Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares took part in the ceremony held by Tufts University during which it awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in International Public Affairs, in presence of US Secretary of State Colin Powell who praised the common points Fares shares with him of commitment to ethics and the service of the society. For the sixth consecutive year, the annual Issam M. Fares Lecture Series was inaugurated at Boston’s Tufts University. On this occasion, the conference was honored with the presence of General Colin Powell and the title theme was ‘A Permanent Peace in the Middle East’.The conference was preceded by a ceremony to honor Fares in appreciation of his qualities and relentless efforts. Indeed, the Deputy Premier was distinguished for his efforts and contribution to cultural institutions, humanitarian causes and student issues in Lebanon, abroad, and above all in the United States, as well as for his endeavors in international relations as a person, a politician, an economy specialist and family man.
‘Of all the honors and awards that a person might receive in his public life, there is always one that stands out. For me, this doctorate from Tufts University is the one. I shall cherish this honor throughout my life.I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Board of Trustees of Tufts University for granting me this great honor. Also, I would like to thank President John DiBiaggio and the Faculty and Administration of this great university for the privilege of working with you in the interest of Tufts.From the early decades of its birth, America was challenged to explore New Frontiers. In only the last few decades, man set foot on the moon. Space ships traveled beyond it into the planets and the far reaches of outer space. Exploring new frontiers was the defining challenge of the Twentieth Century. What shall be the defining challenge of the Twenty-First Century? Certainly, progress will continue in science, in space, in communication, and in the world of computer technology. But the new challenges that will face us in the future are outside the physical realm. They are mostly in the realms of human relations, and the art of living together.The new challenges are: How to tear down the walls that separate race from race, religion from religion, nation from nation, and civilization from civilization; how to build bridges, not from one river bank to the other, but from nation to nation. We are here governed by fear, by suspicion, by pride, and by the will to exploit and dominate. The world is still a plurality of families, tribes, nations, and civilizations. It will always be. The challenge in the 21st Century is how to achieve community while maintaining this diversity; how to create a harmonious world while preserving the values of the existing civilizations.The challenge indeed is how to acquire the gift of tolerance, the wisdom of humility, and the intelligence to see our higher interests in the context of conflicting immediate interests. Tufts University is ideally placed to blaze a new trail in this important domain. It has already taken the lead in programs on international relations and in providing a forum for the promotion of peace and justice.I am sure Tufts, together with other universities, will continue to broaden their contribution to pushing this frontier forward. Indeed, there are obstacles to remove, and peaks to climb. We have done it before for science; we can do it again for mankind. In closing, I express, again my gratitude to Tufts University for bestowing upon me this honor, and I wish for Tufts to retain the honor and distinction that it now holds as a leader in higher education and research in the United States and around the world’.
On the heels of the ceremony, the President of Tufts University Mr. Lawrence S. Bacow held a dinner banquet in honor of Mr. Fares, Mrs. Hala Fares, and General Powell, in which took part a great number of political, diplomatic, and media figures as well as specialists in economy and a large crowd of members of the Lebanese community, notably Lebanon’s Ambassador to the United States Farid Abboud and the Lebanese Ambassador at the Foreign Secretary Antoine Chedid.Prior to the banquet and on its heels, the Deputy Premier exchanged points of view and information with the Lebanese community over the Lebanese-American relations and issues concerning them. Fares raised high hopes for the Lebanese diaspora to offer all possible support to consolidate their relation with Lebanon and for the new Lebanese Government to elaborate and translate into action a salvation program that would enable Lebanon to play its natural role on the regional and international levels and to overcome the economic and social crisis it is gripped with.