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November 2018
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Italian Ambassador to Lebanon, Massimo Marotti, bestowed the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) on Jacques Jean Sarraf, Chairman of Malia Group, in an award ceremony held in Beirut, Lebanon. Hosted by the Italian Embassy in Lebanon, the event was attended by Lebanese Ministers and Members of Parliament, government officials, and leaders from the business community.

Conferred by Italian President His Excellency Sergio Mattarella, the decoration was presented by Ambassador Marotti for Mr. Sarraf’s decades-long preservation and promotion of Italy’s prestige abroad, promoting friendly relations, and co-operation with other countries and ties with Italy.

Ambassador Marotti said, “Jacques Sarraf, as a successful and influential businessman and as a proud Lebanese, has in many occasions planted several seeds to make the ties between Lebanon and Italy flourish, more harmonious and more economically sound. Italy is grateful to a business person with a vision and with the conviction that working together Italian and Lebanese may succeed, that building business alliances make them stronger in any market they choose to operate together, that renewing in today economical global market the traditions and affinities that link Italy and Lebanon across the centuries is the way to follow,” he added.

In his capacity as Chairman of Malia Group, Mr. Sarraf has forged alliances with over 25 Italian companies covering each of Malia Group’s six sectors. In his official capacity as President of the Association of Lebanese Industrialist, he strengthened relations with CONFINDUSTRIA, Europe’s biggest employer Federation, among other notable achievements. As President of BusinessMed, he led business entities from 22 countries, and always chose Rome as the meeting point for regional meetings. Mr. Sarraf is also a founding member of the Lebanese-Italian Business Council.

Ambassador Marotti continued, “I remember when, two years ago, as President of BussinessMed, Jacques Sarraf attended with other Lebanese personalities a warm and friendly ceremony in Rome to plant a cedar tree in one of the garden of the Italian House or Representative. It was certainly a symbol of friendship and sympathy, a token of reciprocal appreciation but also a sign of the concrete will of business persons with a vision to expand and deepen the roots of the partnership between Italy and Lebanon, a sign of the confidence of the Lebanese private sector that the plant which holds together the firm ties between the two business communities and the two states will grow steadily and strongly as the cedar tree of Lebanon. Jacques Sarraf is among the persons mostly committed to the success of the relations between Lebanon and Italy and I am proud to present, in front of you, the decoration conferred on him by the President of the Italian Republic H.E. Sergio Mattarella,” he said.

Mr. Sarraf said upon receiving the decoration, “During my career in both private and public sectors, I have received awards from many governments. But this one in particular is a very dear and special one. I am very pleased that throughout my life I have worked on promoting friendly relations and cooperation with Italy. My relationship with Italy has been a long beautiful and I believe a mutually fruitful one. I have been lucky enough in both my business and personal lives to have been a part of this nation,” he noted.

For the full text of Ambassador Massimo Marotti’s speech, click here.

For the full text of Jacques Jean Sarraf’s speech, click here.

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