H.E. Mr. Michel Pharaon
Minister of Tourism, Lebanon
H.E. Dr. Jihad Azour
Former Minister of Finance, Lebanon
H.E. Mrs. Raya Al Hassan
Former Minister of Finance, Lebanon
Dr. Francois Bassil
Association of Banks in Lebanon
H.E. Dr Abdullah Al Dardari
H.E. Michel Pharon is currently the Minister of Tourism.
H.E. was elected for three times as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs (2000-2003, 2005-2008 and 2009-2011).
H.E. is also Chairman of Libano Swiss Group and Chairman of Pharaon Holding Group. He is also Board Member of: LBC, Globe Med Group, Commerce du Levant magazine and L'Orient Le Jour. He is also Honorary President of the Lebanese Chess Federation.
H.E. holds a degree in economics from St. Joseph University and MBA degree from Dauphine University in Paris.
H.E. Dr. Jihad Azour is Managing Director of Inventis Partners - a Private Equity Firm, with investments in MENA and Europe. Until recently, H.E. Azour was a V.P. - Senior Executive Advisor at Booz & Company, actively involved in consulting governments, public sector organizations, central banks, financial sector and institutions, and large international corporations.
He was recently appointed by the Board of the World Bank, member of the Independent Panel of Experts to review a broad range of issues around the Doing Business and Global Competitiveness.
He was previously Minister Finance of Lebanon for three years (2005 - 2008), where he spearheaded the economic and financial program of the Lebanese Government, and coordinated the implementation of the various policies and reform initiatives, led the preparation and the implementation of the Paris III International Conference for Lebanon, gathered more than 45 countries and IFIs, and raised USD 7.6 billion of support.
H.E. Dr. Jihad Azour also conducted a comprehensive modernization and reform agenda in the Ministry of Finance which was granted in 2007 the prestigious “United Nations Public Service Award”.
He occupied senior positions in government, UNDP, and in leading private sector companies (including McKinsey and Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Compagnie de Saint-Gobain). He also consulted for the IMF, the World Bank and the EU. He published more than five books and several articles on economic and financial issues in international publications and academic journals, and has a long teaching experience at the American University of Beirut.
H.E. Dr. Jihad Azour obtained his PhD in International Finance from Harvard University and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, France. H.E. Dr. Azour also holds an M.Phil. (DEA) in International Finance.
H.E. Raya Haffar El-Hassan is currently the Financial Consultant and Member of the Board of Directors of BankMed, and MedInvestment Bank. H.E. was Minister of Finance in Lebanon (2009-2011).
Mrs. El-Hassan was Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Trade and a program specialist for the Economic Governance and Pro-Poor portfolio at UNDP Lebanon. In the mid 90’, she was responsible for overseeing the implementation of tax and expenditure management reforms and in setting up and operating a UN debt management system at the Ministry of Finance. As Project Director within the Office of the Prime Minister (2003-2009), she oversaw several UN, World Bank and EU public sector reform projects and worked on the elaboration and the implementation of the government’s economic and social reform agenda under the Paris II and III International Donor Conferences for Lebanon.
H.E. holds a master’s degree in business administration, from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the American University of Beirut.
Dr. Francois Bassil is currently the President of the Association of Banks in Lebanon and the Chairman-General Manager of Byblos Bank S.A.L., one of the leading Lebanese banks.
Dr. Bassil’s achievements include the promotion of Byblos Bank name outside of Lebanon, namely in Europe where the bank has been maintaining a presence for the last 30 years and then in Sudan and Syria where operations started in August 2004 and December 2005 respectively. More recently, the bank has developed a presence in Iraq and Armenia in 2007, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010. The Bank has also had a representative office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, since 2005, as well as a representative office in Lagos, Nigeria, since 2009.
Dr. Bassil lead the success and growth of the bank in Lebanon where, since he assumed the CEO position in 1979, the bank grew from a mid-sized locally based entity to a regional force, with a capital base of USD 1,939 million and total assets of USD 18,486 million as at 31st December 2013. Today, Byblos Bank S.A.L. is listed on the Beirut Stock Market and has the largest number of shareholders compared to other Lebanese banks.
Throughout his professional career, Dr. François Bassil received many honorary distinctions, among them the “Ordre de la Couronne Belge” accorded by H.M. King Albert II, King of Belgium; and Chevalier de l’Ordre de St. Grégoire Le Grand, accorded by "Le Saint Père Jean-Paul II"; and the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman decorates Dr. Bassil as Commander in “National Order of the Cedars”.
In 2008 Dr. Bassil has been awarded a “Doctorate Honoris Causa” by the Lebanese American University (LAU) and in 2010 the Universite Saint-Esprit Kaslik (USEK) awarded him a “Doctorate Honoris Causa” in Business. In May 2012, he was honored by the “Arab Economic Forum” held in Beirut the award of “Leadership in Achievement”.
He holds a Doctoral Degree in Law from the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium.
H.E. Mr. Abdallah Al Dardari has a wealth of information and expertise on poverty reduction strategies, governance and macroeconomics. He is currently Chief Economist since 29 August 2012, in addition to his title as Director of the Economic Development and Globalization Division (EDGD) at ESCWA since 7 September 2011.
Mr. Al Dardari was Deputy Prime Minister for Economic affairs from 2005-2011 and Minister of Planning in Syrian Arab Republic (Chairman of the State Planning Commission- 2003 -2005) and UNDP's Assistant Resident Representative in Syria (2001-2003).
H.E. Mr. Al Dardari has also extensive experience in the areas of competitiveness, investments and international trade negotiations.
H.E. Mr. Al Dardari holds an Honorary Doctorate from Yalova University in Istanbul, a Masters in International Political Economy from University of Southern California, BA Economics from Richmond University London, and Post Graduate Research at the London School of Economics.