A Perfect Storm in Lebanon | Leadership Lessons

May 11, 2021  • Aspen Global Leadership Network

Throughout 2020, Karim Ba’albaki (Middle East Leadership Initiative Fellow) experienced what he calls a “perfect storm.”

As the ongoing political crisis in Lebanon compounded with the impacts of COVID-19, his perspective on what it takes to lead shifted.

Karim has been part of a battle to improve Lebanon from the inside for the past ten years, but after the port explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020, put his family in danger, he made the tough decision to move out of the country. While his commitment to positively impact Lebanon remains steadfast, this choice rocked his foundational belief on how it can be done.

“I continued to struggle personally with this question of have I been a hypocrite? Have I been telling people to do something that I have not been doing?”

Watch the first episode #LeadershipLessons, a new video series from the AGLN, to hear Karim reflect on how he’s changed as a leader and how this time revealed what he values most.

Karim Ba’albaki is a Fellows in class five of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative, a program  He is Chairman and Managing Director of Baalbaki Chemical Industries- BCI Holding S.A. and the Chairman and Managing Director of BCI Egypt SAE. BG is a leading regional manufacturer of specialty chemicals with manufacturing facilities and operations in the UAE, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Italy.

The Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative identifies, connects, and motivates proven business, government and civil society leaders from countries in the Middle East—encompassing all countries in the region, including those in the GCC—to apply their unique skills and platforms to solving pressing societal challenges in their communities and countries.

Leadership Lessons – a Video Series from the Aspen Global Leadership Network

The impacts of COVID-19 continue to challenge our communities. However, through these challenges, there’s a lot to be learned. In “Leadership Lessons” hear from leaders who have stepped up in new ways and remained steadfast in their values through this crisis. How did they make the tough decisions? How have they changed as leaders? Tune in and gain top insights from values-driven leaders – Fellows in the Aspen Global Leadership Network – who are battling trade-offs, creating rapid responses to community needs, sharpening new skills, and more.

New episodes are released Tuesdays and Thursdays on the AGLN’s social media handles. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to watch in real-time.