20140421 - BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Press conference by Dr. Kamel Mohanna from Amel, a large Lebanese NGO, about his new book "Difficult choices" and the situation in Lebanon, at Medea bookstore.

Amel Association International’s founder, Dr. Kamel Mohanna, was born in 1943, he spent his early life in Khiyam, South Lebanon. Marked by an arduous childhood facing poverty and inequality, he became a man with the courage to choose the right but challenging options instead of the easiest ones.

Originally pediatrician, Dr. Kamel Mohanna strengthen his humanitarian commitment after the second Israeli invasion of South Lebanon (1978) when he founded the NGO Amel Association in collaboration with a group of doctors, teachers, journalists and intellectuals. During the war, Amel Association played a significant role providing relief and emergency response. Since then, the NGO has established a considerable network of dispensaries, clinics, medical centers, and a dedicated team of more than 800 volunteers and aid workers.

While changing Amel’s strategy from emergency relief to a global development-based response, Dr. Kamel Mohanna was honored with several titles recognizing his courage and humanitarian action in favor of the most vulnerable during the war. Among a long series of titles, he received the Order of Honor on behalf of the President Jacques Chirac in 1998 for his long commitment to caring for the injured abroad and the Civil Peace and Human Rights Prize (Joseph and Laure Moghaizel Foundation) in collaboration with the UNDP Programme in 2006.

During his career, Dr. Kamel Mohanna continued to practice pediatrics while teaching as a Professor at the University. As the General Coordinator of the Lebanese NGOs Network he gave rise to a nation-wide campaign entitled “Khallas”, a civil society initiative urging politicians to end the current deadlock in Lebanon.

Lastly, he participated in the Saint-Cloud Conference held by the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, as a representative of civil society. 

Personal Information

▪ Date of birth: 11 February 1943

▪ Marital Status: Married, 5 children

Educational Background

▪ MD Degree, University of Tours (France), 1970

▪  Diploma in Pediatrics, University of Grenoble (France), 1974

Medical Practice

▪ Pediatrician, Private Clinic (1974-today)

▪ Contractual Pediatrician, Ministry of Public Health (1975-2007)

▪ Professor in Pediatrics, Lebanese University (1982-2007)

▪  Doctor, Hopital Grec-Orthodoxe (1974-1982)

Major Humanitarian Engagements

 ▪Founding President, Amel Association International (1979 – today)

▪ Co-Founder, “3 L” Movement for Solidarity, Dignity and Humanity with Persons in Exile (within the framework of Amel’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize)

▪ General Coordinator, Lebanese NGOs Network (1990-today)

▪ General Coordinator, Arab NGOs (1990-today)

▪ NGOs Representative, Lebanon High Council for Health (1980-today.)

▪ NGOs Representative, Humanitarian Country Team (2013-today)

▪ NGO Representative, Regional Advisory Group for the MENA region, International Council of Voluntary Associations (2015 – today)

▪ Honorary President, Amel France (2015-today)

▪ Founder, Najdeh Association

▪ NGO Representative, Thematic Group on Conflict, World Humanitarian Summit (2015-2016)

▪ NGO Representative, London and Kuweit Pledging Conferences for Syria (2013-2014) 1

▪ Expert, World Health Organization (1990-1995)

Civil Society Engagement

▪ Expert, Civil Society Group, Organisation International de la Francophonie (2017 – today.)

▪ Founding Member, Société d’Entraide des Membres de la Légion d’Honneur – Section Liban

▪ Board Member, Nudge Lebanon (2018 – today)

▪ President, General Union of Lebanese Students in France (1968-1970)

▪  Civil Society Representative, Conference for the Lebanese Dialogue, La Celle Saint-Cloud, France (2008)

Most Recent Publications

▪ The Epic Journey of Difficult choices, Biography of Dr Kamel Mohanna (interviews with Chawki Rafi), published in Arabic (Dar Farabi, Beirut, 2013), English (2016) and French (Harmattan, Le Point, Paris 2015)

▪ Mohanna, Kamel. Volunteering and Civil Society, Dar Farabi, 2014

▪ Mohanna, Kamel; Hijazi, Mustapha. The role of civil society facing the challenges and the dangers met with the Lebanese families, 2013.

▪ Dignité, Humanité et Solidarité : L’approche citoyenne, universelle et sans discrimination d’Amel Association

▪ International avec toutes les personnes vulnérables affectées par les crises in Human & Health Review, 2017.

