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
Voted by the majority of the television audiences via SMS as their favorite team, the Mayyas Group recorded with their triumph a first-time-win for Lebanon in these regional competitions.
#3 Beirut Entered the Guinness Book by Raising 26852 Lebanese Flags in One Day
Beirut broke the Guinness World Record by raising the most national flags ever displayed in one city in 24 hours, breaking as such the Waterloo's record in New York since 2000.
#4 Google awarded AUB 1 million dollars
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
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity awarded the Lebanese Annahar newspaper the Grand Prix for Print and Publishing for its surprising "Blank Edition" that was published as a wake-up call over the critical conditions in Lebanon.
#6 Queen Elizabeth II of England praised Lebanon in a statement
Upon the royal visit of Countess Sophie of Wessex to Lebanon, the countess read the Queen's message during the celebration of the Queen's 93rd birthday:
"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 renowned genre-bursting Italian tenor and multi-instrumentalist, Andrea Bocelli, celebrated the opening ceremony of The Cedars International Festival-Bsharri (CIF) in the presence of 6000 people.
#8 Lebanese University's Professors went on a two-month strike
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
During a Christmas musical concert held at the Assembly Hall in the American University of Beirut, former prime minister Fouad Siniora was forced to leave the hall after heavy chants by AUB students demanding Siniora to leave.
#10 Lebanese woman earned Lebanon 3 Gold Championship medals in Jordan
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
For the first time in their history, the Lebanese U-15 Women National Team topped the West Asian Football Championship with three wins over Palestine, Jordan, and Syria in the final match, winning the 2019 U-15 West Asian Football Championship.
#12 Lebanon entered the Guinness Book with a Christmas tree made of plastic bottles
Caroline Chaptini, along with the municipality of Chekka and a crowd of people donating and assisting, built a Christmas tree made of 120 thousand plastic bottles. Caroline's tree beat Mexico on The Guinness Book of Records with this environmental and holiday-inspired project.
#13 Hundreds of lawyers visited all prisons in Lebanon and promised justice to all detainees and prisoners
اكثر من 750 محامي ينطلقون إلى حوالي ٢٥ من السجون اللبنانية لتوثيق احوالاها pic.twitter.com/PVtkY4nymi— Loubnan Hawiyati (@LoubnanH) December 22, 2019
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
Mohamed Fakih is the founder and CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, Middle Eastern restaurants, and food chains, operating in many countries such as Lebanon, the USA, Canada, Pakistan, and Ivory Coast in Africa. Fakih was named the “Best Businessman of the year at mBot", a company of educational robots for kids, and is the first Lebanese and the first immigrant to be awarded the key city of Mississauga.
#15 Spine Beirut was awarded Best Overall Bar 2019
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
Rana Nicolas is a member of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), Among 500 participants, she has proven to be one of the 12 candidates chosen to compete in the Dubai TV show "Astronaut."
#18 Ziad Al-Rahbani finally returned to Lebanon's nightlife and music scene
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
Lebanese comedian, actor, and presenter Adel Karam and Netflix joined forces again in an original series titled Dollar. Alongside Dollar, "Al Kateb" is also a Lebanese series available to the audience of 190 countries under its English title "The Writer."
#20 Blood donations in Lebanon hit a national record in one day
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
Lebanese filmmaker Ahmad Ghossein won 3 prizes in the 34th edition of Venice Film Festival for his debut feature All This Victory that beholds a story set in the South of Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel.
#23 AUB Medical Center earned the gold standard of nursing excellence
AUBMC is the first medical institution in the Middle East to have earned five international accreditations of Joint Commission International (JCI), Magnet, College of American Pathologists (CAP), and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
#24 First Medical Center launched in Lebanon to provide state-funded care
Health minister Jamil Jabbak inaugurated Lebanon’s first ministry-contracted medical lab and radiography center where patients can undergo tests paid for by the state.
