Ahmad Muhammad BeK Daouk
Ras Beirut: 1892- 1979
Ahmad Muhammad Bey Daouk (Ahmad) was a Former Lebanese Prime Minister and a Prominent businessman. He was born in Ras Beirut 1892
Early Years 1892 - 1911
Ahmad's first glances towards life started during an economic boom that Beirut witnessed throughout the late 19th century. His family had a pristine reputation in Beirut's industrial sector. Ahmad attended an Ottoman school in 1898 and attained a certificate in 1910. In 1911, Ahmad pursued his studies in the National School of Arts and Crafts of Aix-en-Provence, in southern France.
YOUTH and engineering years 1912-1926
Ahmed finished his studies abroad Beirut Vilayet in 1915, where he obtained a french diploma in engineering. With the unfolding of World War I, Ahmad returned to Beirut and from their moved to Egypt late1915. Residing in Cairo, Ahmad began his engineering career as an engineer at la Société Générale des Sucreries. Ahmad rapidly climbed the company's hierarchy until becoming its chief director in 1918.
In 1919, Ahmad received a telegram from Sharif Hussein of Mecca who was now also the King of Hejaz. Sharif Hussein offered Ahmad to be his personal technical adviser for tracing lands suitable for oil refining. Ahmad accepted the offer and moved to Mecca the consecutive year. He would prove to be a very trustworthy figure and for that, Ahmad was quickly appointed in charge of all matters regarding oil tracing and refining. Ahmad would work between Egypt and the Hejaz which would soon become Saudi Arabia, until finally returning back to Lebanon in 1926
Philanthropic and municipal Years 1927-1937
In 1927, Ahmad became an influential philanthropist in Beirut. He joined his elder brother Omar, and learned how to manage the funds within the Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association of Beirut. By 1928, Ahmad was deputy council of Beirut's Municipality. Later on in 1935, Ahmad would join Omar in Beirut's Chamber of Commerce where he also gained experience with the flow of money within Beirut.
Political Years under the french mandate 1940-1942
In 1940, Ahmad was appointed as Secretary of State for Public Works and Post Telephone and Telegraph by the president. He was then appointed as Prime Minister in 1941. His term was a turbulent one, which paved way for Lebanon's independence, after he dissolved the government by resigning. This sacrifice would only make France's occupation more unjustified. Eventually, France would withdraw from Lebanon subject to international pressure.
Diplomatic Years 1943-1959
In 1943, Daouk became the President of the National Congress of Lebanon right after he completed his term as Prime Minister. In 1944 Daouk was chosen as the consul of Lebanon to France he would become its first ambassador and remain at that position within his diplomatic mission until the end of his term in 1958. Ahmad Daouk’s ambassadorship to France remains the longest in Lebanon’s history till today. Lebanon’s first embassy to France was a property purchased, owned and resided by Ahmad Daouk until selling it to the Lebanese state following his return to Lebanon from his diplomatic mission to France.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Lebanon 1960-1961
Upon the election of Fuad Shehab as President of Lebanon, he dissolved the Lebanese parliament on the 5th of May 1960. Ahmad was appointed as Prime Minister for the second time. Ahmad formed a new interim government subsequently and granted the Left Wing 11 seats new seats in parliament, restoring political balance with the Right Wing. 40% of parliament was dedicated to independent politicians, this step sought to affirm neutrality within the political rifts of the 1960's. In his own cabinet, Ahmad placed himself as Minister of Finance. Ahmad's government would be short lived and he would not provide his ministerial statement to parliament, subsequent to its dissolution by the president. However, it did pass its most important remanent, the 1960 Electoral Law or what was then called Daouk’s Electoral Law. That electoral system was only amended 57 years later prior to the 2018 parliamentarian elections in Lebanon.
Later part of Ahmad's life 1962-1979
Following the end of his second term, Ahmad left Lebanese politics and began initiatives with UNESCO to raise awareness of Lebanon's heritage and historical sites. Hunting was a hobby of Ahmad. He spent most of his later years practicing his hobbies. This did not halt his main career, Ahmad eventually went back to business and became part of OGERO's board of directors. After leaving OGERO, Ahmad dedicated most of his time perfecting his palace on Bliss Street and returned to his family's philanthropic traditions.
Ahmad's death in 1979 left a legacy behind. He is regarded as a key figure in Lebanon's independence. He was honourably mentioned along the 10 greatest Prime Ministers of Lebanon. Today his name has been cemented in Beirut's Central District. Beirut's municipality named Ahmad Daouk Street in the northern part of the Beirut Central District perpendicular to Emir Majid Arslan Street.