Billionaire Carlos Slim attends mass in Bkirki
By Maroun Khoury
(Retrieved from Daily Star on March 15, 2010)
Monday, March 15, 2010
BKIRKI: The Mexican tycoon of Lebanese origins Carlos Slim attended a mass celebration at Bkirki on Sunday, as well as an honorary dinner at the Presidential Palace in Baabda Friday night.
Slim participated in the mass held at Bkirki on Sunday and presided over by Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir, before having lunch with Sfeir and an array of political and social figures.
Sfeir praised Slim’s achievements during his sermon and reminded everyone that money and material wealth should be accompanied by charity and good deeds.
Slim was named the world’s richest man by the annual Forbes ranking of billionaires. His fortune was estimated at a net worth of $53.5 billion, according to Forbes, which said his wealth increased by $18.5 billion in 12 months.
The magnate had met in private with Sfeir before heading to a lunch attended by several political, religious and social figures.
He gave a speech during the gathering and said he was happy to be in Lebanon, a country that he has come to love.
He added that he was taught Lebanese ideals and values by his father, who emigrated from Lebanon to Mexico, and he urged the Lebanese to “unite and cooperate to preserve their country.”
Head of the Lebanese Diaspora Foundation Neemat Frem also gave a speech, saying the Lebanese have been able to succeed wherever they went without forgetting their homeland.
“The diaspora contributes $ 7 billion a year to Lebanon, which equals 20 percent of the national income,” he added.
On Friday, Slim had participated in a dinner held in his honor at the Presidential Palace. President Michel Sleiman and First Lady Wafaa Sleiman organized the event to honor the billionaire for his achievements.
The delegation accompanying Slim during his visit, Former President Amine Gemayel and his wife Joyce Gemayel, and an array of political, economic and diplomatic figures were present at the celebration.
Slim arrived to Lebanon on Thursday, his second visit to Lebanon since 1964, and met with top Lebanese officials before receiving Lebanon’s honorary golden medal.
The entrepreneur was born in Mexico City in 1940, studied civil engineering and later built up the country’s telephone company Telmex after acquiring it from the Mexican government in 1990.
He has recently made investments in telecommunications across the Americas, and has diversified his holding in the areas of water and electric utilities.
Slim is expected to share his career experience on Wednesday, when he is scheduled to speak at a conference held at the American University of Beirut. – The Daily Star