January - March 2001
EC President Romano Prodi was welcomed in Beirut city center by SOLIDERE chairman-general manager Nasser Chammaa. Mr Prodi, who visited Beirut for the first time in 1958, was impressed with the reconstruction of the city center.

Mr. Chammaa also welcomed Prince Laurent of Belgium, heading a delegation of Belgian officials and personalities interested in environmental and conservation issues. The price expressed admiration for SOLIDER's efforts in heritage conservation, sea protection and environmental cleanup.

Francis Griffin, vice-president of the Chamber of Economic Development in Monaco, was received with a delegation.

Princess Catherine Sadruddin Aga Khan visited the city center, where she toured the Hadiqat As-Samah site and St George Greek-Orthodox cathedral.

Official visitors included Bulgaria president Peter Stoianov; Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan; Mrs Sophie Nathun, spouse of the Gabon prime minister; Egyptian minister of electricity Ali Saidi; former UAE minister Abdullah Amran; and Qatar Amiri diwan chief Abdullah Al Thani.

Among business visitors were Saudi investor Alal El Faasi and Jassine Manai, head of the Arab Commerce Fund, heading a delegation of 30 exporters and importers of building materials.

Representatives of the following companies and institutions also came: UAE Trade Financing program; The World Construction and Bin Khaled groups (Abu Dhabi); Abdullatif & Mohammed Al Fozan Co (Saudi Arabia); EQUATE (Kuwait); Steelcase (Dubai); Belgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Netherlands Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries; OSRAM (Germany); Bang & Olufsen International; ABN-AMRO; Lausanne Hospitality Consulting; Hill-Rom (US); MasterCard International; Bouygues and Crédit Agricole des Caisses Nationales (France); Petro-Force (Syria); Optimum Holding group and OBEGI chemicals (Lebanon).

From the professional and academic world came 15 American Bar Association members; 15 Harvard University town planning students, 15 architects from Stuttgart University; 13 students from Norwegian universities; and a representative of International College in the US.

The media was represented by teams from Tricompictures TV production (US), Argentinian Radio and TV, Dubai TV, Herald Tribune TV and Belgian TV; as well as journalists from Australia, Canada, Germany and the US.