#25 MEA flight crew delivered a baby on-board a flight
In the absence of a doctor, the MEA cabin crew were alerted to handle themselves the situation, assisting the lady with the delivery. With the help of the crew, the mother managed to deliver her infant, a baby girl, who was then taken care of by the cabin crew.
#26 A Lebanese girl was crowned MasterChef Australia 2019
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
Yanni concert was attended by 5000 music lovers at Beirut Holidays Festival, on July 23rd, 2019.
#29 Facebook partnered with Embrace in their suicide prevention campaign
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
On September 12, the Lebanese Government endorsed the country’s first National Action Plan (NAP) to increase the engagement of women in security and peace, while enhancing their protection and leadership.
#32 Nadine Njeim was voted Best Arab Actress 2019
The Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim won the Best Arab Actress 2019 award at the 10th Arab Satellite Awards for her role in Ramadan series "Five Thirty" Khamse w Noss after she was chosen by public vote and a panel of senior critics.
#33 Lebanese Omar Itani won the 2019 Young Champion of the Earth
The young Lebanese Omar Itani was rewarded with the title of the 2019 Young Champion of the Earth for West Asia by FabricAID, in addition to the prestigious Denis Pietton Award by the French Institute and French Embassy in Lebanon and French Embassy in Lebanon, for his outstanding endeavors in helping his fellow humans.
#34 Lebanon joined the International Ice Hockey Federation
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
One of the tragic events that Lebanon suffered from this year was the wildfires that ripped through more than a hundred areas across Lebanon and for more than 24 hours are finally extinguished.
#36 Lebanese people revolted against corrupt politicians in the biggest united revolution the nation has ever seen
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
#38 A new version of the Lebanese Anthem inclusive of women was born
The Lebanese Annahar newspaper took the brilliant initiative to adjust the Lebanese Anthem to be inclusive of the Lebanese women, equally in the essence and roots, for their longtime contributions to, and vital role in, Lebanon.
#39 An independent candidate became the Head of Beirut Bar Association for the first time in Lebanon
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
Snapchat App released a filter of the Lebanese flag to show solidarity and support to the 17 October Lebanese Revolution.
#41 Lebanese Illicit Enrichment Law was used for the first time against a former Lebanese Prime Minister
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
A new medical achievement raised Lebanon's name high once again when Professor Jamal Ayoubi succeeded in performing a first-time uterus transplant in France, making possible the impossible for a sterile woman.
#44 Pope Francis addressed the Lebanese in two messages
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— zoulfikar harake🎽 (@HarakeZoulfikar) October 26, 2019
بيروت ما اسمها سوليدير بيروت هي البلد اللي قادر يعيش فيه الغني والفقير#لبنان_ينتفض pic.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
Dr. Tarek Salah achieved a remarkable recognition among various European countries and 400+ oncologists from across the world and earning the accreditation of the European Cancer Committee.
#47 Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on the 13th day of the Lebanese revolution
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
Korean travel YouTuber Chomad, The Life of Jord, American travel blogger Drew Binsky and American Youtuber and vlogger Luke Korns among many others who came to Lebanon only to share the essence of the revolution with the world.
#49 Arrest of the Director-General of the Traffic and Vehicles Management Authority
Judge Ghada Aoun ordered the arrest of Hoda Salloum on Friday, December 13 to be investigated for the crimes of bribery, illicit enrichment, forgery, and breaching job duties.
#50 Clash between Lebanese MP and Public Prosecutor
Due to Hoda Salloum being detained by the Public Prosecutor of Mount Lebanon judge Ghada Aoun, the MP of the Akkar district in North Lebanon angrily stormed into her office on December 11th, calling Judge Aoun a "militia, not a judge."
#51 Paula Yacoubian received the Order of the Crown from the King of Belgium
Current MP and former Lebanese journalist Paula Yacoubian received the Order of the Crown from King Philippe of Belgium, one of the highest, for her active involvement in the humanitarian and environmental spheres in Lebanon.
#52 The Lebanese Revolution took over Lebanon Independence Day
November 22, 2019, saw Lebanon celebrating its 76th anniversary of Independence in an unprecedented way as the Lebanese people organized it all and all the nation took part.
