Category Archives: News

GREAT Britain And Beautiful Lebanon At The Queen’s Birthday

Ambassador Shorter to his guests at the Queen’s Birthday Party: ‘Our long lasting partnership would not have been possible or successful without you’

British Embassy Beirut celebrated the Queen's Birthday at Beirut port, the UK's largest investment in Lebanon

British Embassy Beirut celebrated the Queen’s Birthday at Beirut port, the UK’s largest investment in Lebanon

On the occasion of the official celebration Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 92nd birthday, hosted in the spectacular backdrop of Beirut Container Port, the British Ambassador Hugo Shorter announced to his audience:

…We remain a strong partner to Lebanon investing in its future stability, security and prosperity.

Attended by their excellencies Minister Raed Khoury, representing President Michel Aoun, MP Ibrahim Azar, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister Jean Oghassapian, representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, as well key figures from the political, business and media worlds, guests flooded the British Village set-up at Beirut port – a prime example of the UK’s largest investment in Lebanon- bringing out the UK-Lebanon longstanding partnership that is both GREAT and beautiful under this year’s theme ‘GREAT Britain….Beautiful Lebanon’. One Lebanon star Tania Kassis sang the national anthems.

Guests had a taste of the finest fusion of British and Lebanese cuisine, explored some of the greatest British engineering in the world through one of the 350 donated Land Rovers by the UK to the Lebanese Armed Forces, McLaren and Lotus supercars, and had the opportunity to leave their message in graffiti style of what does “GREAT Britain, beautiful Lebanon” mean to them?

The evening’s theme ‘GREAT Britain… Beautiful Lebanon’ at the Beirut port was a fantastic showcase of what the partnership between two great countries, both with a proud maritime and trading history, can achieve and how it is both GREAT and beautiful.

Beirut container port operated by Beirut Container Terminal Consortium (BCTC) is – a joint venture between Lebanese and UK companies – has in 15 years created more than 3000 local jobs, boosted container handling four-fold to 1.2 million, and employs a genuinely cross-confessional workforce. It has never been busier in its 3,500-year history, and is now the busiest Port in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Addressing his guests in his last Queen’s Birthday Party speech, as his mission as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Lebanon comes to an end this summer, Ambassador Shorter spoke with his heart about his three years in Lebanon.

To his Lebanese friends and hosts, he said:

Laura and I will take with us the memory of the enormous warmth, hospitality and sense of fun of our hosts, and the genius for enterprise, the energy and the creativity of the Lebanese people, our wonder for Lebanon’s resilience ….. And we will take with us unforgettable images of your amazing country, Lebanon.

On the UK and Lebanon standing shoulder-to-shoulder over the last three years and the years to come Ambassador Shorter flagged that none of this partnership be it with the LAF, ISF, Ministry of Education and other partners – would have been possible with the hard work done by the many Lebanese who want to build a better country for their children.

Remembering a dear colleague and friend Becky Dykes who left us 6 months ago in tragic circumstances, Ambassador Shorter said:

…We are extremely proud to support the Rebecca Dykes Foundation, who are here tonight, in their mission to continue Becky’s commitment work to support vulnerable communities….

In his final words as a friend of Lebanon and reiterating the UK’s continued partnership and investment in the country’s stability, security and prosperity, Ambassador Shorter hoped that a government be formed as soon as possible focusing on essential economic reforms and that distances Lebanon from regional turmoil, asking the Lebanese to take their future into their own hands.

The Queen’s Birthday reception was made possible thanks to the port’s security agencies, BCTC and the generous contribution of our sponsors: Mana Automotive, Risk Advisory Group, BCTC, DG Jones, Rymco, United Automotive Agencies, Allo Taxi, Diageo, Colonel Beer, G4S, Levant Investment Bank, SADCO and Promethean.

UK-Israel Tech Hub Facilitates 175 Innovation Partnerships

According to the latest impact report, UK-Israel Tech Hub's innovation partnerships are creating potential value of up to £800 million

Impact Report

Impact Report

A world first tech partnership between the UK and Israel has been so successful that it has helped to boost the UK economy by potentially £800 million since it was launched in 2011.