▪ Impact of the Syrian Crisis in Lebanon: civil society as a vector of change in A lternatives Humanitaires, 2017.

▪ Mohanna, Kamel. National and international NGOs: equal partners? in on the Road to Istanbul, Humanitarian Accountability Report, Published by CHS Alliance, Geneva, 2015.

▪ Rebuilding Health Post Conflict in Human & Health Review, 2016.

▪  Mohanna, Kamel ; Micheletti Pierre. “Aider le Liban qui aide la Syrie”, Liberation, Paris, 2013.

His Vision:

Under the Moto “Positive Thinking and Permanent Optimism”, Dr Kamel Mohanna committed himself early to the development in Lebanon and the Arab world of the concept of citizen belonging, through the creation of Amel Association International and his work with organizations of the civil society. This belonging promotes the civil rights of all citizens, with no religious, sectarian, regional and political distinctions.

In a country such as Lebanon, undermined by confessional powers and political cliente-lism, he acts as a precursor and develops Amel Association International through the creation of centers all over Lebanon while constantly exploring new fields in human and economic development. Despite solicitations from political and confessional movements, Kamel Mohanna has kept independent, away from temptations and privileges, creating a parallel trend fully dedicated to a balanced development, to dialogue and a politic of acceptance of the other, since each one tends to orient him/herself to a common aim: a life as good as one can have while having all the chances on one’s side.

For him, to reduce inequalities and injustices and gather people around each human being’s common points are an ideal and a lesson of faith. Dr Mohanna advocates for a humanitarian action based on a partnership of solidarity that is sincere and engaged for people’s right cause, away from the excess of technicism, of excessive media exposure and charity business. He calls for the end of the industry of human rights put into place by the great powers with the aim to justify their interventions and that leads to the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, for the return to a sincere and fair partnership between the North and the South based on the true values of humanity and human rights.

Despite difficulties, Dr Mohanna never gave up and after more than 50 years of fighting, he still has the same Moto which he applies in his daily life and which consists in valorizing a human being in a sound body (health project) and mind, free of his thinking and conscious of his rights. His work and engagement tend towards a universal humanitarian movement based on the rights of the human being to build a common future based on solidarity.

Main Awards and Distinctions

▪  Award (on the behalf of Amel Association International), Ghazal Foundation for Peace (2016)

▪  Candidate (on the behalf of Amel Association International, nominated by Professor George Corm), Nobel Peace Prize (2016-2018)

▪  Candidate (on the behalf of Amel Association International, nominated by MEDICO International), Nansen Award for Refugees (2018)

▪  Award, National Arab American Medical Association (2012)

▪  Award, LiberPress, Spain (2010)

▪  Officier, Légion d’Honneur (awarded by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy), France (2009)

▪  Distinction, French Senate (2006)

▪  Award, Arab Forum (2006)

▪  Distinction, Lebanese Order of Doctors (2000)

▪  Man of the year, Mouvement Culturel d’Antelias (2000)

▪  Chevalier, National Cedar Order (1998)

▪  Prix Laure et Joseph Moghaizel pour les Droits de l’Homme et la Paix Civile (on the behalf of Amel Association International) (1998)

▪  Chevalier, Légion d’Honneur (awarded by the French President Francois Mitterand), France (1995)

▪  Ordre du Merite (for its contribution to improving human condition), Comité Libanais pour la Paix (1980)

▪  Award, Symbol of Love and Donation, National Commission for the Child Day (1974)


▪  Association medical Franco-libanaise

▪ National Order of Doctors

▪ Arab Social Protection Network

▪ Friendship Association Lebanon-China

▪ Friendship Association Lebanon-Morocco

▪ Mediterranean Citizens Assembly

▪  Redaction Committee, Human and Health Review

Keynote speaker in Conferences

▪ Euro-Mediterranean Movement for Solidarity, Dignity and Humanity with Persons in Exile, Rome, 2018, organized par Amel Association International and Samusocial International

▪ “Dignity, Solidarity and Humanity with persons in exile Innovative Practices”, Athens, 2017, organized par Amel Association International and Samusocial International

▪  Localization of Humanitarian Action, Beirut, 2017, organized by the French Red Cross Fund

▪  Conference for the 50t h anniversary of the Merieux Foundation, Annecy, 2017, organized by the Merieux Foundation

