The Australian-Lebanese community is definitely one that has left a mark on Australian culture. Whether in popular sitcoms or in positions of power or in top business leaderships, the Lebanese diaspora consistently proves itself across even the smallest sectors. Similarly, Houssam Abiad, born in 1976 in Adelaide, Australia, is a South Australian-Lebanese serial entrepreneur who currently serves as the Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Adelaide.
Abiad was born to Lebanese parents at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide. Shortly after, his parents decided to migrate back to Lebanon with the family at the end of 1979. He was three years old at the time.
His arrival in Lebanon in 1979 saw him and his family live through more than 15 years of Lebanese Civil War throughout which Abiad attended the Tripoli Evangelical School in North Lebanon.
Abiad had completed all his schooling in Lebanon when his family decided to return to Adelaide in South Australia upon losing their home and their property in the Civil War. It was 1995, and Abiad was 19 years old at the time, soon embarking on his university studies.
Accepted at Flinders University to study a dual degree in Health Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, Abiad subsequently graduated in both disciplines in 2007 with Honors.
While at university, in 1999, Abiad established with a partner his first business Digimob Australia, which grew from a humble retail store on Pulteney Street in Adelaide's CBD to one of Australia’s largest mobile phone service centers, acquiring its competitor Alltech Phone Repairs in 2011.
With one successful business under his belt, he then went on to launch Felici Espresso Bar on Rundle Street. He then followed it with Muscle Online, providing e-commerce platforms and online solutions for small businesses.
After establishing himself as quite the well-known entrepreneur and social figure in Australia, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Julie Bishop appointed him in 2015 to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Council for Australia-Arab Relations In 2017, Houssam was appointed as the acting Chairperson for this council.
Abiad represented the City of Adelaide in multiple and official International Delegations, including the Australian Business and Education Delegation to Chengdu, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
In 2013, he also officially represented Adelaide at the Future Governments Summit in Phuket, where the city of Adelaide was conferred the Future City of the Year Award that year.
Abiad was elected to the Adelaide City Council in 2010 as Central Ward Councillor and was subsequently elected as Deputy Lord Mayor of Adelaide City Council in 2014, a position he still serves in.
Abiad also serves on the Capital City Committee for the City of Adelaide, which is the peak political body where the City Council and State Government meets periodically to discuss the strategic agenda for the city. He is also a member of the Liberal Party.
In 2013, The Advertiser, a daily tabloid format newspaper published in South Australia, recognized Abiad as one of the Top 50 Rising Power Brokers in South Australia.