Assad Kotaite Aviation Forum

Assad Kotaite Aviation Forum

The Assad Kotaite Aviation Forum (AKAF) was launched in 2023 to honor the legacy of an aviation legend, Dr. Assad Kotaite, longest serving President of the Council and twice the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). AKAF was officially launched during a special event in Beirut, Lebanon, Kotaite’s birthplace, in cooperation with the Kotaite Family, Middle East Airlines, (MEA) Lebanon’s national air carrier, Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Lebanon and ICAO. Mr. Faissal Kotaite, Assad’s brother and Dean of the Kotaite family, is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AKAF.
Mr. Robert Sumwalt , Executive Director of the Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embrey Riddle Aeronautical University, is the President of AKAF. He is the former Chairperson of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Mr. Sumwalt is a prominent authority on aviation safety with a career that included positions and assignments with US Airways, the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), NASA and The University of Southern California.
Starting in 2024, in cooperation with other partners, AKAF will launch the Assad Kotaite Aviation Lecture Series, Assad Kotaite Aviation Diplomacy Institute and Assad Kotaite Aviation Scholarship. AKAF is an initiative of the World Aviation Forum.

About Assad Kotaite

Assad Kotaite is the longest president of the ICAO Council (1976-2006) and twice as the Organization’s Secretary General. He was recognized as one of the most prominent and respected figures in international aviation throughout the world and was deeply instrumental in promoting the critical role of air transport as a driver of economic, social, and cultural development worldwide.
A consummate diplomat, Dr Kotaite was widely recognized as a champion of cooperation and dialogue among ICAO’s Member States and within the world aviation community. He also gained a well- earned reputation as a master conciliator and consensus-builder, steering global aviation through an increasingly complex, competitive, and politically challenging regulatory environment. Under his leadership, ICAO was very instrumental in resolving international aviation crisis and disputes.
He was born in Lebanon, on the 6th of November 1924. After earning his first law degree from Saint Joseph University in Beirut in 1948, he earned a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Paris in 1952 and later completed postdoctoral research and studies in Air Law at the Academy of International Law in the Hague. In 1952, Dr. Kotaite was elected President of the Association of Attenders and Alumni of the Hague Academy of International Law.
Shortly after his retirement, Dr. Kotaite became the first-ever President Emeritus of the ICAO Council, an honorary designation bestowed upon him by the Organization’s governing body. In 2013, he was awarded the 40th Edward Warner Award, the highest honor in the world of civil aviation, in recognition of his eminent contribution to the development of international civil aviation, most notably in the field of diplomacy and conciliation. Dr. Kotaite passed away on the 27th of February 2014.

Article 4 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation:

Each Contracting State agrees not to use civil aviation for any purpose inconsistent with the aims of this Convention.