ACMCU Founding Director Prof. John L. Esposito Remembers Hasib Sabbagh

Jan. 12, 2010 – Hasib Sabbagh (1920-2010)

Hasib Sabbagh, prominent Palestinian businessman, philanthropist and the man responsible for the creation in 1993 of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, has passed away.

Hasib Sabbagh was a son of Palestine. Born in Tiberias, Palestine in 1922, graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1943, and co-founded the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) in Haifa. Following the establishment of Israel, CCC moved its headquarters to Beirut, Lebanon in 1948 and due to the Lebanese civil war moved in 1977 to Athens, Greece. The CCC is largest multinational corporation in the Middle East and one of the largest contracting companies in the world with over $4 billion in annual revenue and at least 160,000 employees.

Hasib's greatest hope, passion and mission was the establishment of an independent state. He dedicated his life, energy and resources to a finding a solution to the plight of the Palestinian people. A member of the Palestine National Council (PNC) and the Palestine Central Council, committed to peace based on a two state solution, he was the leading Palestinian philanthropist, contributing generously to a wide range of social service, civic, humanitarian and educational institutions not only in Palestine and the Middle East but around the world.

In 1993, Hasib Sabbagh realized what he often called his second great wish. Under his leadership and vision, a group of Arab Christian and Muslim businessmen who had formed the Fondation pour L'Entente entre Chretiens et Musulmans, Geneva, signed an agreement with Georgetown University establishing the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding to build bridges of understanding between the Muslim world and the West as well as between Islam and Christianity. The Center's mission was and is to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West and enhance understanding of Muslims in the West. The geographic scope and coverage of the center includes the breadth of the Muslim world, from North Africa to Southeast Asia, as well as Europe and America. Since its foundation, the Center has become internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Muslim-Christian relations. Hasib Sabbagh worked tirelessly to raise funds and contributed most generously to the support of the Center.