BEIRUT, 18 May 2017 – The 41 winners of the first Arab Student StarPack competition for the best packaging design were announced at an award ceremony at the headquarters of the Union of Arab Chambers on 17 May. The event, held under the patronage of Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon, was organized by the Lebanese Packaging Centre (LibanPack), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Arab Student StarPack is the first regional packaging design competition in the Middle East open to university students in all Arab countries. The competition’s main objective is to promote creativity and innovation in this field. Some 1000 students from 15 Arab countries entered the competition.
Many high political and economic figures attended the event including Adnan Kassar, President of Economic Bodies; Fouad Rahmé, Chairman of the Lebanese Businessmen Association (RDCL); Toufic Daboussi, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Tripoli and North Lebanon; Samir Rahal, Chairman of the National Council for Lebanese Economists; and Nabil Gemayel, Chairman of LibanPack. The award ceremony was also attended by members of the diplomatic corps, by senior UN officials in Lebanon, and by a large number of industrialists, businessmen and media representatives.
In his speech, Lebanon’s Minister of Industry, Hussein Hajj Hassan, declared: “Packaging is an industry in itself that opens wide horizons and fields to other industries in the marketing and export process.”
The Minister spoke of the need for government policies to decrease unemployment rates by creating job opportunities, activating industrial and agricultural production sectors, reducing imports and increasing exports, opening up foreign markets to Lebanese products, and boosting tourism and services sectors.
In his address, Thomas Schneider, President of the World Packaging Organization (WPO), emphasized the key role played by packaging in the life of any product. He also explained the role of the WPO in this field, especially with regard to promoting the development of packaging technology, contributing to the growth of international commerce and encouraging education and training in the packaging field.
For his part, Switzerland’s Ambassador in Lebanon, François Barras, mentioned the role played by the Swiss government in the establishment of LibanPack, and promised his continuing support. He also praised the efforts of LibanPack.
Cristiano Pasini, UNIDO’s Regional Representative, said: “The Arab StarPack competition provides students in the region with a priceless opportunity to unleash their creativity and innovation and make a positive impact on industries. Arab StarPack is an important platform between young generation and industrialists and will contribute to the fostering of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Lebanon and other Arab countries.”
The president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, Fadi Gemayel, said that the award ceremony “shows the importance of the packaging industry and the many prospects it can offer to our region and our youth”.
He called for intensified Arab industrial cooperation and intra-Arab trade, adding “As the President of the Arab Union for Paper Industries, Printing and Packaging, I will spare no effort to achieve this goal.”
In her speech, Soha Attallah, the Director of LibanPack, emphasized the importance of launching awareness campaigns aiming to encourage school students to engage in productive sectors, rather than focusing solely on the services sector. She added: “We have to move from being a consumer society to become a productive society, so that we can move forward, otherwise we will be standing still, and as His Excellency the Minister always says, the cost of our imports will always be higher than that of our exports."