The American University of Beirut hosted renowned Lebanese singer Magida El-Roumi on July 4 at a special event in which El-Roumi announced her decision to donate the full proceeds from the sales of the first edition of her new album, Ghazal [Words of Romance], to the AUB Scholarship Fund which helps finance the education of needy students.
After singing two songs from her new album to resounding applause and the delight of her numerous fans, El-Roumi thanked AUB for giving her the opportunity of helping develop the next generation of Lebanese who are expected to build a country whose message is peace, education and culture.
In a passionate speech addressed to Lebanese, El-Roumi entreated her compatriots to join her in her mission of peace, rejecting wars and divisions.
“Let’s build a Lebanon which promotes education, openness, and culture,” she said. Let’s pledge our allegiance to Lebanon, the nation, not this camp or that.”
El-Roumi added: “Whoever loves people strives to achieve peace on earth and helps them to live in dignity… and helps them achieve their dreams. Lebanon’s biggest wealth is in the intellect of its people, and it’s our duty to protect it and prevent any brain drain from taking place.”
AUB President Peter Dorman thanked El-Roumi, on behalf of the entire AUB community and especially the students, for this “inspiring initiative,” and “for helping to open the doors of opportunity to the next generation.”
“Throughout her life and career, Magida El-Roumi’s love of this country and its people has shown through in all that she does,” Dorman added. “From her first hit single, Amm Bahlamak Ya Helm Ya Lubnan (I Dream of you, O Lebanon) in 1975 to the heartrending Qana in 1996 following the brutalization of that town by Israeli forces, Magida El-Roumi has put her conscience and beliefs to beautiful music.
Dorman also recalled the honorary doctorate which AUB had granted to El-Roumi in 2009 in recognition of her contributions to the world of fine arts and culture, and for acting as a dedicated campaigner for human rights and human dignity.
“Today, we are celebrating her most recent beneficent act, which is to give the gift of education to worthy students who could not otherwise afford their tuition. Magida El-Roumi has often spoken of how she was raised with a great reverence for the power and importance of education,” he said, adding that it is her characteristic combination of humility and passion, quiet warmth and intense spirit, that she is so widely revered – as an artist and as a person.
President Dorman then presented Magida with a commemorative plaque, inscribed with the AUB seal, for her generous contributions to student scholarships at the University over the years.
Associate VP for Development Imad Baalbaki also commended El-Roumi’s ongoing support to the University, dating back to 1996 when she responded to a call by dedicated alumni who were fundraising to help rebuild College Hall after it was destroyed in a 1991 bomb.
“Today, Magida Halim el-Roumi renews her vows to the future of Lebanon through further supporting the most noble of causes - giving the gift of education to bright young minds of these lands who otherwise would not have had a chance for a life-changing education at AUB,” added Baalbaki.
Mohammad Shatila, chair of the AUB Scholarship Fundraising Committee thanked El-Roumi for her continuous support and her generous donation of the first edition of her new album Ghazal towards scholarships to needy and bright students. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Magida,” he said. “We are eternally grateful.”
El-Roumi is an honorary member of the AUB Scholarship Fundraising Committee.