▪ Humaniser l’accueil des personnes en situation d’exil, Paris, 2017, organized par Amel Association International and Samusocial International

▪ Conference for the Anniversary of the French Agency for Development, Paris, 2016, organized by the AFD

▪ AIDEX, Brussels, 2017

▪ World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, 2016, organized by the United Nations

▪ ICVA Annual Conference, Geneva, 2016

▪ Etats généraux de l’humanitaire, Annemasse and Grenoble, 2015 and 2016, organized by Humacoop

▪ World Humanitarian Summit Global Consultations, Geneva, 2015, organized by OCHA

▪ Conference on the history of humanitarian action, Geneva, 2015, organized by ICRC

▪ Conference on resilience and humanitarian action, Marseille, 2015, organized by AFD

▪ National Humanitarian Conference, Paris, 2014, organized by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

▪  Conference, Salon du Livre de Paris, Paris, 2014

▪ Round-table, IREMMO, Paris, 2013

▪ Round-table, Salon du Livre Francophone, Beirut, 2013

▪ Conference on the Core Humanitarian Standards, Istanbul, 2013, organized by the CHS Alliance

▪ Round-table on the Mediterranean region, World Social Forum, Tunis, 2013, organized by the MCA

▪ Social Summit, Copenhagen, organized by the United Nations, 1995



● Professor Melani CAMMETT
Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University Boston, April 7t h , 2016

“Dr. Mohanna, deserves recognition for his personal commitment to humanitarian work, whether through Amel or in other contexts. As his biography attests, he holds numerous awards and distinctions and has held leadership positions in many Lebanese and international organizations. What is most remarkable about Dr. Mohanna is the long experience he has accrued in helping others – often under quite dangerous and difficult circumstances. For example, during the notorious siege of Tel al-Zaatar in 1978, Dr. Mohanna was the only doctor who remained in the area to provide emergency medical care to the desperate population, which was composed mainly of Palestinian refugees. Not only did he put himself directly in the line of fire, but he also did not hesitate to help a population that has faced decades of neglect and discrimination in Lebanon. Beyond his direct experience in delivering humanitarian aid, Dr. Mohanna forcefully and publicly advocates a broader vision about changing Lebanese society for the better. On several occasions, I have had discussions with Dr. Mohanna on his ideas about constructing an engaged citizenry through humanitarian work. In the development studies classes that I teach at the university level, one of my favorite books to assign is Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom . When I listen to and read about Dr. Mohanna’s vision for Lebanon, it strikes me that Dr. Mohanna’s work puts Amartya Sen’s ideas into practice. Both Dr. Sen and Dr. Mohanna see a direct connection between improving human capabilities and promoting human freedoms. The integration of service provision with programs to build inter-group tolerance and human rights awareness is a cornerstone of Dr. Mohanna’s vision of development. I am delighted to support the nomination of the Amel Association for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. I cannot imagine a more worthy organization to receive such a distinguished award.”

● Professor Georges CORM
Former Lebanese Minister Finance
Professor, Institute of Political Sciences, Saint-Joseph University, Beirut Economic and Financial Consultant
Beirut, January 21st, 2016

“I consider that Dr. Mohanna’s experience in the humanitarian field has allowed him and his organization to be among those who truly understand the current dramatic refugee crisis affecting Lebanon. In this respect, Dr. Mohanna advocates a greater solidarity both with the people of Syria and with the countries hosting refugees, such as Lebanon. This is why AMEL ‘s activities in favor of Syrian refugees can become a model for Governments or NGOs having to cope with huge flows of desperate refugees.”

“Today, Kamel Mohanna is an icon in his country, an icon of dedication, civic action, compassion and energy at the service of the poorest and most neglected, as well as to those who suffer physically. His journey told here is emblematic of a generation of Arabs who, in heart and soul, are invested in national as well as humanitarian action. In this sense, his biography is an important document for historians and sociologists of the Arab world and for all those interested in the tragic fate of Lebanon and the Levant.

● Pope FRANCIS Vatican, May 15th, 2017

« Sensible a votre [i.e. the visit of Dr Kamel Mohanna to the Vatican, in 2017] témoignage et aux épreuves surmontées, le Saint-Père vous encourage sur votre chemin de l’attention à l’autre, du partage, de la solidarité et de la paix. Il nécessite d’inviter à construire des ponts entre les cultures, entre les peuples et les nations. »