(pronounced "AYE-meel LA-hood")
"I have few promises, many tasks, and much hope. I will try my best to be the example in every aspect called for by duty, requested by the law, and made inevitable by responsibility."
The Republic of Lebanon is located in the Middle East, bordered on the north and east by Syria and on the west by the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's area is 10,452 sq km (4,036 sq mi). The population was estimated at 3,677,780 in 2002. Arabs are the predominant ethnic group. Armenians, Assyrians, and Kurds constitute small minorities. Nearly all Lebanese are Muslims or Christians. Most of the Muslims, who comprise 70% of the population, belong to either the Sunni or Shia sects. In the 1980s, the Shia became the largest single religious group. The majority of Lebanon's Christians belong to the Maronite Church, an eastern branch of Roman Catholicism. Arabic is the official language, but French and English are widely used as second languages.
Lebanon's service-oriented economy depends on banking, trade, and finance as the chief sources of income. The agricultural and manufacturing sectors, though smaller, are important as producers of exports. After the devastation of several years of civil war, the economy has recovered robustly. Gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $18.8 billion in 2001, more than doubling in size since 1993. The Lebanese unit of currency is the pound.
Pilaus de Baabdat, Beirut, Lebanon