Civilian regiments representing professions and communities, including the diaspora who flew especially to participate and give a new meaning to our Independence, formed the parade in Beirut, and celebrations of various types were many across the country.
#53 A Lebanese Doctor Made a Paralyzed Man Walk Again!
Lebanese American surgeon Dr. Mohammed Baydoun brought an unexpected hope to so many families worldwide when he made a patient, who was paralyzed from the neck down, walk again. The patient had an accident two years earlier and was told that he will never be on his feet again.
#54 A Lebanese Doctor Engineered Lab-Grown Organs!
Dr. Anthony Atala, an American of Lebanese descent, has started to refurbish diseased and damaged tissues using the body's own healthy cells
#55 Four Lebanese Ranked Among the 2019 Most Influential Architects in the Middle East
There are architects who influence the world, and among the most influential in the Middle East in 2019, these Lebanese have made it to the top list, according to Middle East Architect: Ali Basbous, Hala Younes, Karim Moussawer, and Joe Tabet.
#56 Universities all over Lebanon are asking their students to pay in LBP instead of dollars
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
During a Christmas musical concert held at the Assembly Hall in the American University of Beirut, former prime minister Fouad Siniora was forced to leave the hall after heavy chants by AUB students demanding Siniora to leave.
#60 A new Prime Minister was assigned to form a new government
Hassan Diab was appointed to head Lebanon's next cabinet, causing political conflicts within the politicians and mounting displeasure the people of the revolution.
#61 Lebanese women and mothers stopped attempts of sectarian conflicts
The mothers of Jal El-Dib's march, the mothers of Ain El-Remmaneh and Chiyah, and the mothers of Ashrafieh and Khandaq united in separate marches and called out any attempts at sectarian conflict in the most emotional way possible.
#62 United Nations voted to force Israel to pay Lebanon $850 million
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
Founded by Lebanese native Maya Maalouf Kenaan, M de Noir Chocolatier was chosen among the 25 best chocolatiers in the world at the Salon du Chocolat Paris in France.
#65 Beirut ranked among the 'Creative City For Literature'
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Beirut Creative City for Literature on the occasion of World Cities’ Day, celebrated on 31 October.
#66 Caparnaum nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Nadine Labaki's Capernaum movie was among the two finalists competing for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 91st Academy Award.
#67 The Guardian ranked Capernaum among the Best Films of the 21st Century
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!— Hiba Tawaji 💫 (@hibatawaji) May 9, 2019
Heureuse de prêter ma voix (parlée et chantée) à #Jasmine pour la version Française du nouveau film @Disney #Aladdin 💫
🎥 Le 22 Mai au cinéma !!! @DisneyFR @disneyaladdin #Fr @realguyritchie @willsmith @NaomiScott @MenaMassoud @AIMenken pic.twitter.com/07nnwgxgXJ
Walt Disney selected Hiba Tawaji to cast her voice on the character of "Yasmine" in the French version of the new Aladdin movie.
#69 Lebanon endures severe economic crisis due to the pegging of the Lebanese Pound with the dollar
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_يغرق pic.twitter.com/VwjGP1Fib1— 🇱🇧 Rachel Karam 🇱🇧 (@KaramRachel) December 9, 2019
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
Lebanese actor Nicolas Moawad was selected from among 1,700 actors worldwide to perform in the American film "His Only Son." The Biblical story was filmed during the month of June in Los Angeles - United States.
#72 Lebanon’s Balou Balaa among the world’s best waterfalls
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
National Geographic listed the "Best Beaches in the Middle East" with Lebanon's Tyre beach landing a spot on the list, alongside eight other beaches from the Middle East and North Africa region.
#74 The First Lebanese woman to conquer Everest and the 7 Summits’ Challenge
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
Lebanon and the world woke up on Sunday morning, May 12, 2019, to extremely sad news. Maronite Patriarch Emeritus Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir passed away at the age of 98, after suffering from a chest infection.