We often talk about blood ties, but we should never forget those of the land... The proof is in Michel Ghazal, who was born in Lebanon and arrived in Paris in 1973 to pursue a postgraduate degree in business management, thanks to a French government grant. With a doctorate in hand, he settled in Paris and set up his own consultancy firm specialising in training in negotiation and conflict management, but his thoughts always remained focused on his country, which he supports through regular donations. In 2012, having made his career, he sold his company and decided to carry out a project that was close to his heart: "My training has been the key to my professional and personal journey. I wanted to give back a little of what I received...".
He then created the Ghazal Foundation for Education, Research and Peace in LebanonThe Foundation is a non-profit organisation, housed at the Fondation de France, with three specific focuses. In conjunction with the social services of Saint-Joseph University in Beirut, the foundation grants a dozen scholarships per year (renewable for the duration of the course) to deserving students from modest backgrounds. This financial aid is coupled with more personal support, as Michel Ghazal travels to Beirut once a year to meet the students, discussing their projects and the possibility of continuing their studies in France... Anxious to promote access to culture for all, the Ghazal Foundation also offers a dozen outings per year, based on the arts and ecology, to the pupils of the public school of Jezzine, the village where Michel Ghazal's father was born. Visiting a museum or planting a tree... each time the experience is a breath of fresh air for these children, most of whom are under house arrest because of their extreme poverty.
But Michel did not want to stop there. "I have dedicated my life to negotiation and conflict resolution. The subject was particularly sensitive in my country, after the years of civil war (1975-90) that destroyed it and left 250,000 dead. Since 2012, the Ghazal Foundation has been supporting each year an association that works, on the ground, for a more harmonious coexistence between the Lebanese. Awarded in 2019, the Chaml founded a university for non-violence in Beirut. The association regularly puts on plays in which different communities perform together, and works to rebuild ties between inhabitants, some of whom once had to flee their villages.
Since the explosion on 4 August, Michel Ghazal has joined forces with the Fondation de France to raise funds for Lebanon. His foundation supports the teams on the spot who take care of the most destitute families, and participates in the rescue operation of some 650 historic buildings damaged by the explosion. It also contributes to the France-Liban endowment fund, which helps Lebanese students in France whose parents can no longer help them.
In addition, Michel Ghazal regularly makes his voice heard through his blog He comments on current events and tirelessly reminds us of the power of diplomacy and negotiation. In the face of the hatred and violence that is engulfing Lebanon, and the world.