Mouvement Social is one of the first and most active NGOs in Lebanon. It was founded in the late 1950s by Grégoire Haddad - general caretaker of the Greek Catholic Archbishopric of Beirut at the time.
The story says that Gregoire Haddad was then the chaplain of young people who were actively engaged in a number of Christian associations that started meeting regularly since 1957 to discuss religious and social issues, imagining together a better future for their country.
These spirited youths, moved by boiling ideas of democracy and cultural change at the time, felt that a trans-religious entity would be more beneficial.
They were eager to act, to participate in removing internal barriers, rebuilding the society, the nation and the human being in Lebanon.
That was during the years of General Fouad Chehab’s Presidency of Lebanon (1958 – 1964), when the Government had set active objectives for rebuilding state institutions and mending the divided social structure.
Social development was placed at the heart of the country leadership’s directions, policies and projects.
Back to Gregoire Haddad, many needy individuals and families used to come to the archbishopric, seeking support. While trying to help them as much as possible, he came eventually to the conclusion that ‘charitable’ action was not enough, and that the solution was the creation of a ‘social development’ movement that would allow each individual to blossom and grow to the best of her/his capacities.
That’s how the Mouvement Social; a secular, developmental, non-charitable association was born in 1959, before receiving its official registration in 1960.
During that same period in early 1959, the renowned Abbe Pierre was passing by Lebanon. A member of the French Resistance during World War II, he had founded “Emmaus” an active secular movement helping the poor and homeless.
Gregoire Haddad took advantage of Abbe Pierre's presence to organize conferences for the youth, offering them the chance to listen to him and get a close touch of his revolutionary ideas on personal engagement and on the protection of fundamental human rights through legal means.
This is when 400 Mouvement Social Volunteer cards were filled in one day!
Grégoire Haddad chose to omit his name from among the official founders of Mouvement Social due to his ecclesiastic position as archbishop, confirming the secular aspect of the Movement.
Nevertheless, he was and still is the founder, the engine, and the driving spirit for generations of volunteers and staff-members that are fueling our goals’ achievement.
His thoughts still inspire every action we undertake, even after he passed away in 2015.
His life was dedicated to one cause only: the cause of Man, “The Only Absolute Value after God”, as he says in his religious writings.
Also quoting him, our objective is the “Development of human beings, every human being and all of the human being”; And this is our ultimate motto.
to consult his writings.