PrintEmail This Page
Highest Russian Public Order Bestowed Upon Issam Fares by the Moscow Friends Club
Highest Public Order Bestowed Upon Issam Fares
Hala Fares Is decorated with the Saint-Elizabeth Medallion
Paris- November 23, 2008

Issam & Hala Fares are highly awarded by the Moscow Friends Club

The Moscow Friends Club honored former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon Issam Fares, bestowing upon him the highest non-governmental Russian Public Order, awarded so far to influential figures in Russia and foreign countries distinguished by their effective participation in the service of humankind, the preservation and promotion of the spiritual and cultural values, and the fostering of mutual respect and understanding among religious beliefs. His respectful wife, Mrs. Hala Issam Fares, was also decorated with the Saint-Elizabeth Medallion in acknowledgement of her valuable charitable works.

Both decorations were awarded at the Fares residence in Paris during a ceremony followed by a dinner banquet thrown in honor of the Russian delegation, in presence of the Russian charge d’affaires Michael Yakovlev who lauded this very special occasion, underscoring the moral significance of such a high decoration. He highly praised the remarkable personality of Mr. Fares and the considerable appreciation shown to him in both the local and international communities.

Later, Russia’s former Ambassador in Lebanon Professor Olig Berysbekin addressed Mr. Fares, saying, ‘You are very famous in Russia’s political sphere, church community, and academic circles. Allow me to carry out the mission assigned to me by the Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs& the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Alexander Yakovenko, to present you an album including the best photos of Vladimir Putin whom you had previously met in Moscow. I would like to remind that Mr. Fares was awarded the International Orthodox Unity Fund Prize that Russian President Vladimir Putin was also decorated with’.

In turn, the head of the Moscow Friends Club Mr. Egor Sarkesiov, who came specifically to Paris to attend the event, delivered an allocution in which he declared:

‘This decoration, which is the highest among the non-governmental Russian decorations, is awarded to prominent Russian and foreign figures in appreciation of the services they offer to their countries and compatriots and to the good example they serve to their community. The Club has decided to award you this year in acknowledgment of the donations you made and the achievements you realized so far. Along with your wife, you have contributed, through your generous Foundation, to the provision of education and health care to tens of thousands of Lebanese and people of other nationalities, the support of the charitable, social, and cultural institutions, the implementation of the developmental projects in your region, the construction of roads, highways, and municipal palaces, the building and development of the Balamand University, as well as your support of Tufts University through the ‘Issam Fares Chair’. Not to mention also your chairmanship of more than 40 ministerial committees in the Cabinets you had served, and your implementation of the projects you were assigned with. Everybody is well aware that you had undertaken all these charitable works for the sake of the population with the support and assistance of your respectful wife Mrs. Hala Fares. Upon this, with the blessing of His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Mrs. Fares is decorated with the Saint-Elizabeth Medallion in appreciation of promoting and enhancing the implementation of the Issam Fares Foundation humanitarian, social, and cultural projects’.

For his part, His Excellency Mr. Fares pronounced on the occasion a speech in which he expressed his deep appreciation for this mindful gesture, emphasizing the historic bonds between Russia and Lebanon.

The Moscow Friends Club bestows upon Fares the highest non-governmental Russian public order

Joined by their daughter Miss Noor, the Fareses cherish the joyful moments of this special occasion

Below is the full transcript of the speech delivered by His Excellency on the occasion:
Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Friends,

We search in vain for words to express our feelings and appreciations. No words other than “Truly Thank You” express the deep feelings of my wife and myself.

We thank you for the high honors you have bestowed upon us. Spacibo !

We greatly appreciate your kind congratulations to us, to all Lebanese for the Independence Day we now celebrate; we look forward to continuing support from the Russian Federation and from the world community that independent Lebanon may fully regain its historic mission as a beacon of freedom, justice and democracy in its region, and in the world.

This is truly a special occasion with far-reaching implications:

First, The friends of Moscow Association was initiated by the dynamic mayor of Moscow Luri Luzkov , by the Society of Russian Diplomats, and by the Muscovite Friendship Committees, with the view of strengthening relations with foreign countries, and in the promotion of human values amongst nations and peoples throughout the world. Had these values been realized in the past, our region, as well as the world at large, would have long resolved the conflicts and injustices that permeate them and continue to perpetuate their problems.

Second, the bonds between Lebanon and Russia go back for hundreds of years. They have always been bonds of education, culture, and mutual cooperation. These bonds led to the opening of schools throughout Lebanon, and one of them was in my own village Beyno. These schools led to the rise of a new generation and to a new chapter in Lebanese-Russian relations. There were strong ties in the past. We shall ensure that these ties will not only endure into the future, but will also grow and multiply.

Third, in addition to the historical and institutional considerations, there is a uniquely personal element that binds me to Russia. In all my previous visits, as well as my meetings with His Excellency President Vladimir Putin, His Holiness patriarch Alexey II, and with the leading statesmen and diplomats of the Russian Academy, I have felt special warmth and a oneness of purpose. I felt it not only as an Orthodox in Orthodox Russia but as a person interacting with the universal humanity that emanates from the Russian soul. Of all the bonds I cherish, none is stronger than the bonds that join me to Holy Russia and to its hospitable people.
Mr Sarkisov,

You recalled in generous terms the services I have contributed and that deserved this high recognition. Let me thank you for your kind remarks, and let me humbly add that what I offer is only a small part of what Providence has ordained. I only aspire to give as much as I was given. In giving, I fulfill a commitment I have to my people, and to all those who work for peace, justice and freedom.

As I express my thanks for the honor you bestowed upon me, I also express the thanks of my beloved wife Hala whom you have honored by bestowing upon her the Saint Elizabeth medallion. Hala is my steadfast partner in philanthropic activities and a true counselor in my social-cultural relations.

Again, I thank you for the honor and for the opportunity to hold this beautiful occasion, and I wish you continuing success in your efforts in the strengthening of ties between Russia and the rest of the world. Such ties between nations are the pillars of a future of peace and cooperation for mankind as a whole. Thank you, and Godspeed’.

It is worth noting that the Moscow Friends Club is a non-profit, non-political, independent social structure aiming to assist economic, cultural, social, scientific and sports development of the Russian capital. Established in 2008, it aims to consolidate and maintain Moscow's friendly relations with other world's cities, and to contribute to the world civilization, consolidation of peace, mutual understanding, and co-operation within the international community.

It includes the Moscow Union for International Friendship, the Association of Russian Diplomats, the International Social Foundation ‘For life and development of mankind’, as well as the International Center for Social, Legal and Intellectual programs.

It is to mention also that this decoration had already been awarded to the Kazakh President Sultan Nazarbayev, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Yemen’s President Ali Abdallah Saleh, and the head of Moscow Municipality Michael Yarkovlev.