On the eve of his arrival to New York to attend this event, Fares had a chat with the media. Asked what does this honoring mean to him, he replied, ‘The human being’s nature is sensitive toward honor, flattery, and praise. However, it is to say that I consider that honoring me goes beyond my person to be an honoring for Lebanon. Our country cannot brag about its area or population, but rather of the civilized and humanitarian contributions it can make. It fills my heart with pride and satisfaction that, at a time when the situation in our country is deteriorating, when controversies, tensions, and quotas are mounting, and at a time when our country is facing all forms of challenges that threaten its future and fate, there are some Lebanese people that oppose this fact and reflect the beautiful image of their country’.
Evoking the goals behind the establishment of the International Crisis Group, he said, ‘The first goal to which aspires this institution- which was founded in 1995 and is composed of world personalities- is renown in shedding light on hotbeds of tension and the causes of crises, ringing the alarm bell, submitting recommendations and proposals to urge world leaders and decision-makers to exert efforts in order to avoid warns and settle the international dilemmas by peaceful means’. Asked how to realize world peace, he replied, ‘Peace in the world and stability are realized first if the states’ and peoples’ right for freedom, sovereignty, independence, and self-determination is respected, if human rights are respected, if democracy prevails, if poverty, drugs, terrorism, and violence make a regress, and if science managed to overcome deadly diseases’.
Q) You were chosen for this honor with two former Presidents of the United States. To your opinion, what is the reason behind this choice?
A) The reason behind this honor might be the multiple activities we have been carrying out, whether on the personal level or within the frame of the Issam Fares Foundation, or the conferences, seminars, or the support of world education, and the promotion of scientific research, or the humanitarian contributions, or the efforts and contacts and moves pertaining to peace and stability in Lebanon and the Middle East. I was told about the Institution through my friend US Senator of Lebanese origin George Mitchell who was its first President. He had paid me a visit with the group’s members to our residence in Brumana.
We held hours of talks that revolved around the prevailing situation in Lebanon and the Middle East. Talks also touched upon other crises in Asia, Africa, and other countries still undergoing tension.
I realized that the International Crisis Group represents a gate to let hear the pure voice of Lebanon through an institution that works for public interest and has direct contact with the United Nations and the affiliated institutions such as the Human Rights Council, the World Bank, and the other regional organizations such as the Arab League, the European Union, and the Organization of American States and others, an institution that has a certain impact and has a SAY.
Asked why the honor is confined to the three leaders, Fares replied, ‘This question should be raised to the Crisis Group. It is a privilege for me to be honored with these two world leaders who are among my best friends. Each of them was speaker at Issam Fares center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tufts University in Boston. The institution- which works for the prevention of crises before their outbreak- is the first and most important in the world, especially that it groups world figures from the political, diplomatic, academic, and intellectual fields and arenas. Not to mention also the high-level figures in the world of banks, business, and economy. The group has many affiliates in the world areas'.
Asked ‘What would he say to the Lebanese on this occasion’, he said, ‘I tell them translate the words in your national anthems into deeds and let’s be ‘All for the Nation’. God gave us a beautiful nation and an intelligent population. So, let’s preserve them carefully with your eyes’.