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“The University of Balamand & The Issam Fares Foundation Lay the Cornerstone of the Issam Fares Institute of Technology
20 Dec 2008

Plaque carrying the name of the the Issam Fares Institute of Technology
December 20- 2008

Former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares affirmed that self-divided Lebanon is not Lebanon, and Lebanon the Christian alone is not Lebanon, and Lebanon the Muslim alone is not Lebanon. Lebanon the Real, he said, is the united and unified Lebanon in its people and territories, and Lebanon the Real is Lebanon of justice, moderation, equity, of equal opportunities, and balanced development.

Mr. Fares’ speech was pronounced during a remarkable event held by the University of Balamand and the Issam Fares Foundation to lay the cornerstone of the Issam Fares Institute of Technology- which is affiliated to the University of Balamand- in Bayno, Akkar. The event took place under the sponsorship and in the presence of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Ignatius IV Hazim, the Chairman of the Board of the Fares Foundation Mr. Michel Fares, MPs Hadi Hobeish and Azzam Dandashi, the head of Akkar Endowment (the Waqf of Akkar) Sheikh Malek Jdeideh representing the Mufti of Akkar Usama el-Rifai, , former MPs Michael Daher, Talal Meraabi, Abdel Rahman Abdel rahman, Karim el-Rasi, and Mohammad Yehia, former Minister Yacoub el-Sarraf, the President of the University of Balamand former Minister Elie Salem, the Governor of North Lebanon Mr. Nasif Qalush, Bishops Basilios Mansour, Esperidon Khoury, Elias Kfoury, George Abu Zakhm, Boulos Yazeji, the Dean of the Consular Corps Mr. Joseph Habis, the General Director of the Fares Foundation General William Mjalli, Fares’ General Manager in Lebanon Mr. Sajih Atiyah, and a large crowd of political, military, and educational personalities, as well as scores of religious dignitaries, heads of municipalities and mayors, in addition to popular delegations representing the different areas of Akkar and North Lebanon.


Speech of the President of the University of Balamand Dr. Elie Salem

The event was inaugurated by playing the National Anthem, followed by a welcome address pronounced by Dr. Usama el-Jedael Salem. Later, the President of the University of Balamand Dr. Elie Salem pronounced a speech in which he stated, ‘we launched a university institute in Akkar, and from Akkar to Lebanon, and from Lebanon to all the Arab Levant’, making clear that the Institute is unique. ‘Who better than Akkar citizens deserve uniqueness and priority’, he noted.

Salem pointed out that the Institute is located in a region situated at the middle of the road between the capitals of two sisterly countries. ‘The idea needs someone to support it, finance it, and translate it into action. It happened that when His Beatitude founded the University of Balamand, an Orthodox young man was there to share his dream. This man had been raised in a humble family in Akkar and intruded, with effort and determination, the regional and international world affairs, reaching its highest peak not to personally raise himself and shine, but rather to raise the people in need, not to save but to build up what needs to be built and to educate those who need education. This young man is H.E. Mr. Issam Fares. When His Beatitude the Patriarch laid the cornerstone of the University, Issam stood besides him. When he erected the first buildings, Issam was among the first donors’.

Dr. Salem went on saying, ‘We are honored today to host among us Fares’ eldest son, the friend and beloved Michel Fares, who has seriously worked with us for the realization of the dream to establish the Institute’.

Salem also explained the situation of the University of the Balamand, deeming that, ‘by inaugurating any university institute in Akkar, we would be opening bridges connecting between the Balamand on one hand, and the near and remote areas of Akkar on the other. He underlined the priority accorded to this Institute in the future foreseeable plans to make of it an international ‘scientific lighthouse’.

Speech of the Vice-President of the University of Balamand Dr. Michel Najjar

Following the inauguration of the ceremony, the Vice-President of the University of Balamand Dr. Michel Najjar made an explanation of the philosophy of the establishment of the Institute, as well as the departments and specializations adopted in most of the world countries. He remarked that the Institute consists of two centers, the first being in Bayno and the other in Sheikh Zanad, Akkar, deeming that both projects represent a complement to the social and geographical situation in the region.

