Libanon: Bahia Hariri

Education is a national developmental prerequisite. Human resources in the Arab world are our greatest asset. Building a brighter future is subject to enhancing educational and cultural status.

— Bahia Hariri

Bahia Hariri (born 1952) is one of only three women of 128 Lebanese Ministers of Parliament. Her high profile as head of the Commission for Education and Culture (CEC) in Lebanon placed her at the forefront of fighting for the preservation of Lebanese cultural heritage. In recognition of her work on cultural issues, Bahia Hariri held many international posts, such as the Unesco Goodwill Ambassador in 2000, membership of the committee of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) and Head of the Women’s Committee in the Arab Parliamentarian Union (HWCAPU).

During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1991), Lebanon suffered from widespread destruction of its infrastructure. The War created numerous social problems, including the deterioration of living conditions, educational levels and health standards. The task of reconstructing the physical infrastructure of Lebanon is as daunting as the tasks of developing Lebanon’s human resources through education, improving health care and eliminating poverty and gender inequality. Through her work as a Member of Parliament (MP) and Director of the Hariri Foundation, which has helped over 30,000 Lebanese youth around the world to further their education, Bahia Hariri has dedicated herself to the social reconstruction of Lebanon through emphasis on the development of human resources, particularly the Lebanese youth. In Parliament she acts as head of the Educational Committee, she is instrumental in developing and instigating Lebanon’s education policy and she undertook a number of pilot projects in different fields of study. Bahia proposed different learning models that eventually became very successful and were implemented in Lebanese schools. Utilizing her position as MP and Head of the Women’s Committee in the Arab Parliamentarian Union (HWCAPU), she has committed herself to fighting to empower women who have suffered the consequences of gender inequality and a patriarchal society, both at national and regional levels, to develop job skills for the underemployed and unemployed and to increase the living standards of women and families. During all her memorable contributions and work in Lebanon, which began in 1979, Bahia has always strongly believed in developing partnerships between civil organizations and government in order to pursue human development projects in Lebanon. She has personally supervised many human development projects in her hometown, Sidon, and throughout Lebanon.

Lebanese Parliament Hariri Foundation Arab Network for NGOs (ANNGOs)