Lebanon's Cabinet lineup: Who are our Ministers?

Diab and his Cabinet now face the daunting task of easing Lebanon's economic unease while satisfying protestors' demands.
by Sally Farhat

22 January 2020 | 19:12

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sally Farhat
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 22 January 2020 | 19:12

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his Cabinet

BEIRUT: Lebanon announced its new cabinet line-up on Tuesday, 33 days after Hassan Diab’s designation as Prime Minister. Diab and his Cabinet now face the daunting task of easing Lebanon's economic unease while satisfying protestors' demands. 

Who are the new minsters?

Hassan Diab, Prime Minister

Diab was appointed Prime Minister with the backing of Hezbollah, Amal, the Free Patriotic Movement and Marada Movement on December 19.

Diab was the Vice President of the Office of Regional External Programs (REP) at the American University of Beirut and a professor of computer engineering. He has more than 150 academic studies published in specialized journals and conferences and has supervised more than 80 research projects. Diab is also a registered engineer in the Engineering Council in the UK and the National Engineering Register in Australia.

In 2011, Diab was appointed as the Minister of Education and Higher Education. His academic background and work experience at AUB generated hope for the ministry. Nonetheless, his decisions as Minister were somewhat controlled and guided by different political forces. He also collaborated with Gebran Bassil, Minister of Energy at the time, to allow employees from other minsters to take part in decision making at the Lebanese University. Diab also changed the name of the Lebanese International University to Abdel Rahim Mourad, former Minster and founder of the university.

Diab was Born in Beirut in 1959. He is married to Nawar Ridwan Al-Mawlawi and has three children, one daughter and two sons.

Zeina Akar Adra, Deputy PM and Defense Minister

Akar Adra is a Christian Orthodox who is married to Jawad Adra, a Sunni. 

Akar Adra and her husband own and run a publishing house and a research institute. The couple also founded Nabu Museum, in El-Heri, in 2018.

Mary-Claude Najem, Justice Minister

Mary-Claude Najem was nominated by the Free Patriotic Movement.

The Justice Minister was born in Beirut in 1971. She holds a BA in law, a Postgraduate Diploma in private law from the Faculty of Law and Political Science at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, and a Ph.D. in international private law from the University of Pantheon, Assas (Paris 2).

Before her appointment as Minister, Najem was a professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science, chair of the private law department, and the director of the Center for Human Rights Studies in the Arab World at USJ. She was also an attorney registered with the Beirut Bar Association.

For several years, Najem was also a visiting professor at the University of Pantheon, ASAS (Paris 2), and at the University of Pantheon, Sorbonne (Paris 1).

Her academic career includes numerous published research studies on international jurisdiction.

Aside from her professional work, Najem has contributed to a number of civil society projects and initiatives. She was a founding member of the campaign "Khalas!" which translates to “Enough!” in English. The campaign was launched in 2007 and aims to generate solutions to the country’s political crisis. Najem has also been taking part in Lebanon’s October 17 Revolution.

Michel Ibrahim Najar, Public Works Minister

Michel Ibrahim Najar was nominated by the Marada Movement.

He was born in 1958. Najar started pursuing his higher education at the American University of Beirut. The civil engineering student was later forced to transfer Oklahoma State University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in civil engineering. He returned to Lebanon in 1991, where he became a lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering at Balamand University. He was later granted administrative positions at the university. He became the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science and the Vice President of Administration, Development and Public Relations.

Ramzi Msharrafieh, Social Affairs and Tourism Minister


Ramzi Msharrafieh was appointed by the Lebanese Democratic Movement.

He is an orthopedic and a joint surgeon who graduated from the American University of Beirut.

In 1991, he became an assistant professor of orthopedics, hand surgery, and microsurgery at AUB. He was later appointed associate professor in 1997.

In 2005 he moved to Balamand University and took up office at Clemenceau Medical Center.

