2019 has been a remarkable year for Lebanon, a year full of big achievements and revolutions, of dreams and hope, and of many downs, and for sure of many ups. Here are 50+ of the most remarkable moments that happened in 2019 with Lebanon and the Lebanese.
#1 Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum ranked 2nd top-grossing film in China
Capernaum scored over 168 million RMB as of May 5th, 2019, which is around 25.22 million dollars. Capernaum becomes, as per Daily Box Office – China, the second top-grossing film internationally of the weekend, right behind only Avengers: Endgame.
#2 Lebanese Mayyas Group won the finale of Arab’s Got Talent
The American University of Beirut (AUB) participated among 2,600 applications from 119 countries in the worldwide Google’s AI Impact Challenge, scoring a $1 million award to launch a project that will use artificial intelligence technology.
#5 Annahar newspaper won the Cannes Grand Prix in Publishing Award
“I am delighted that my daughter-in-law is with you this evening. The United Kingdom recognizes Lebanon as a symbol of diversity, tolerance, and resilience, and I hope that the strong bond of friendship between our two countries will continue for many years.”
#7 Andrea Bocelli performed at the Cedars International Festival
The professors of the only public university in Lebanon went on a long period of strike, demanding their rights, including to keep the university’s budget the same without any amendment and enhance the university’s scientific research and laboratories.
#9 Former Lebanese PM kicked out of AUB Christmas concert by the students
Among 15 countries of the Middle East participating in the championship, including UAE and Saudi Arabia, Mahassen Fattouh has earned Lebanon 3 gold meals. One of the reasons why she participated was because, in her own words, she hopes that she will inspire more Lebanese diaspora to contribute to Lebanon in their unique ways.
#11 Lebanon’s women team won the 2019 West Asian Football Championship
In an unprecedented act of compassion, 727 lawyers and attorneys are planning on fighting for every inmate or detained person that has been arrested under false accusations, or are a victim of unfair trials.
#14 Mississauga, Toronto awarded the city key for the first time to a Lebanese
Spine Beirut won two awards at the prestigious international Restaurant & Bar Design Awards’ contests’2019: Best Overall Bar and the Middle East and Africa Bar. This place is the first rooftop bar design concept focused on the sky of Naccache, Lebanon, and was designed by Gregory Gatserelia, one of the top 100 interior designers in the world, according to Architectural Digest.
#16 Three Lebanese women made it to BBC’s 100 Influential Women List 2019
Three Lebanese women made it to the 2019 list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world, which was published earlier in October by the British Broadcasting Cooperation, BBC. These remarkable Lebanese women are Dayna Aysh, Ayah Bdeir, and Najat Saliba.
#17 Lebanese Physicist Woman Among Two Finalists for a Trip to Space
After a long retirement and absence from the Lebanese music scene, Ziad Rahbani returned to his massive fans this year and performed at the Nabu Museum in the North of Lebanon on June and was met with great success, along with other concerts on July in Beirut, featuring Lisa Simone, and August in Jezzine.
#19 More Lebanese series/ series starring Lebanese were added to Netflix
700 units of blood were donated in one day, having the potential to save 2000 human lives. This blood drive was organized by Lebanese NGO Donner Sang Compter (DSC), in collaboration with the International Organization Who is Hussain and the American University of Beirut Medical Center.
#21 Beirut ranked among best party cities in the world by CNN
CNN Travel, one of the most renowned in the world, released its Best Party Cities Around The World list for the year of 2019. Beirut took the 3rd place in this list. And, then come Berlin, Cape Town, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, and Seoul.
#22 Lebanese filmmaker won 3 prizes at the Venice Film Festival
A young and talented Lebanese descendant, aged 22, Larissa Takchi took the tough challenge and entered the competition as the youngest contestant in the group. She is known today as the youngest ever to win on MasterChef Australia.
#27 Four Lebanese celebrities received an honoring star in Dubai’s Walk of Fame
Gibran Khalil Gibran, Fairouz, Nancy Ajram, and Elie Saab were among the 400 stars that reserved an honoring star in Dubai’s Walk of Fame. Celebrities were voted by the public in a global social media campaign.
#28 Yanni rocked Beirut stage with his summer performance
Embrace Lebanon announced, on September 10th, its partnership with Facebook to support the ongoing suicide prevention campaign Talking Saves Lives. Facebook added Embrace as an expert resource within its online Safety Center in the Middle East and Lebanon
#30 Lebanon grieved the legendary star-maker, Simon Asmar
Simon Asmar began his career at the state-run Tele Liban in 1985. He then moved to LBC, Lebanon’s first private-sector TV channel, during its formation stage. He was a judge and major role in the success of the LBCI show Studio El Fann.
#31 Lebanon adopted its first national action plan for Lebanese women
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is the governing body of international ice hockey, and it has expanded since then to 81 IIHF national association members. The recent 2019 IIHF Semi-Annual Congress has admitted five new nation members: Lebanon, Algeria, Colombia, Iran, and Uzbekistan.
#35 Massive wildfires erupted in different areas across Lebanon
Hoping in action for a better Lebanon, thousands of protesters marched all over the country on a Thursday night, October 17, in demonstrations against the deteriorating conditions the country has been enduring for decades. October 17, 2019, marked the onset of the Lebanese Revolution.
#37 Demonstrations around the world in solidarity with the Lebanese Revolution
The Lawyer and Law Professor at Saint Joseph University Melhem Khalaf won over Nader Gaspard, a candidate backed up by the Lebanese Forces political party, the Future Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement, and the Progressive Socialist Party, with 2341 against 1523 votes.
#40 Snapchat released a filter in support of Lebanese people
On October 23, 2019, the Public Prosecutor of the Mount Lebanon Governorate Ghada Aoun charged former Prime Minister Najib Mikati along with his son and his nephew with “illegal enrichment” amid an ongoing anti-corruption uprising in the country.
