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Rafik Hariri Biography

Rafik Bahaa el Dine Hariri (Biography)

(November 1, 1944 – February 14, 2005),‎

Born to a Lebanese family of modest means, Rafik Hariri attended the elementary and secondary schooling in his home town Saida then pursued his studies in business administration at the Beirut Arab University. He left Lebanon in 1965 to work as a teacher in Saudi Arabia, then went on to work for a construction company. There he got married to Ms. Nazik Audeh and they  had eight children altogether. In 1969, Hariri established his own Saudi construction company CICONEST, to be bestowed the citizenship by the Saudi royal family in 1978. He then went on to become Saudi Arabia's leading entrepreneur, acquiring Oger in 1979, and founding sometime later Oger International, which was based in Paris. His interests extended across banking, real estate, oil, industry and telecommunications. In 1993 he founded the television station Future TV in Beirut and purchased stakes in several Lebanese newspapers, the latest being his own newspaper Al-Mustaqbal (The Future).

He got a worldwide reputation as a self-made businessman a philanthropist a man of reconstruction and mostly a statesman, known for his good governance and visionary leadership.

The Philanthropic Course

Hariri's contributions within the context of human development were numerous and diversified. Among the most notable is the fact that he sponsored the education of 36,000 Lebanese students, within Lebanon and beyond, to empower the Lebanese youth with education and to reinforce the human resources of Lebanon. Furthermore, he responded to multiple charitable needs by supporting several non-governmental institutions, and various small investment initiatives. In addition, he played a great role in stopping the closing down of two schools, Lycée Abdel Kader in 1985, and the Anglican School in 1986. Instead he reinforced them by adding cultural and educational programs onto them. Further still he founded four other schools as well as the Hariri Canadian University (renamed later as RHU) in Mechref in 1999.

Political Career

Hariri returned to Lebanon in 1992 to become a prime minister, where he served in that capacity from 1992 to 1998, and from 2000 until late 2004. In addition he served as a Member of Parliament since 1996 until his assassination in 2005.


On 14 February 2005 Rafik Hariri was assassinated, when explosives equivalent to around 1,800 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut. 21 people were killed as well among whom were several of Hariri's long time companions.His friend and former Minister of Economy Bassel Fleihan was among the victims. Rafik Hariri was buried along with his companions near Mohammad Al Amine Mosque in downtown Beirut, which was about to be inaugurated by Rafik Hariri around that time; nevertheless the mosque stands now as an icon, considering its great architecture and refined construction.  

After his assassination and a way of commemorating him, the Beirut International Airport was renamed “ Rafik Hariri International Airport”, and  the Beirut General University hospital which was also renamed “Rafik Hariri Hospital”.

Moreover, Hariri Foundation was renamed “Rafik Hariri Foundation” and  the Hariri Canadian University, “Rafik Hariri University”. It goes without saying that Rafik Hariri legacy, and in particular the Rafik Hariri Foundation, shall be carried forward with the same spirit and vision of Rafik Hariri, under the stewardship and supervision of  his life companion Nazik Rafik Hariri.

Distinctions, Medals and Awards

In recognition of his great achievements and excellence

Rafik Hariri was awarded numerous medals and awards, mostly in his lifetime as well as following his assassination. The list goes as follows:-

  • Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (1981)                            
  • Chevalier of the Italian Republic (1982)                     
  • Cedar National Medal / Rank of Commandor (1983)     
  • Saint Peter and Saint Paul Medal (1983)                                 
  • Save the Children 50th Anniversary Award (1983)
  • Medal of King Faysal (1983)                                                             
  • Médaille de la Ville de Paris (1983)
  • Golden Key of Beirut City (1983)                                   
  • Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (1983)
  • Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (1986)                               
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Boston University (1986)          
  • Docteur Honoris Causa de l’Université de Nice (1988) 
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the Arab University of Beirut (1994)                                               
  • Goldaen Key of Sao Paolo City / Brazil (1995).       
  • Medal of the Liberator of Argentina – General José St. Martin 1)995)                                     
  • Prix Louise Michel – France (1995)
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of Georgetown University – Washington USA (1996)                           
  • Grande Croix de la Légion d’Honneur (1996)          
  • The Grand Cordon (1996).                                                                    
  • The Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Grand Gwang Hwa Medal - Korea (1997)               
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Ottawa, Canada (1997)                                         
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Montreal, Canada (1997)                                
  • Le Grand Collier du Trône – Morocco (1997)
  • Knight Grand Cross - Italy (1997)
  • Al Nahda medal, First Category, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (2001).                                 
  • Medal of Honor of the Arab Union / The Arab Union of Veterans Associations (2001).        
  • “Star of Romania” at the rank of “The Grand Cross” (2002)
  • Union Medal / Republic of Yemen (2002).                            
  • Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon (2003).                                           
  • Orient Doctorate Degree, Moscow State Institute for International Relations (2003)              
  • UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honor Special Citation for Post Conflict Reconstruction / World Urban Forum, United Nations - Barcelona, Spain (2004).                                                      
  • King Faysal International Award for Serving Islam, equally with the Islamic Bank for Development (2005).
  • Tipperary International Peace Award Irland (2005).