Carmen Chahine Debbane joined the personalities who marked the Lebanese world diaspora through their humanitarian, educational, philanthropic actions and their professional success. Founder and CEO of the Lebanese Center for Special Education – CLES, Chahine Debbane was honored in March 2017 at the ATFL’s 19th Gala Awards Night in Washington DC, when she received the prestigious Philip C. Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service, recognizing her exceptional achievements in private and public sector. The Gala was held in front of 500 guests, including Senator Spencer Abraham, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, Senator John E. Sununu, former Republican U.S. Senator, Gebran Bassil, minister of foreign affairs and emigrants, Elizabeth Richard, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Ralph Nader a political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney, Darell Issa, the Republican U.S. Representative for California’s 49th congressional district, Ray Irani, former chairman and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum, Ghada Irani, member of the National Board of Directors for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Habib Debs, Chairman and CEO at Advanced Technology Systems Company, and Ray Debbane, co-founder and CEO of INVUS Group.
CLES provides individualized educational assistance to children, of normal intelligence with specific learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysphasia and ADHD in partnership with the ministry of education and the UNICEF. Since 1999 CLES has helped thousands of children to remain in the main stream educational system through its 7 diagnosis and treatment centers as well as its learning support classes in 104 public schools up-to-date all over Lebanon.
Honorable Darell Issa introduced Carmen Chahine Debbane by praising her generosity and action saying “I’m proud to say that you’re my friend and you’re the best of the best”. After thanking him and the ATFL Chahine Debbane said “this award means a great deal to me because Lebanon means a great deal to me. So many of us here tonight share this in common, carrying forward a tiny piece of Lebanon in our hearts. We are eager to give back to our country of origin, to provide a better future there and a so desired peace”.
Chahine Debbane concluded by announcing CLES’s new partnership with the National Dance Institute of New York, which will integrate dance into public schools and help children build self-confidence on a whole new level.
ATFL is a nonprofit, nonsectarian and nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization of prominent Americans of Lebanese heritage, who work to strengthen the historic U.S.-Lebanon relationship. The Philip C. Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service recognizes exceptional achievement in public service. It is named for The Honorable Philip C. Habib, who was described by The New York Times as the “outstanding professional diplomat of his generation in the United States” upon his death in 1992. In 2006, Ambassador Habib was one of six historic diplomats honored with his own postage stamp.