Tag: Lebanon2020

31st July 2015 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

So…Yalla, Bye

Tom Fletcher

Dear Lebanon, Sorry to write again. But I’m leaving your extraordinary country after four years. Unlike your politicians, I can’t extend my own term. When I arrived, my first email said ‘welcome to Lebanon, your files have been corrupted’. It should have continued: never think you understand it, never think you can fix it, never […]

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24th May 2014 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

An Apology, and a Lebanese Manifesto

Today I visited the Presidential Palace to thank President Sleiman for his leadership. Throughout his mandate he has led Lebanon with great dignity and wisdom, and worked tirelessly for unity and consensus. He has just left the building. In theory, a new President should be preparing to arrive, making the last adjustments to his or […]

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7th February 2014 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

DIVA DIPLOMACY – ‘ONE LEBANON: UNITED FOR TOMORROW’

Last Saturday, twenty Lebanese stars performed together in a powerful rejection of divisive politics and sectarianism. Pop idols, divas, comedians, sportsmen, rappers and actors put on the best possible display of the real Lebanon – talented, resilient, and proud of their country. It was an extraordinary night. The charismatic Anthony Touma got the largest screams, […]

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29th November 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Waves, Arguments and Cliffhangers: Ten Ways Diplomats Can Communicate Better

French diplomat Jules Cambon saw the dangers of diplomatic openness in 1931, complaining that ‘the activities of the press, and ignorance of a public that insists on being told everything, do not create an atmosphere favourable to prosecution of political designs’. He was right, long before Assange and Snowden, that the media would sweep away […]

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9th October 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Lebanon: Optimists, Pessimists and Realists

A former British Ambassador here was asked at the end of a radio interview what he would like for Christmas. Thinking it typical Lebanese generosity but not wanting to be too greedy, he gave a modest reply. Listening to the broadcast later, he was shocked to hear several envoys asked the same question. The US […]

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25th February 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Invitation to a Virtual Dinner: Can Lebanon Skip a Tech Generation?

Earlier this month I posted some futuristic thoughts on what Lebanon could be in 2020. Much more interesting than the speculation in the post was the response. The almost 300 comments so far give a good sense of current debate in Lebanon: idealism, cynicism, fatalism, frustration. Some seek to apportion blame, many to identify practical […]

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8th February 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Beirutopia

Diplomats hate making predictions. Churchill once said that you could ignore every other page of Foreign Office advice, because it tended to be in the form of ‘on the one hand’ and ‘on the other hand’. The files are full of pre-election telegrams that hedge their bets. There are good reasons for this. We don’t […]

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10th January 2013 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Success in the 21st Century – Ten Questions for Lebanon 2020

This week I was asked to speak at USEK, on ‘How Does Lebanon Succeed in the 21st Century?”. Tough audience, tough subject. Especially on the first day back, and after a night of epic storms (during which my sons had taken it in turns to wake me to tell me how frightened they were). In […]

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20th December 2012 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Lebanon 2012: Running to Stand Still

Each year, many ambassadors send Ministers a review of trends in their country, and thoughts on what lies ahead. To share the more candid elements would be a bit of digital transparency too far, but here is a redacted version of what I have just sent. You can read the rest when it is released […]

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12th December 2012 Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Fletcher

by Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Thank You for The Days, Those Endless Days…

This has been a fortnight of International Days. Disability Rights Day, Anti-Corruption Day, Human Rights Day. Probably more that I’ve missed. In each case, the issues at stake are too important for Lebanon, and the rest of us, to be ignored. So, on Disability Rights Day, I teamed up with Fadi El Halabi, the inspirational […]

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