Chairman, Al-Kharafi GroupJune 24, 2006
Ladies & Gentlemen
It is a great honor for me to be standing here today to be recognized along with the many great men and women who had received the much esteemed Honorary Doctorate from the American University of Beirut. When I look at the roster of current and past recipients, I see names of people who have touched our lives here in the Middle East in a way that will forever make it better. I humbly thank you for this high recognition.
As a businessman, I realized at an early stage of my life that success is neither about getting ahead nor about the profits one achieves. Success is rather about making a difference, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, expanding your capacity to perform and about what you give back to your community, especially in terms of creating opportunities to others to improve their lives. I made sure that in every new market or new line of business Al Kharafi Group enters, we try to make a positive impact, introduce new technologies, know-how and values. Through our social activities, we support education, sports, arts, back public health care initiatives and civil organizations.
I am deeply indebted to my late father who taught me a lot. The most valuable things I learned from him are: integrity, honesty, hard work and the knowledge to deal with the human element. Those are the secret ingredients of success which I think I have followed and I do believe that any person who focuses on those virtues will be on the right path to success.
The legacy my late father left us was a great challenge and I cannot claim that it was easy. But on such a day, I feel that I have succeeded so did my brother Jassim who went into politics and became the Speaker of the Kuwait's National Assembly for many years now so did my sister Fayezah who became the first lady Dean of an Arab University.
Although I am extremely happy and highly honored by the presence of each and every one in the audience, I am at the same time sad because I miss the presence of the late Mr. Rafeek Al Hariri, may his soul rest in peace. I knew him for many years, he was a great man and a world leader who had Lebanon in his heart, soul and mind. If we look around us now we see his shadow behind Solidere, the airport and numerous infrastructure projects benefiting Lebanon, he will never be forgotten. I am glad that his mission and path are being followed and continued by the Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and also his son Sheikh Saad El Dine Al Hariri leader of the "Future Movement". Their task in not an easy one and I wish them both all the success.
Once again, I would like to thank the AUB for this honor and for giving me the opportunity to be on this stage in front of such important audience. I am truly pleased to receive such an honor, which is even more important because it comes from an institution which I am very fond of. Your institution has played and continues to play a key role in the region by providing Arab businesses with the well educated human resources that have enabled them to excel irrespective of their firm's size or operating sector. This is a perfect example of how the business world and education can complement each other for the sake of prosperity and the building of healthier societies in the Arab world. God bless you all.