#42 Lebanese Protesters formed a human chain across Lebanon
A human chain spanned across Tripoli, Zouk Mosbeh, Dbayeh, Jal el Dib and across Southern regions of Lebanon, and hundreds of images circulated across all forms of social media. Al Jazeera TV reported that the participants in the chain were in the tens of thousands.
#43 Lebanese doctor achieved an extraordinary transplant in France
Pope Francis addressed the Lebanese nation on Sunday, Oct 27, with a special message, “I send a special thought to the dear Lebanese people, in particular to young people, who in recent days have made their cry heard in the face of challenges and the social, moral, and economic problems of the country.” The other message was on Christmas day, describing Lebanon as “harmonious coexistence.”
#45 The Lebanese Revolution resurrected Old Beirut in the heart of Solidere
شيلكن من القشور وركزو عل اشياء الحلوة لي صارت متل انو هل حجة عم تسترزق بنص دين سوليدير بحق الله وب ١٠٠٠ ليرة منقوشة الزعتر بالوقت لي كانت المنقوشة عند “زعتر و زيت” بدك ترهن كلوة من كلاويك لتشتريها بيروت ما اسمها سوليدير بيروت هي البلد اللي قادر يعيش فيه الغني والفقير#لبنان_ينتفضpic.twitter.com/MTbG648rqF
Perhaps this might be my absolute favorite thing that happened this year. Lebanese people finally claimed back what is rightfully theirs: Beirut. In a month, Downtown Beirut turned from the empty bourgeoise space Solidere created, to a local market for the locals.
#46 Lebanese doctor earned the first place award by the European Cancer Commission
On the 13th day of the ongoing anti-government protests, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that he will head to the presidential palace to submit his resignation to President Michel Aoun, abiding as such by one of the main demands of the protesters.
#48 International vloggers visited Lebanon intending to cover the revolution
Almost every private university in Lebanon announced that they will now only accept tuition in Lebanese Pounds due to the harsh economy and the difficulty Lebanese people are dealing with searching for dollars.
#57 Amal Clooney spoke in support of the Lebanese Revolution
Amal Alamuddine Clooney expressed her opinion under the title A Moment of Hope for Lebanon, which was published online in the English version of Annahar newspaper: She supports Lebanon’s uprising against corruption and injustice.
#58 A Lebanese protester among the Top Five Faces of World Revolutions by BCC
Alaa Abou Fakher was selected among a list of worldwide prominent protesters of 2019, for turning, upon his martyrdom, a symbol of the Lebanese pacific revolution that has brought the eyes of the world onto Lebanon for the past two months.
#59 Former Lebanese PM kicked out of AUB Christmas concert by the students
The UN General Assembly voted on the draft titled “Oil slick on Lebanese shores.” According to the UN press, 158 members were in favor of the Israeli government assuming responsibility and compensating Lebanon and Syria for the damages it caused; the compensation was estimated to be around $856.4 million in 2014.
#63 Salma Hayek thanked her father publicly for her Lebanese genes
Salma Hayek shared an Instagram post on her father’s birthday. The post was an adorable picture of both her and her father, with the following caption: “Yesterday I took this picture with my father who turns 82 today. Thank you for those Lebanese genes بابا ( Dad in Arabic)! #lebanon #daddyslittlegirl.”
#64 Lebanese chocolate factory was chosen among the best in the world
2019 was a major win for the movie industry in Lebanon, and particularly for our beloved director Nadine Labaki. Labaki’s Capernaum ranked #71 among the Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Films of the 21st Century.
#68 Disney selected a Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji to perform in the New Aladdin movie
Belle surprise à vous annoncer! Heureuse de prêter ma voix (parlée et chantée) à #Jasmine pour la version Française du nouveau film @Disney#Aladdin
The dollar reached 2700 LPB in black markets in October and November, knowing that the Lebanese Central Bank has put a fixed price on the dollar for 1512 LBP.
#70 Lebanon flooded
شهد لبنان تسونامي وفياضانات وزلزال مشان هيك عم منشوف هالشي باكتر من منطقة مش لان وزير الاشغال بس بيطلع بيعتذر ومش لان الوزارة والمعنيين ما فاضيين يعملو بنى تحتية متل الخلق بس فاضيين الزفت بالانتخابات يوصل عباب الحمام ولا البلديات تعمل واجباتها ولا شي!#فنيانوس_سوري#لبنان_يغرقpic.twitter.com/VwjGP1Fib1
Again in 2019, like previous years in the absence of decent governance of the country’s affairs by the officials, Lebanon practically flooded; houses drowned in water, cars sunk in the streets, tunnels closed because of the high level of water, and many houses and buildings were damaged. Again, like in previous years, blames flooded as well between municipalities and the ministry of public work.
#71 Lebanese actor selected to play the main role in American movie
The British daily newspaper “The Guardian” advised its readers and nature lovers who focus on adventurous trips and are looking for stunning waterfalls all over the world, from Japan to the Isle of Man, to visit Balou Balaa Falls in Batroun – North Lebanon.
#73 National Geographic listed Tyre beach among the best in the Middle East
The Lebanese climber Joyce Azzam achieved her dream of becoming the first Lebanese woman to scale the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, including the world’s tallest peak: Mount Everest.
#75 Lebanese doctor saved a passenger’s life on board of a flight
When the captain of one of the US Delta flights asked for a doctor, the Lebanese doctor, Ali Soueidan, quickly responded and got into action, putting his full effort to save a passenger’s life, who was having a heart stroke, at 30,000 feet.
#76 The nation grieved the Departed Spiritual Leader Patriarch Sfeir