2014 has been a pretty messed up year on the Lebanese scale, but amidst all of it, there were a few Lebanese whose news served as a diversion from all the mayhem. Their accomplishments made us happy, even if they didn’t pertain to us directly. As we saw some of them make it big on an international level, we were maybe reminded of our own hidden potential over here. Others caused ripples right at home. To those Lebanese, I came up with this to salute them.
This list is without any order.
1 – Fadel Adib
This 25 year old from Tripoli made it to MIT’s list of 35 innovators under 35. His innovation? A system that uses wifi signals in order to track people, their vital signs and other important components. The applications are limitless: from tracking elderly who are prone to falls, to new radiology methods in medicine to police application in criminal activity monitoring….
2 – Hind Hobeika
Hind was one of the most influential women of 2014 according to the BBC. She invented the Instabeat Goggles, a swimming monitor that tracks heart rate to offer real-time feedback. The device mounts on the straps of any swimming goggles, and reads the heart rate from the temporal artery.
3 – Mohammad El Mir
This 11 year old from Tripoli won a competition in Germany earlier in the year that found him being named the world’s junior genius. He beat out participants from 40 other countries. He deserves more recognition than what he got, but the future looks bright for him either way.
4 – Amal Alamuddin
She was the most ubiquitous Lebanese around the globe this year. As far as the globe is concerned, it’s all because Amal now has Clooney as her last name. But Amal is one of the world’s most brilliant lawyers. Her list of client includes people like Julien Assange and former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko. She has also lately been chosen to represent Armenia in the European Court of Human Rights. She has charmed people across the world, standing not only as equal to Clooney, but sometimes being the more interesting of the two.
5 – Aya Bdeir
She was also on MIT’s 35 innovators under 35 list. Her invention is LittleBits, a library of modular electronic units that can be connected to build many different things ranging from a sound machine, a night light, or even a lifelike robotic hand. She has sold hundreds of thousands of units so far in over 80 countries. And I bet she’s not stopping anytime soon.
6 – Rand Hindi
He was named by MIT as one of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35 for his work in a company he founded called Snips, which analyzes data in hopes of making city living more efficient. To put that into effect, Snips partnered with the SNCF to create an app that predicts three days in advance how crowded trains would be on a certain day. In a world that’s increasingly built on algorithms, data, and numbers, analyzing such input is becoming not only essential, but vital.
7 – Jackie Chamoun
It all started when Jackie’s photoshoot for a calendar surfaced through a video that showed her nude. The news passed under the radar, until Sports Minister Karami saw her behavior as “insulting.” All online hell broke loose. From “I’m Not Naked,” to “#StripForJackie,” the country saw a tangible liberal movement rooting itself in the collective mindset of everyone. Debates about women, feminism, body image and sex became the talk of the moment. Jackie didn’t end up winning an Olympic medal, but she became a household name almost overnight.
8 – Yasmine Hamdan
She first became known with Soapkills. Today, however, Yasmine Hamdan is on a whole other trajectory of success, having made it to Hollywood all by herself through her music. On “Only Lovers Left Alive,” she sings the song “Hal.” That song is on a shortlist to the Oscars this year.
9 – The People Behind Sakker El Dekkene
They were the country’s first NGO to truly break into the mainstream when it the issue of corruption. For that, they devised an app that lets people pinpoint where they saw a corrupt act taking place and report it. They also set up base at various locations around the country to raise awareness. In a country where almost anything is at a price, shedding a light on this cancerous aspect of our society is very important.
10 – Bushra El Turk
This Lebanese composer was featured by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women of 2014 for her music. Her compositions have been played by orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, among many others.
11 – Manale Daou
Most of you know her as the clerk that MP Nicolas Fattouch attacked for telling him to stand in line. Soon enough, she was spear-heading a campaign against Fattouch, who had managed to weasel his way out of every tough spot in his career. But not this time. The Beirut Law Syndicate decided to disbar him soon after he got caught up in another scandal. Daou filed a lawsuit against him. Who knows where all of this will lead, but at least she was able to do something.
12 – Bahia Chehab
She’s an associate professor of practice of art at The American University in Cairo, and was featured by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women in the world for the past year. Her influence comes from her tangible work in the Egyptian revolution(s), by orchestrating the most widely used graffiti consisting of the Arabic word “No.” She explains it all in her widely popular Ted Talk.
13 – Wael Abou Faour
At a time when his predecessors did nothing of the sort, him doing his job becomes big news. His methods may be unorthodox – announcing restaurants in a weekly Star Academy-like nominee style is odd, and open to much criticism, but his work in the late months of 2014 on food safety in the country has shaken establishments.
Reblogged this on Climbed Up The Apple Tree.
Thank you for compiling that list of inspiring very deserving people who are Lebanese. Will show it to my kids first and then share it with the rest of the world. Also the star academy remark cracked me up 😀
Thank you for reading and for sharing! 😀
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Thanks a lot, Elie. It makes me proud to hear that I could contribute towards a happy divergence 🙂
And, I absolutely agree with you that many people back home have hidden potentials. Hopefully, we can help in uncovering those talents, and, more importantly, encourage ourselves and others to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
Thank you for checking the list out, and keep up the great work. I have to say, we have a ton of mutual friends and they were all very very proud of you when the MIT list got published a few months ago.
Having number 13 there next to all these young and talented innovators makes absolutely no sense at all. He’s paid for doing this job and half the country wouldn’t know his name without this non-calculated and really really badly mis-handled rant that did him more publicity than fixed things.