Speech of the Representative of Akkar Mufti Sheikh Malek Jdeideh

For his part, the Mufti of Akkar Sheikh Malek Jadida pronounced a speech in which he conveyed the greetings of absentee Sheikh Rifai and wholeheartedly welcomed Patriarch Hazim, saying, ‘You are most welcome in Akkar where you have been hosted as a distinguished visitor to plant a virtue of the virtues of education and knowledge’. Then, he paid tribute to H.E. Mr. Issam Fares and addressed him saying, ‘We pay tribute to the ambitious man and the knight of Akkar, represented by his honorable son Michel who visited Akkar to experience some of the virtues his father planted in Akkar’s mountains and plains so that we notice his presence anywhere. H.E. Mr. Issam Fares cannot but be in your mind. Akkar is delighted today. Akkar’s delights have multiplied and diversified, and we are crowning the peak of its summits by establishing this fortified castle of the castles of education and knowledge’.

He went on saying, ‘This university is one of the paintings of good, and it gathered the ranks of the peoples of good and generosity. Here are the good persons of all trends gathered today in Akkar to announce their delight and pride at this great edifice. Akkar has overcame all obstacles and pinned high hopes, following the examples of the good man Issam Fares’.

Speech by Former Deputy Premier H.E. Mr. Issam Fares

The allocution of H.E. the former Deputy Premier Mr. Issam Fares was pronounced by his Director-General Mr. Sajiah Atiyah:

‘H.E. Mr. Issam Fares has assigned me with the task of conveying his warm greetings and honored me by asking me to pronounce, on his behalf, this speech:

I would have been delighted to be present among you today and this month, the days of which are filled with the meanings of love, sacrifice, and selflessness, and which are embracing both Eid el-Adha and the Holy Christmas. I would have been delighted to greet you one by one and to experience together the religiously and socially united meanings of both holidays. However today, I feel happier to have entrusted this beloved mission to the man who exerted every possible effort to realize the dream of every citizen of Akkar to establish a university, to my son Michel who devoted particular attention to the realization of this achievement. I am very grateful to him because he conveyed to you by sincere love, embodied by the most precious gift offered to Akkar, the soil of which I consider is more precious than the world treasures.

How could I not be overwhelmed by happiness since His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, to whom I owe all respect, is personally sponsoring this event and blessing it on his birthday. I cannot express my deep admiration unless by asking God to extend his life so that we continue to live under his blessing and holiness. Indeed, he represents the spiritual value that lights the path of every believer in Lebanon being an oasis of entente and peace.

The cornerstone we have laid today is an act of faith in Akkar and the necessity to treat it with equity. It is also one of the basic tasks we fulfill in the frame of our love to this area so that it rises to the level of the martyr of its citizens on the altar of the nation and to the level of its commitment to good citizenship.

After today, Akkar will not remain beyond the limits of the nation, and it is the nation’s artery that consistently beats. We will not allow the dreams and aspirations of our compatriots in Akkar to be imprisoned by the deprivation and neglect shown by the officials. Having been among those who were deprived from going to university due to its absence in Akkar, I will not allow the ‘deportation’ of our students from their region, and here we are paving the way for this. We the people of Akkar are closer to the land and therefore realize the importance of the deep roots. This is why we work inspired by the soil from which we came, and inspired by our humanitarian and patriotic consciousness so that the roots of our people in Akkar be deep in their territories, and so that this region remains full of life.

The cornerstone we laid today for the Issam Fares Institute of Technology in Bayno- which has become a meeting point between all the regions of Akkar after we have opened its doors through recent highways and diversified its projects- constitutes the crowning of our developmental strategy which embodies the concept of earth rooting, bears the fruit of national capabilities, and consolidates the dignity of Akkar and its people against any temporary temptation that might underestimate it, and we are endeavoring to open the doors of the promising future to the coming generations.

On this historic occasion in Akkar, and during this reunion crowned by the presence by His Beatitude the Patriarch and the Grand Mufti of Akkar and the people who are zealous of their area and nation, there is no way but to launch a national call to overcome personalization, fanatism, and reticence towards selflessness, moderation, openness, and the acceptance of others in love and forgiveness, and also to overcome sterile debates towards competitiveness in national giving and towards racing for development to make it prevail throughout the country without any distinction.

Lebanon the education, culture, and civilization shall not be realized without our cooperation and reconciliation with our history and better planning of the future. Let us plant the roots of this future with a sincere national will that is committed to heritage and to standard values and that calls for love and peace.

Lebanon the confessionalism, sectarianism, and fanatism is not Lebanon,
Lebanon the self-divided country is not Lebanon,
Lebanon the Christian alone is not Lebanon,
Lebanon the Muslim alone is not Lebanon,
The real Lebanon is the united and unified Lebanon in its people and every parcel of its land.
The real Lebanon is Lebanon of justice, moderation, equity, of equal opportunities, and balanced development.

