Government: Rafic el Hariri
Assignment Period : 07 Nov 1996 - 04 Dec 1998
- Born in Beirut in 1946.
- His parents Jamil Merhej and Salma Mattar Rahbani are from Choueir.
- He is married to Dr. Wali Grote, medical doctor (pediatrics) and AUB education lecturer, and has two daughters, Lena and Mona
A Graduate of economics from the American University of Beirut, Merhej has taught at Omar bin Al Khattab High School from 1968-69. He has also practiced journalism, research and statistics. He also edited the student supplement of Beirut's Al Anwar newspaper and contributed to its economic supplement.
Took part in the founding of the Active Arab Front, and held leading positions in the Al Baath Arab Socialist Party until 1973. In 1975, he contributed to founding the Assembly of Popular Leagues and Association (Tajammu' al lijan wal rawabit al sha'biyyah) for a united Lebanon and emphasizing on Lebanon's Arab identity. Throughout his political career Bechara Merhej has always been actively involved in several associations and organizations advocating democratic values and working for rebuilding a safe and prosperous Lebanon as a fundamental and an inseparable part of the Arab World.
Has participated and is a member in the following:
- Member, The Assembly for Unity working for a united Arab World striving for development, progress and political maturity. The Assembly for Unity includes several academic and political figures that participate in discussion panels and meetings dealing with Arab political, social and cultural issues.
- Member, Trustee Board for One Lebanon Youth Club. The One Lebanon Youth Club organizes activities aimed at regrouping youth from all over Lebanon, and from different confessions and political affiliations.
- Member, Friends of the Al Houda Youth Association. The Al Houda Youth Association includes a civil defense and a social and cultural unit. Al Houda Youth Association saved hundreds of lives and extinguished hundreds of fires during Lebanon's 17 notorious years of war.
- President, Trustee Board, Friends of the Disabled Association, which he helped found in 1978. The Friends of the Disabled Associations has been helping disabled persons and ensuring that their rights are as sacred as any citizen's rights in Lebanon.
- President, Special Olympics Association for the physically and mentally disabled ensuring the participation of disabled athletes in various sports competitions. (1997-2000)
- Member, AUB Alumni Club including graduates from the American University of Beirut.
- Member, Arab National Congress working for Arab World's political, social and cultural development.
- Member, Al Manaber advisory council. Al Manaber is a periodical issued in Beirut, it deals with social, political and economic issues in Lebanon and the Arab World. Merhej was one of its founders and he regularly contributes to its content.
- Member, Follow up Committee for Support of Lebanese Detainees and Prisoners in Israeli prisons working for their release from Israeli prisons.
- Director General, Dar Al Nadwa Association from 1989 to 1992. Dar Al Nadwa is a cultural center located Beirut's Hamra area. It contributes to the cultural revival of Beirut as one of the Arab World's leading cultural cities.
Official Political positions:
- Advisor for Arab affairs to former Prime Minister Rashid Solh, 1992
- Member of Parliament for the Greek Orthodox seat in Beirut following two legislative election victories in 1992 and 1996.
- Minister of Interior in the government of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri from November 31, 1992 until September 2, 1994.
- President of Lebanese delegation to the Conferences of Arab Interior Ministers in Tunis 1993, 1994
- Elected member of Parliamentary Committee for Finance and Budget, 1994.
- Elected head of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights (1995-1996)
- Minister of State for Administrative Reform (1996-1998).
- Published The Struggle for an Arab and Democratic Lebanon (1974) (in Arabic) published by 'Al-mu'assasah al Aarabiyya lil ddiraasat wannashr', Beirut, Lebanon
- Published Lebanese Isolationism (1975) (in Arabic) published by 'Tajammu' allijaan wal rawabit al sha'biyyah', Beirut, Lebanon.
- Published numerous studies on political and economic affairs in several Lebanese and Arab journals and periodicals.
- Published several articles in Lebanese and Arab newspapers including Al Nahar, Assafir, Al Anwar and others.