The National Order of the Cedar (Wisām al-Arz al-Waṭaniy) is the highest state order of Lebanon, established on 31 December 1936. It is offered in five grades: Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer and Grand Cordon.
It is awarded, usually by the President of the Republic of Lebanon, for “great services rendered to Lebanon, for acts of courage and devotion of great moral value, as for years in public service”.
The Medal itself consists of a five-pointed white enamel gilt-edged Maltese cross with stylised green and brown enamel cedars of Lebanon between the arms on a green enamel laurel wreath suspension.
The face, with a central red enamel medallion, inscribed in Arabic ‘Lubnan’ (Lebanon) within an inscribed gilt ring. The reverse with a circular central gilt medallion bearing the red and white enamel national flag of the Republic of Lebanon within an inscribed gilt ring.
Here is a list of 5 remarkable Lebanese and non-Lebanese recipients of the National Order of the Cedar:
Claude Comair in 2001 – Commander Grade
Via DigiPen Research & Development
Claude Comair is the founder of DigiPen Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Nintendo Software Technology Corporation. Comair attended medical school in Lyon, France, but he returned to Lebanon out of worry for his home country’s condition at the time (Lebanese Civil War, 1975-90).
In Lebanon, Comair studied and received a degree of Engineering and Architecture at Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik. Comair was offered to establish a computer-based research group for the Japanese government in Osaka, Japan.
Pierre de Bané in 2002 – Officer Grade
De Bané is a former Canadian senator that was once appointed to the Canadian Cabinet as Minister of Supply and Services. He was born in Haifa, Palestine. He immigrated to Canada in 1947 to escape the looming war and settled in Quebec.
Maxime Chaaya in 2006 – Knight Grade
Maxime Edgard Chaaya is a Lebanese sportsman, mountaineer and explorer. On May 15, 2006, he was the first Lebanese to climb Mount Everest, completing the Seven Summits challenge.
In 2007, he became the first from the Middle East to reach the South Pole on foot from the Antarctic coast, after an unsupported and unassisted journey that lasted 47 days. Then, in 2009, he reached the North Pole on foot from Canada.
Marie Bashir in 2012 – Grand Cordon Grade
Dame Marie Roslyn Bashir is the former and second longest-serving Governor of New South Wales, Australia. She was born in Narrandera to Lebanese parents Michael Bashir and Victoria Melick.
She completed the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1956 at the University of Sydney Medical School. Bashir is also a proficient violinist.
Melhem Barakat in 2018
Also known as Abou Majd was a Lebanese singer, songwriter, and melodist. Barakat started his career in the 1960s. He participated as an actor and singer in many of the Rahbani Brothers’ musicals and operettas.
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