The AUB - Nature Conservation Center (NCC) is an interdisciplinary academic research center, operating under the Office of the Provost at AUB, and currently under the directorship of Dr. Najat A. Saliba. In addition to research, the Center fosters a range of projects across a multitude of themes, from the Waste Management Program to sustainable entrepreneurship and planning awards, and to a number of reforestation activities, student debates, and other outlets, which are directed towards bringing up a new generation of people who appreciate nature and aim to protect it.
The center was established in 2002, under the initiative of Dr. Salma N. Talhouk. AUB faculty from different departments gathered together in order to create a hub for nature conservation efforts and awareness on campus, and thus, the Initiative for Biodiversity Studies in Arid Regions (IBSAR) was born. By its tenth anniversary, the Center had grown exponentially, taking on new activities and projects, and so in order to become more inclusive, the name was changed to the current Nature Conservation Center.
After over a decade of hard work, research, grants, student volunteering, and development, the Center continues to work as hard as it can to accomplish its mission. It hopes to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and enhance the well-being of people and nature. In order to make all this possible, it strives to provide an open and collaborative original platform based on research, education, community outreach, and knowledge dissemination.
Our country is an area of astonishing biological diversity where fertile lands, semi-arid, and arid regions coexist. While almost every university in the West has its own biodiversity center, the AUB Nature Conservation Center is unique in the region as it is the only academic center that collects, identifies, and catalogues species, creates databases, and cultivates and researches the nutritional, medicinal, and traditional applications of endemic species in the region. NCC hopes to continue its work and eventually fulfil its vision of establishing the center as a recognized reference center for the study and sustainable use of dry land biodiversity.
Ultimately, the key priority for the NCC is to raise awareness regarding the different ecological issues relevant to the area, to provide opportunities for individuals and groups to be exposed to diverse opportunities to learn about the environment, and to take an active part in conservation and development.