October - December 2000
In and About the City Center

Saifi Village

The completion of building 120-10 (with the exception of the first floor) will allow a timely delivery to its occupants. The other three buildings are to follow during the next quarter.
The last touches are being put on street furniture and the pedestrian streets paved with cobblestone. The landscaping, to be finalized in the next few months, will further enhance the neighborhood's character.


Beirut city center welcomed in the last quarter Luciano Benetton, president of the multinational clothing company; German investor Manfred Schmitt, president of Spark 1st Vision; Jim Robertson, head of investment at Edinburg Fund Managers; representatives from Alpina Swiss company; others from Paribas-BNPI; as well as a number  of business and professional personalities and delegations.

Official visitors included five members of the German Bundestag; Jean-Francois Clair, from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; members of the Australian Foreign Affairs ministry; Miguel Marinas-Depasse, economic advisor at the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and Industry; an Italian economic delegation; 60 lawyers from the Federation des Barreaux in the European Community; 15 members of German industry; and a delegation from Ile de France

From the academic world came US writer Ishmael Reed; and representatives of the French Ecole Nationale d' Administration and Ecole Supérieure des Affaires in France.

From the media world came members of the Figaro magazine; a group of seven other French journalists; an eleven-member press group from the Far East; seven journalists from Germany; an Italian TV team from Viaggi, Germany; and a production team from British Tv.

Conferences, books, exhibitions

UN representative offices in Beirut celebrated the United Nations' 55th anniversary in October. Yves de San, Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, read a statement from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to a gathering of staff and officials.

Nine UN Economic and Social Commision for West Asia (ESCWA) conferences were held during the quarter.

A two-day seminar discussed the cultural and heritage importance of the old Silk Road that extended from China to the Eastern Mediterranean. It was the third in a series of conferences organized by the Beirut Heritage Association with the collaboration of UNESCO, the Paris-based Institut du Monde Arabe, and the Education Ministry.

Two new publications provide interesting reference material on the city center with beautiful texts and illustrations. 'The Grand Serail - a history of civilization, art, architecture and determination' is published and distributed by the Hariri Foundation. The Martyrs' Square heritage is highlighted in 'el Bourj - place de la liberte et porte du levant', published by Dar Annahar.

At the British Museum in London, a lecture was given by Dominic Perring on October 14, on the works of the British-Lebanese archeological mission in the Souks of Beirut.

The preserved icon collection of the St. George Greek-Orthodox cathedral was on display in October, at the Sursock Museum in Beirut.