President Amin Gemayel, born in Bikfaya, graduated from the Jesuit Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut with a degree in law. Gemayel was elected a member of parliament for the Kataeb Party in 1970. He founded the Maison du Futur in 1975, a think tank specialized in Middle Eastern political and development issues. In 1982, he was elected president of Lebanon. As the country was war-torn and ripped apart by internal conflicts and foreign interventions, Gemayel advocated political moderation and strove for peace and unity, a difficult message in the explosive Middle East during the turbulent 1980s. After his term in office in 1988 and during the Syrian occupation of his country, he lived as an exile in France and the United States for twelve years, lecturing at several leading universities and writing insightful books reflecting on the difficult political situation in the region. After his return to Lebanon, he lost his son Pierre – also a MP for the Kataeb Party – in a political assault in 2006.