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Wed 10 Dec 2008 06:28 PM

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Rich List-Hasib Sabbagh

Rich List-Hasib Sabbagh

Describing himself as a ‘Palestinian refugee turned businessman of the world’, Hasib Sabbagh is now a highly influential industry leader and philanthropist. Born in 1920 in Tiberias, Palestine, Sabbagh shone from his early days as a student until he graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 1941.

In 1952, along with his brother-in-law Said Khoury, and friend Kamel Abdul Rahman, Sabbagh set up the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), a company that would become the largest engineering and construction company in the Middle East, specialising in building oil plants and pipelines around the Middle East and the former Soviet republics.

Today, the company is headquartered in Athens, Greece, and is one of the largest construction companies in the world with a workforce of over 70,000, composed of more than 60 nationalities, in almost every country in the Middle East, as well as in Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The company is ranked first among the top 10 contractors in the Middle East, and is one of the top industrial/petroleum contractors in the world.

 

CCC has been at the forefront of the adoption of new construction technology to improve efficiency, provide more rapid execution while ensuring high-quality performance. Two of the founding members are presently leading the group, Sabbagh as honorary chairman since suffering a stroke and Khoury as president.

He is a member of the Palestine National Council as well as a member of the Palestine Central Council, where he has played an important role over the years. He is also deputy chairman of the Healthcare Organisation of the West Bank and Gaza and chairman of the Palestinian Students Fund, which provide social and economic services to residents of the West Bank and Gaza.

To promote the training and education of young Palestinians, he gives financial aid on an annual basis to educational institutions such as al-Najah University in Nablus, Bethlehem University, the Islamic University in Gaza, the Gaza National College, and Bir Zeit University in the West Bank.

Hasib has not limited his assistance to Palestinians, but has also given generously to other causes. After the death of his wife, he founded the Diana Tamari Sabbagh Foundation, which receives 1 percent of his annual income and distributes it to a wide variety of institutions in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. He has given financial aid to the Beirut Charities Foundation, the American University of Beirut, the Jordan Charities Foundation, the Welfare Association in Geneva, and the Vatican.

In the United States he has been primarily generous to healthcare and educational institutions. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have received generous grants from the Diana Tamari Sabbagh Foundation, as has Harvard University (the alma mater of his daughter Sana), Georgetown University (in particular the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding), the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC think tank, Eureka College in California, and Webber College in Florida (where his sons studied). In 1995, he made a generous donation to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to create a chair in Middle East affairs. It is now occupied by Richard Murphy, a former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs (1983 – 89) and the present chairman of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.

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