The UK Israel Tech Hub, based in the British Embassy in Israel, connects businesses in both countries. It has enabled British companies to access Israel’s world leading innovations, and at the same time has helped Israeli companies go global by partnering with UK firms.

So far the hub has led 175 tech partnerships in deals worth £85 million according to a new report on its impact. Last year saw more UK organisations using cutting edge technologies in their business in areas including Artificial Intelligence, chatbots, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) and in projects such as smart cities and smart industries.

DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said:

We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, but to do that we need to work with like minded tech nations. The UK Israel Tech Hub has given aspiring British companies the opportunity to discover Israel’s world leading innovative technology. Through its success we’re now expanding the scheme to create a global network of hubs, connecting digital dynamos across the world.

Ayelet Mavor, Director of the UK Israel Tech Hub, said:

We are pleased to see more and more UK companies tackling their innovation challenges and creating long term partnerships meant to incorporate Israeli innovation into their businesses and create sustainable value for them. RBS, HSBC as well as organisations such as the NHS, are paving the way for their UK peers to work with innovators and create real win-win partnerships.

British Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey said:

The Hub has successfully connected the vibrant tech sectors in both countries throughout the years. These new partnerships mean the UK is now a major destination for Israeli innovation, and Israeli innovation is now part of many areas of life in the UK.

Read the full report

Support For Ongoing Defeat ISIS Operations In Syria

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

We welcome the launch on Sunday of operations by the Syrian Democratic Forces against ISIS terrorists in Dashisha, Syria. Dashisha is a notorious ISIS stronghold in northeast Syria from which ISIS has terrorized the Syrian and Iraqi people for many years. These operations have been planned over many months in coordination with Iraqi forces across the border to ensure ISIS terrorists have no escape. The Department of State has been proud to lend diplomatic support through this planning process together with our Department of Defense colleagues and Coalition Partners.

The Department of State is also focused on the phase after ISIS. We will help ensure that the Government of Iraq has the support it needs to fully secure it borders against ISIS and other terrorist threats, pursuant to our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq. We will also work to ensure that all the diverse people of northeast Syria, including Arabs, Kurds, Christian, and Turkmen, have an appropriate say in defining the future of Syria pursuant to the political process set forth in the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

The fighting over the days ahead will be extremely difficult. We have full confidence in our partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, and we are proud to work with them to rid Syria from the scourge of ISIS and help build a better future for all Syrians. President Trump has acknowledged that there is more work to be done to complete the defeat of ISIS and he is committed to finishing the job as quickly as possible while setting the conditions that will prevent its return.

In that regard, we continue to call on Coalition members, our regional partners, and allies to share the burden for ongoing stabilization efforts that are critical to preserving the military gains that have been achieved.

‘Start Egypt’ Discovers Entrepreneurs Across The Country

UK-funded Start Egypt programme has just completed a discovery mission for the country’s future entrepreneurs

'Start Egypt' discovers entrepreneurs across the country

‘Start Egypt’ discovers entrepreneurs across the country

Partnering with Techne Drifts and Entreprenelle, Start Egypt has toured nine Egyptian cities as part of its road shows and its female founders’ workshops. Start Egypt experts from Flat6Labs headed to Alexandria, Port Said, Assuit, Sohag, Suez, Mansoura, Tanta, Luxor, and Aswan.

In November 2017, the British Embassy in Cairo partnered with IFC and Flat6labs, offering a GBP 2 million, around EGP 47 million, grant to inspire and support thousands of Egyptian entrepreneurs through a number of entrepreneurial support services, awareness activities and a unique incubation program.

The StartEgypt road shows and workshops focused on building the resilience and know-how of future entrepreneurs to help them start their own business, attract investments, and face potential challenges. During its tour, Start Egypt offered incubation opportunities to the best new social enterprise ideas.

