In the Beirut Bar Association elections on Sunday, November 17, independent candidate Melhem Khalaf won over candidates backed by the country’s most acclaimed political parties, with 2341 votes. Khalaf being an independent, not affiliated with any political party, and a pro-revolution, his winning is considered to be another achievement of the Lebanese Revolution. So, who is Melhem Khalaf?
#1 He is a USJ graduate
Khalaf earned his Bachelor's degree in Law from Saint Joseph University in Beirut, and continued his studies until he earned his Ph.D. degree from Montpellier University in France. The title of his thesis was: “Legal information and how it can be applied in the field of inheritance law according to Islamic law.”
#2 He is a university professor
Rabab el Sadr, Wadad Halawani, Pierre Issa, Kamel Mhanna, and Melhem Khalaf awarded for their resilience, stuborness, and determination to change the world @USJLiban @sadrfoundation @AmelNGO #arcenciel @OffreJoieLB @EIUC @wadadhalwani @karimbitar pic.twitter.com/5lX4epA9Yj— Sciences Po Beyrouth / USJ (@ISPLiban) December 10, 2018
Khalaf is a Law professor at Saint Joseph University – Faculty of Law and Political Sciences since 1990. He also takes part in Ph.D. thesis discussions in Lebanese universities along with French universities outside Lebanon.
#3 He is the founder of “Offre Joie”
Farah Al-Ata’a “the joy of giving” is an NGO founded by Melhem Khalaf in 1985. Offrejoie is an apolitical and non-confessional Lebanese NGO. It brings together volunteers from all faiths and all areas across Lebanon, who advocate and act for a plural, free, and fair Lebanon.
In 2012, it launched in Iraq as its first location outside Lebanon with the desire to promote unity and solidarity across social and religious barriers.
#4 One of the founders of “Together Around Mary”
He was one of the founders of the initiative “Together Around Mary” which was the result of dedicating the 25th of April as a national day of solidarity.
#5 He was a volunteer with Red Cross
Khalaf volunteered as a paramedic with Red Cross during the 1975 Lebanese Civil War.
#6 He has a position with the United Nations
Khalaf was elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations as a member of the International Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva. He was later on elected Vice-Chairman of the Committee in 2017.
#7 He participated in various legislations committees
He was a member of the Law Modernization Committee in the Ministry of Justice and a member of the Lebanese National Committee at the International Academy of Comparative Law in The Hague, Netherlands.
#8 He worked for a scientific research center in Paris
In 1989, Khalaf worked in the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris (CNSR-Paris).
#9 He comes from a family of law
Khalaf was born and raised by the Lebanese Constitution, as he descends from a family of jurists, judges, and lawyers.
#10 His election campaign was “paperless”
Khalaf wrote as a caption under an Instagram post in his official page on Instagram: “After running a paperless campaign, we made sure of cleaning other candidates’ leftovers...”
#11 Khalaf’s message to his followers on Instagram prior to his winning
Khalaf sent out a message via his official Instagram page in a video saying: “Sunday, November 17, 2019, is a day to achieve our dreams, and I am waiting for you. Together, we can make the Bar Association the crane needed to rise the nation.”
#12 Khalaf was not the official Revolution candidate
Even though none of the Revolution committees suggested a candidate to represent them in the Beirut Bar Association elections, Khalaf was -and is still- independent. He dedicated his achievement to the whole nation in a statement after being elected.
#13 He directed a message to the students of the revolution
Khalaf sent out a message for students of the revolution, asking them to keep going and be patient, and to hold on to Lebanon.
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