Hasib Sabbagh (also spelled Hassib) came from a
Christianfamily in Safedin Palestine, although he was born in Tiberias. He graduated from the Arab College of Jerusalemin 1938, and in 1941 gained a civil engineering degree from the American University of Beirut.
In 1943, with four other contractors, he established the
Consolidated Contractors Company(CCC) in Haifa. Sabbagh left Palestine in April 1948 and moved to Lebanon. CCC was reestablished there in 1950, becoming the region's largest multinational and one of the largest contractors worldwide.
A longtime member of both the
Palestine National Counciland of its central council, Sabbagh provided crucial international contacts for Yasir Arafatduring the 1970s and 1980s. Most controversially, his 1978 meeting with the Phalange, first agreed to and then denounced by Arafat, provoked condemnation from the Lebanese and Syrian governments as well as from Palestinian opposition groups. In 1988, his active support encouraged Arafat to steer the Palestine Liberation Organizationfirmly toward a renewed peace initiative.
Diana Sabbagh Foundation, one of the largest Arab charitable foundations, Sabbagh has supported institutions of higher education across the Arab world and the West, and has influenced a range of dialogue initiatives, notably in the United Statesat the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carter Center, and the Center for Muslim - Christian Encounter, and in Palestine within the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH), under Hanan Ashrawi. He also cofounded the Welfare Association for Palestinians, chaired the Palestinian Students Fund, and has been on the boards of the Arab Bank and of many academic institutions and pro-Palestinian think tanks, such as the Institute of Palestine Studies.
* [http://www.hasibsabbagh.com/ Hasib Sabbagh's personal website]
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