Msharrafieh was the chair of the Department of Orthopedics at AUB (1993-1999) and the director of the Emergency Unit at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (1992-2000).

He is the president of the Lebanese Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery and the president of the Lebanese Orthopaedic Society.

Msharrafieh is also a founding member of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and a member at the Society for International Advancement of Emergency Medical Care.

He is a Fellow at the American College of Surgeons, a member of the British Orthopaedic Association, a member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand and the Royal Microscopical Society.

Ghazi Wazni, Finance Minister

Ghazi Wazni was appointed by Amal Movement.

Wazi was born in Bint Jbeil in 1954. He is married to Najat Sharaf al-Din and has three children.

The Finance Minister holds a Ph.D. in economics and financial performance as well as a postgraduate diploma in Finance from the University of Paris 9 Dauphine. He is an Economist and a financial expert.

He was a Researcher at the Center for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) at the University of Paris 9, Dauphine-France, between 1980 and 1984. Wazni was also a financial advisor in Paris between 1985 and 2001, banker, and founder of a number of banks in Africa. In Lebanon, he was an advisor to the Finance and Budget Committee between 2009 and 2011.

Academically, Wazni was an associate professor and lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Business from 1987 to 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nassif Hitti, Foreign Minister


Nassif Hitti was nominated by the Free Patriotic Movement. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a BA and MA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut.

He joined the Arab League in 1981 and worked in the Secretary-General's office and at the League's mission in Ottawa, Canada. He was appointed a diplomatic advisor to the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (1991-1999), then head of the League of Arab States mission in France and a permanent observer delegate to the university to UNESCO and to the International Organization of la Francophonie (2000 - early 2013), then adviser to the Secretary-General of the League in 2013. He was them appointed head of the mission League of Arab States to Italy and the Vatican, and permanent observer delegate to the United Nations organizations in Italy (2014-2015).

Mohammad Fahmy, Interior Minister

Mohammad Fahmy was nominated by PM Diab.

He is a retired Lebanese Army General and the director of the Lebanese Mine Action Center.

Lamia Yammine Doueihy, Labor Minister

Lamia Yammine Doueihy was nominated by the Marada Movement.

She is a university professor and an architecture consultant who was born in Zgharta in 1974. She is married to Bacchus Gerges Douaihy.

Certificates:

1990 – 1991: Secondary Education Baccalaureate.

1991 - 1997: Postgraduate Diploma in architectural engineering (DEA) from the Lebanese University.

2001: Postgraduate diploma in restoration and maintenance of historical sites from the Lebanese University in partnership with the Ecole De Chaillot, Paris.

Practical and academic experiences:

1997-1998: Engineer at George Samrani office.

1998-present: Runs her own engineering office, which generates studies, implements and supervises projects.

1998-present: Member of the Board of Directors of Douaihy Pour Le Bois Company

2002-present: Lecturer at the Lebanese University, fine arts department.

Raymond Ghajar, Energy Minister

Raymond Ghajar was appointed by the Free Patriotic Movement.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. In 1993, he obtained his Ph.D. in electrical power systems.

Ghajar was the vice president of the Institute for Human Resources at the Lebanese American University (2005-2007), the associate dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2013-2018) at the Lebanese American University, and the acting dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2019) at LAU. Since 1992 he has worked as a professional consultant and technical expert in Canada, the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

In 2008, he held the position of Senior Advisor to the Minister of Energy, and in this context, he led a small group of experts, whose task was to direct the work of consultants and coordinate with key stakeholders. His name is also included in the World Bank's list of experts specializing in energy studies.

Varti Ohanian, Youth and Sports Minister

Varti Ohanian was nominated by the Tashnag Party, allies of the FPM. She was born in Bourj Hammoud in 1984.

Certificates and educational qualifications:

2002: Lebanese Baccalaureate (Sociology and Economics);

2005: BA in Social Sciences and BA in Education, Lebanese University;

2017: Project Management Diploma, Haigazian University.