I debated this for an entire week actually. To put him or someone else or even other entities in his place. At the end of the day, I’d ask random people: name one person that made it big in 2014, and after Amal (obviously) they’d mention him. So even though I don’t agree with his methods, find the way he’s handling this to be up for some serious improvement, I still can’t deny that even him doing his job, at a time when his predecessors did not, is making a dent – regardless of where that might lead later on.
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I think Sara Khatib a 22 years lebanese cancer fighter and amputee deserves to be on the list.
Sara was one of the names I considered during the entirety of the time I worked on this list, but ultimately I had to make the very tough decision to exclude her.
check him out or Google him Sarkis Mazmanian please
Good News That make the Lebanese Proud from the choosing of some successful and distinguished Lebanese personalities that established good acheivement for Lebanon and the worldly Society . Lebanon is proud of you .
Joseph Ayoub .Lebanese – American Poet and H.S. Teacher .Ohio – U.S.A.
Welcome to Lebanon: where geniuses, intellectuals, social activists and successful business people are put on the same level of a corrupted politician who found the opportunity to make a name for himself by doing his job for a once, succeeding in making every Lebanese forget about all the corruptions of his political party (how fu***d up are we to forget all!), or a skier who likes to photoshoot half naked photos more than winning an Olympic medal, or a simple political harassment victim out of thousand others who didn’t get the opportunity to be covered by our selective media, all making the list of people who made it BIG. I’m sorry my friend but I would devide your list into two very seperate ones.
Welcome to Lebanon: where geniuses, intellectuals, social activists and successful business people are put on the same level of a corrupted politician who found the opportunity to make a name for himself by doing his job for a once succeeding in making everybody forget about all the corruptions of his political party (how fu***d up are we to forget all!), or a skier who likes to photoshoot half naked photos more than winning an Olympic medal, or a simple political harassment victim out of a thousand others who didn’t get the opportunity to be covered by our selective media, all making the list of people who made it BIG. I’m sorry my friend, but I would devide your list into two very separate ones: brilliant people, uninteresting media highlights.
Jackie Chamoun sparked one of the most interesting discussions in the country about sexuality, body image, liberalism, and eventually her matter shed light on domestic abuse and caused a frenzy which pushed parliament into adopting the law that they did on the issue. I say that’s pretty important.
Regarding Abou Faour, as I said, he’s on the list because he was the talk of the country for pretty much the past 2 months. Regardless of what I think of him, which isn’t favorable, or his political background, he did in fact “make it big” as the title says.
Well done…. Finally something not related to politics and which focuses on positives rather than negative…. Who made the list is great and if readers think that others are also worth it they can add or post a comment. Let us all agree to disagree…. Everyone has his/her personal views… Different perceptions…. If things are not inline with what one thinks is right or what is acceptable it does not necessarily mean it is wrong. Criticism is great as long as it is constructive…. Thank you Elie for a good read….have learned something new today
Thank you for checking it out!
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Love this! And I’m glad you included Wael Abou Faour – I still don’t get why he’s getting criticized for doing his job.
Because he’s doing it in a very “TA-DAAAA” manner?
A refreshing list. Even though I have reservations on a few names, I accept that mainstream pop culture should have a place in the yearly best achievements. It WAS a terrible year after all.
Which names might those be? Perhaps I could clarify my choice. And yes, it was a terrible year.
I’m going to be on top of that list soon (2016) 😉 remember my Initials 🙂
This list is a nice way to keep Lebanese people competitive and aware of their potential,
I hope it continues.
Chady Mattar – producer of The Pyramid movie with 20th Century Fox in hollywood.
Oliver Ojeil & Cliche VFX Beirut- first post production house from the Middle East to work on a hollywood movie. http://stepfeed.com/the-pyramid-special-effects/
Although proud of all the list above:)
It is so inspiring to learn about these young people, inspite of all the devastation,, corruption, poverty, etc, etc..in our beloved Lebanon, that they do not give up, in contrary given us hope, inspiration and show the world that there are existing, valuable, creative masterminds. They are our hope to let our country stand up again.
You also forgot to include a young amazing singer who sings in at least 6 or 7 languages, Mayssa Karaa who graduated from Berklee school of music in Boston, sang the arabic version White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane in arabic ( specially translated to arabic for her) in the movie American Hustle in 2014.Thanks for mentioning the rest
Hmm…Yasmine Hamdan? Sara Khatib could and should have replaced her on this list. She did NOT get to Hollywood “all by herself” and she has never given credit where it’s due. As a Lebanese musician who knows the people who did get her to where she is, I believe she does not deserve a place on this list.
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i wouldn’t include WAEL FAOUR in this list , he would start closing 80.000 Syrian illegal business and shops that they have established in Lebanon on private and public properties the same way he’s closing the lebanese supermarkets selling corrupted food .. .. OTHERWISE , this makes up suspicious , and doubt if they have the intention to impoverish the lebanese to push them to leave the country . in order to replace the lebanese with the new invadors so called ” SYRIAN and PALESTINIAN REFUGEES” .. especially that he was the first who invented the Syrians to flee to lebanon when he declared the lebanese borders opened to any Syrian or Palestinian seeking refuge in Lebanon , and later in his new fonctions , he was also the only minsiter who objected closing the borders to refugees and objected the decisions made by the minister of interior AL Machnouk ,who put restriction on Syrians who flee to Lebanon ..
WAEL ABOU FAOUR , works in the same party of JUNBLAT , who is the worst assassin in Lebanon’s history , who committed genocides against lebanese christians starting with those who were supporting him . he who , put barricades on the highway between Beirut and South Lebanon , to prevent Lebanese Army to come to the help of the threatened Lebanese christians of Damour from the genocides that the barbarian palestinians committed against them
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