A team of 8 executives and scientists of Lebanese descent working at American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna were just honored by the Lebanese government.
On behalf of Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, Gabriel Issa, presented the medals at the Embassy of Lebanon in Washington D.C. in a virtual ceremony that was just live-streamed on the embassy’s Facebook page.
The Lebanese members, including the company’s Lebanese-Armenian co-founder and chairman, were granted the Lebanese National Order of Merit in honor of their success in developing the COVID-19 vaccine with 94% effectiveness.
Ambassador Issa presented the National Order of Merit to:
- Dr. Noubar Afeyan, the Co-founder and Chairman of MODERNA
- Mr. Marcello Damiani, Chief Digital & Operational
- Mr. Said Francis, Senior VP for Business Development & Corporate Strategy
- Mr. Charbel Haber, Senior VP for Regulatory Affairs
- Dr. François Nader, Board Member
- Ms. Monique Yoakim Turk, Director, Program & Alliance Management
- Mr. Joe Sarkis, Associate Director
- Ms. Joyce Kfoury Sousa, Quality Control Manager
Not all honorees were able to attend and be decorated in person but were present virtually, except for Mr. Joe Sarkis, who couldn’t make it due to a family emergency.
“To those who were able to make it, you need a medal just for that,” joked Ambassador Issa. “You were able to brave the snowstorm and the inclement weather, thank you for making it.”
“Also I would like to thank our honorees who couldn’t make it but are joining us virtually,” he added.
The former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, who was decorated with the National Order of the Cedar, the highest state order of Lebanon, was also virtually present at the ceremony.
Each honoree had the chance to give a word after they were given the medal, whether in person or virtually.
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