Professional Experience:

2017 -2019: Director of the center for educational and rehabilitation of visitors at the Union of the Social Workers of the Armenian Community in Lebanon;

2013-2017: Social counselor and administrative coordinator at the Union of the Social Workers of the Armenian Community in Lebanon;

2007–2008: Social worker for the Armenian Apostolic Diocese of Lebanon;

2006–2008: Social worker in the Bird's Nest Orphanage in Byblos.

Talal Hawat, Telecoms Minister


Talal Hawat was nominated by the Al Lekaa el Tashawiri Lebanon Party, a Sunni party rivaling former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. He was born in Tripoli in 1969 and is married to Sherine Asafirii.

Hawat holds a BA in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from San Jose State University, California (1998).

He worked with Cisco for 19 years (1999-2018), an American multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California, which develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, software, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. He participated in the design and development of internet and cellular networks in all of Lebanon’s regions and in other neighboring countries. He has also contributed to the design and development of private networks for major institutions and banks in Lebanon and in the Levant. He is the recipient of several awards with distinction, including an award from John M. Chambers Awards in 2002 and the Chairman's Club in 2016.

He was recently the regional vice president for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at Sandvine, a Canadian company based in Fremont, California, United States. Sandvine network policy control products are designed to implement broad network policies, ranging from censorship, service creation, billing, congestion management, and security.

Hamad Hasan, Health Minister

Hamad Hasan was nominated by Hezbollah. He was born in 1969 in Baalbek.

He graduated from the First Moscow State Medical University and is a Laboratory physician. He also holds a Ph.D. in biological sciences and was the Head of the Department of Laboratory Sciences at the Lebanese University;

He is also the former mayor of Baalbek and the current president of the Baalbek Municipal Union.

Imad Hoballah, Industry Minister

Imad Hoballah was nominated by Hezbollah.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Lebanese University, an MBA from Columbia University as well as Master’s degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University, New York, USA. He earned the Jack in Popper Achievement Award after attaining a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and communications from Syracuse University, New York.

Tarek Majzoub, Education Minister


Tarek Majzoub was nominated by PM Diab and was born in Sidon.

He is a judge at the State Shura Council and a university professor. He holds a Ph.D. in Law and a Bachelor of engineering.

Demianos Kattar, Environment Minister and Administrative Development

Kattar was nominated by PM Diab. He was born in Jezzine in 1960 and studied management before acted as a consultant for several financial institutions in the Gulf. He was also a lecturer at Saint Joseph University and Sagesse University.

He was a university professor and the dean of the Faculty of Business Administration at the Antonine University.

Kattar entered the world of politics in 2005 after the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri and acted as Finance Minister. 

Raoul Nehme, Economy Minister

Raoul Nehme was nominated by the Free Patriotic Movement.

Since 2018, Nehme has acted as Bank MED’s CEO, the general manager of BLC, and Chairman of the Executive Committee at ASTRO Bank in Cyprus. He was also the director of Nelson in the U.S. Nehme has experience in real estate and the industrial, retail and technology sectors.

Abbas Mortada, Agriculture & Culture Minister


Abbas Mortada was nominated by the Amal Movement. He holds a B.A in History from the Islamic University. He, along with his siblings, owns a number of petrol stations and a hotel in the Bekaa region. He is a member of the Amal Movement’s Bekaa office and the head of Bekaa's municipalities.

Manal Abdel Samad, Information Minister


Manal Abdel Samad was the Head of the tax legislation and policy department at the Ministry of Finance and is a lecturer at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

She holds a Ph.D. in Law from the Sorbonne, the University of Paris 1.

Ghada Shreim, Minister of Affairs for the Displaced

Ghada Shreim holds a Ph.D. in French literature. She headed the "Fayrouz" magazine between 2002 and 2008. She was also the director of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the Lebanese University between 2013 and 2016 and a professor at the Lebanese University.

Shreim’s work revolves around Lebanese women’s rights in politics.

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