Rafik Hariri philanthropic and developmental contributions are countless. The most remarkable being the multifaceted support to educate more than 36,000 Lebanese university students within Lebanon, and beyond.
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Speech of Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka
Statement by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka,
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive director of UN-HABITAT
Late PM Rafik Hariri 5th Annual Memorial in Paris on Monday 15 February 2010
Madam Nazek Hariri,
Honourable Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Members of the distinguished Hariri family, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a great honour and pleasure to be here with you today on the fifth anniversary of the death of your husband and Lebanon’s great father, the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Today we remember his life, his work and his vision.
Six years ago, UN-HABITAT recognized Mr. Hariri when it conferred upon him the United Nations highest human settlements award, the UN- HABITAT Scroll of Honour.
I still remember his words during his acceptance speech that wonderful occasion in Barcelona very clearly. He humbly said he was accepting the award on behalf of the Lebanese people. Indeed, he said he was accepting the award for their sacrifices and determination, for daring to dream of rebuilding their country, and for realizing that dream against all odds.
And then he added, and I quote: “Peace is our fate. Let us work together on achieving this fate. Let us always work for peace”.
Just months later, Mr. Hariri was suddenly taken away from us in a tragic and senseless death.
Those words reflect the very spirit of the Charter of the United Nations. They reflect the spirit of a very great man whom we remember here today by naming this award in his memory, the Rafik Hariri UN-HABITAT Memorial Award.
Despite the tragedy of that loss, Mr. Hariri’s spirit lives on in the legacy of his work, and in those of you in this very distinguished audience who carry forward that work.
I am deeply moved by the dedication and devotion of Mrs. Nazek Hariri, as a tireless champion of her late husband’s vision. I am also filled with hope by the knowledge that your son, Mr. Saad Hariri, has taken up his father’s mission and continues to serve the people of Lebanon in his role as Prime Minister.
Through their examples, the world can continue to benefit from the central lesson of Mr. Hariri’s life: that peace is the fertile ground in which development flourishes.
Even more importantly, his leadership, vision and example teach us that investing time and energy in building peace and the structures of good governance creates the conditions for sustainable development.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
We live in an increasingly global world. Conflict and war have direct and indirect effects beyond national and regional borders. Similarly, peace promotes positive global connections.
By dedicating an award to the late Rafik Hariri, Mrs. Hariri is sending out a strong message: that we all have a collective responsibility to keep his vision alive.
UN-HABITAT which has helped rebuild Lebanon for many years, is proud and deeply honoured to be co-organizers of the Rafik Hariri Award.
This award embodies our fundamental commitment to peace and development in all nations. It is a symbol of our deep admiration and appreciation for the lasting impact that his life has made in our word.
I therefore call upon all present, and the institutions, agencies and organizations we represent, to rededicate ourselves to living out Mr. Hariri’s vision for the future.