The programme also offered financial prizes at its latest competition in Alexandria, which took place at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

  • First prize, worth EGP 7,000 , went to GreenAlex: a start-up aimed at collecting and recycling used cooking oil, plastics and paper.
  • Second prize, worth EGP 5,000 , went to Materials Solved: a start-up developing software engineering, data analysis, computer graphics, and art to transform very complex scientific ideas to animations and illustrations.
  • Third prize, worth EGP 3,000 , went to La Verte: a start-up providing an online platform providing fresh and healthy food catering service.

Ambassador John Casson said:

The future of the Egyptian economy is not just traditional companies and it is not just Cairo. Egyptian talent is found all over Egypt and that’s why we decided to go looking for them. StartEgypt is looking for the next big thing in the world of Entrepreneurship. Planning to provide future Egyptian entrepreneurs with advice, exposure and finance, StartEgypt is turning those who have brilliant social enterprise ideas to the champions of the inclusive economy of Egypt.

IFC Country Manager for Egypt, Libya and Yemen Walid Labadi said:

Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across Egypt is vital to boost economic development and improve lives. Start Egypt, the outcome of our partnership with Flat6Labs, is raising awareness about this across the country and is helping entrepreneurs overcome the financial obstacles and realize their potential.

Flat6Labs’ Programme Director of Start Egypt Hassan Mansi said:

Throughout my StartEgypt road show journey, I found that young Egyptians have became fully aware of their local communities’ problems and are working on developing ideas and start-ups to solve them. That was very inspiring and it pointed that the economic growth of this country’s near future will come from this specific sector, start-ups and SMEs.

Over 1,200 applicants have applied to join the incubation programme of Start Egypt. For more information, please visit

Qatari And British Airmen Celebrate RAF 100th Anniversary In Doha

Senior airmen from the United Kingdom and Qatar gathered together to reflect on a century of RAF achievement and to look forward to the next 100 years

RAF 100th Anniversary

RAF 100th Anniversary

On 1st April the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. To commemorate this, the Defence Section at the British Embassy organised a dinner on Thursday 26 April at the Shangri-La Hotel. The guest of honour in attendance was His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of State for Defence Affairs, who stopped by to convey his personal best wishes and congratulations.

The RAF was the first unified air force in the world to be independent of Army and Navy control; since its formation, it has been at the forefront in resolving crises, conflict and, importantly, humanitarian operations to save lives.

Qatari friends and partners were invited to attend the dinner which was hosted by Air Marshal Stuart Atha, the RAF’s Deputy Commander Operations and HE Staff Major General (pilot) Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Commander of the Qatar Amiri Air Force. Senior airmen from the United Kingdom and Qatar gathered together to reflect on a century of RAF achievement and to look forward to the next 100 years, which will begin with the formation of a joint UK/Qatari Typhoon Squadron. In a year of celebration for the RAF, this event is the most senior taking place outside of the UK.

Attendees at the dinner included His Excellency Ajay Sharma, Air Chief Marshall Sir Glenn Torpy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Air Marshal Stuart Atha, HE Staff Major General (pilot) HE Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Major General Ali Abdulla Al-Muhannadi, Air Commodore Patrick O’Donnell, Air Commodore Roddy Dennis, Brigadier Yousef Shaheen Al-Ateeq, Colonel Mohammad Al-Mansoori, and Lieutenant Colonel Faisel Al-Ghanem. Also attending were senior members of BAE Systems and RAF personnel deployed at Al-Udeid Air Base, including Senior Aircraftsman Tom Elwick, the most junior airman on the Base.

Air Marshal Stuart Atha, RAF Deputy Commander Operations, who said:

it is a great pleasure to host such a significant event here in Doha.

Throughout its first 100 years, the RAF has been innovative and involved in operations across the globe, and I don’t see that changing over the next century.

Key to our continued success will be partnerships and none is more important than that between the RAF and the Qatari Air Force. The joint Typhoon squadron is an exciting opportunity to develop relationships and to deliver a world class capability.

I am delighted to be in Doha and to have the opportunity to commemorate the RAF’s past, celebrate its present and to look to the future with optimism and confidence in the company of senior Qatari aviators.

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