Civic Imagination

A Leader

Fouad Chehab, a Lebanese president from 1958 to 1964. If you were to ask about his presidency, a classical answer you would hear is that he was the man who built much of the Lebanese institutions and successfully fought corruption. Lebanon lived through its finest prosperous time during his reign. Residents loved him. In midst of his term, specifically in 1960, Chehab resigned given that he saw his job as a president as only temporary. Upon seeing his country reach a stable stage, he judged that as the ideal time to resign. Upon hearing the news, members of the parliament went to his house to voice their disapproval, they cheered for him, asking him to stay. Chehab agreed to complete his term (legally completing his required 6 years). He refused to be elected a second time, since he did not see that as democratic. Moreover, Chehab never accepted gifts (except for books), as he regarded them as forms of bribery, no matter how small in value they are.

This story is part of history. Its character is a public figure. It appealed to me in its concepts, Chehab was known for his honesty and integrity, he followed a nontraditional path, used modern principles of dialogue and moderation and coupled them with public reforms, that succeeded despite the challenges.

leader, president, integrity

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