- Head of Accessibility and Rehabilitation
About Arcenciel: Arcenciel is a Lebanese organization that supports Lebanon’s most underprivileged and marginalized communities, regardless of religion, political affiliation or nationality. One notable aspect of Arcenciel’s program is that they have multiple business enterprises that not only empower the needy but that these enterprises help put Arcenciel itself on the road to self reliance: 65% of their funding comes from sales of their products, ranging from food produced on their farm to products from factories.
Nomination in Brief
In the the aftermath of Lebanon’s religiously charged civil war, Georges Xanthopoulos worked tirelessly for the rights of those injured in the hostilities. Employing injured members of groups that used to be at war to produce wheelchairs for Lebanon’s disabled, Georges builds peace and equality through the shared value found in meaningful work.
Read Georges Xanthopoulos 2018 Nomination form (Word Doc)
George is the head of the Accessibility and Rehabilitation Program of arcenciel; Lebanon’s largest independent social enterprise. arcenciel was awarded “Social Enterprise of the Year” by the Schwab Foundation, organizers of the World Economic Forum in Davos (2015) and the first laureate of the Takreem award (2010), among others. Georges was an important actor of the passing and application of law 220/2000 in Lebanon; he was a team member in the elaboration of the law 220/2000 on the rights of people with disability, elected member of the National Committee for People with Disability since 2001 and for five mandates and a member of the national committee for the elaboration of the Lebanese Accessibility Norms. Georges was born and raised in Beirut. He holds a Degree in Civil Engineering from the Université Saint Joseph (USJ).
From 1975 to 1990, Lebanon experienced a civil war. This war was often based on religion and some of the worst massacres were caused by groups on the sole basis of religion. When the war ended, aid was also not provided for all people equally, and each political party (formed on the basis of religious sects) was only helping its partisans. arcenciel was created during the civil war, in 1985 and was born to serve all people equally with no discrimination based on religion, race or political affiliation. After the war, one of the main needs on the ground was distribution of technical aid for people who became disabled because of the war. This distribution was always done on a basis of charity and service rendering from a political party, and was not a civil right for people. arcenciel, represented by Georges Xanthopoulos, along with a committee of NGOs and political representatives, drafted and advocated for the passing of law 220/2000 that touches every aspect of people with disabilities’ lives. This law contains information relative to many sectors such as as health, education, employment, access to public spaces, transport and tax exemption. It is one of the few active government programs but is unfortunately not fully applied yet.
- Kim Issa
- External Relations Manager