations, by universities that conferred on him the honor of Doctorate Honoris, and by dozens of national, foreign, and international organizations by presenting him with their medals and awards in appreciation of his national services and philanthropic activities.

Among Fares’ international awards& decorations, we cite:
Honorary Doctorates
  • Doctorate Honorisis Causa awarded by the Diplomatic Academy of Moscow - 1997
  • Honorary Doctorate of International Public Affairs awarded by Tufts University- November 4, 2000

Medals & Decorations
  • Commandoria with Star of the Order of Merit offered during an official trip to Poland- July 2004
  • Medal of Saint Petersburg’s Tercentenary awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin in recognition of Fares’ efforts to promote bilateral ties- June 9, 2004
  • Honorary Golden Medal awarded by the Minister of Youth& Sports of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Vassil Ivanov- July 19, 2003
  • Order of the Prince Yorslav The Wise 2nd Rank awarded by the President of Ukraine Mr. Leonid Kuchma- July 8-9, 2003
  • Order Stara Planina 1 Class offered during an official trip to Bulgaria- June 16, 2003
  • Decoration awarded by Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on the occasion of the 180th anniversary of the Brazilian House of Parliament during his visit to Beirut- May 3, 2003
  • The Union Order awarded by H.E. the President of the Yemeni Republic Mr. Ali Abdallah Saleh, Yemen- September 28, 2002
  • Al-Ahd National Merit awarded by H.E. the President of Algeria Mr. Abdel Aziz Bouteflika- July 23-24, 2002
  • Grand Commander of the Order of Makarius the 3rd awarded by the President of Cyprus Mr. Glafcos Clerides- July 19, 2002
  • The Grand Cross of the Phoenix awarded by H.E. the President of Greece Mr. Constantine Stephanopoulos- Athens, November 2, 2001
  • Gold decoration awarded by the International Maronite Foundation on the occasion of the 45th Maronite Congress for North America, Canada& Los Angeles- August 2001
  • Gold Medal of Merit awarded by the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of New York& North America during the 45th conference- New York- July 28, 1001
  • National Legion of Honor awarded by the President of the French Republic Mr. Jacques Chirac- July 18, 2001
  • Golden Medal of Acropole awarded in Paris by the UNESCO Secretary-General Mr. Koichiro Matsura- March 30, 2001
  • The Grand Cordon of Archon Depoutatos awarded by the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew- January 18, 2001
  • The Grand Cordon of Saint Daniel, 2nd Degree, offered by the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia, in recognition of Fares’ aide to the Russian Orthodox Church- September 29, 1997
  • Medal of Saints Boris and Gleb offered by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia- 1997
  • Order of St. John of Damascus offered by H.B. the Patriarch of Antioch& All the East- November 14, 1993
  • The Order of Sts. Peter and Paul offered by H.E. Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch& All the East- May 29, 1983
  • The Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch awarded at the rank of Honorary Life Member
  • Decoration awarded by the Secretary General of the League of Arab States Dr. Ismat Abdel al-Majid 
  • Award with a jubilee decoration offered by the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia- January 26, 2009
  • Lifetime Achievement Award offered by the American Task Force for Lebanon- Washington- March 31, 2004
  • Shield from the Casablanca Chamber of Trade, Industry& Services in Morocco- March 12, 2004
  • Plaque from H.B. Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch& All the East- January 21-22, 2003
  • Distinguished Service Award- Chicago- May 26, 2001
  • Twentieth Century Achievement Award from the Board of Directors of the American Biographical Institution in recognition of Fares’ contributions among ‘1000 Leaders of World Influence’- Washington 2000
Certificates/ Plaques of Recognition
  • Certificate in appreciation of Fares’ philanthropy and continued support of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies- November 10, 2004
  • Decoration of Saint Aphrem the Syrian Decoration for Commander awarded by H.E. the Patriarch of Antioch& all the East Ignatius Zakka Iwas- October 29, 2004
  • Laureate of the Prize “for the outstanding activity on strengthening the unity of Orthodox Christian nations”- 2001
  • Certificate of welcome awarded to Fares by the City Council of Los Angeles- July 28, 2001
  • Certificate of Acknowledgement awarded by the Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russia- October 1997
  • Diploma from the Supreme Awards Council in Russia in acknowledgement of Fares’ outstanding services for the welfare of humanity