I am positively sure that the cornerstone we have laid today of the University of Balamand in Akkar does not go beyond the national context we are calling for, thanks to our expertise and our follow-up of the national approach of this University that is constantly blessed by His Beatitude the Patriarch who is keen on preserving Lebanon’s unity and the future of its citizens, and thanks to a conscious administration that is committed to following the path of education, culture, and patriotism for the good interests of our young generation. In this context, it is to praise our brother Dr. Elie Salem and our friend Dr. Michel Najjar for their efforts to realize the dream of the people of Akkar and to make of this university a cultural and patriotic symbol hat has proved itself on the national level.

I hereby thank all those who have contributed in allowing us to practice our belief in Akkar and in the nation by planning the seeds of the future we want. I reiterate to our citizens our vow to remain with you to realize your wishful dreams, and pledge that all our reunions will continue to be held at the goodwill of Akkar and the nation.

I hereby launch an appeal ‘Let’s say yes to Akkar the knowledge and culture
Yes to Akkar the nationalist and reconciled region with its values
Yes to Akkar the interaction, moderation, and openness
Blessed be you with this holiday present, that is the establishment of this University for the people of good, knowledge, and education

Speech by His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch and All the Ignatius IV Hazim

The patron of the ceremony His Beatitude the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Ignatius IV Hazim also took the floor, saying:

‘I don’t have much more to say. We totally agree with Fares. We ask God to keep our eyes open to see goodness in this world. I personally remember the generosity of Michael’s father (Issam Fares). May God protect him. I am the only one to name him as such because I like to name his eldest son. Had we eyes, we would see his countless and innumerable good works. Indeed, the works Michael’s father fulfills need volumes and newspapers to enumerate. Blessed are his works which he keeps under secrecy’.

Moreover, the Patriarch remembered when he paid a visit to Fares in Paris, exposing to him the idea to establish the university. He elaborated in detail Fares’ permanent role in supporting the University of Balamand since its inception till nowadays. He concluded by saying that this University is for all the nation’s citizens.

A Thank you Note to Mrs. Hala Issam Fares

After the speeches, all leaders and high-level dignitaries among the attendees relayed their special thanks to Mrs. Hala Fares, the wife of the former Deputy Premier, for the warm reception she organized on this occasion and for her exceptional organization of the event. A lunch banquet thrown on the occasion followed.

Summary about the Issam Fares Institute of Technology

The Issam Fares Institute of Technology is the first university institute in Akkar. The University of Balamand got in 1999 a license to establish it, and its administration found it is appropriate that the building be erected in Akkar. H.E. Mr. Fares expressed willingness to finance this huge educational project, to adopt its programs and objectives, and to offer a parcel of land for the construction of the campus.

The said Institute includes different specializations in all the areas of Engineering Technology, Agronomy, and Business Administration and Computer, and is distinguished by the various specializations it will provide to the citizens of Akkar and neighboring areas ‘for the rehabilitation of specialized technical and vocational cadres that are capable of meeting the nation’s developmental ambitious plans. The Institute includes 30 faculties in technological sciences, 27 of which are based in the headquarters in Bayno while three other faculties (Agronomy, Marine Science, and Civil Aviation) are headquartered in Sheikh Zanad in the plain of Akkar.

The Institute’s educational philosophy is based on two key pillars: providing university education in the field of technology and practical training. Three objectives have also been set by the Institute:

1- Develop study programs for students specializing in technological sciences. These programs shall academically and professionally be linked to the needs of development and scientific progress and shall be implemented in close coordination with universities worldwide as well as national scientific and industrial institutions.

2- Organize training classes specialized in technical and vocational rehabilitation for the graduation of a distinguished quality of cadres

3- Take care of the researches and applied studies and examine the needs of the labor market for people with technical specialization by participating with the productive and economic institutions so that this specialization and this training meet the country’s needs

The proposed structure for the Institute’s programs include: Computer Technology (Computer Science), IT Business (Business Administration, Financial Accounting), Agricultural Technology (Food Technology, Animal/Vegetable Production), Engineering Technology (Electronics, Communication, Civil Engineering, Engineering Mechanics).

These include the following sub-specializations: Electronics, Electro-technique, Automatic, Telecommunications, Medical Instrumentation, Computers, Industrial IT, Computer System, Computer Management, Physical Measures, Materials Technology, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering, Water Technologies, Food Industry& Biological Industry Technologies, Biological& Biochemical Industries, Dietetics, Agronomy, Business Management and Administration, Logistics and Transport Management, Production Management, Accounting and Finance, Insurance Technique, Technical Marketing& Advertising, Banking Technique, Audiovisual Technique, and Internal Engineering.