The AUB Neighborhood Initiative was established in 2007 to lead AUB’s engagement with its neighborhood. The Initiative encourages AUB faculty and students to become engaged with issues of concern to our neighbors in Ras Beirut through a mix of research, outreach and advocacy activities.
The Initiative team works collaboratively across the university with faculty, students, staff and administrators, and also with neighborhood residents, businesses, and public sector decision makers.
Initiative research and outreach projects and other activities respond to priorities of neighborhood residents from different social and economic backgrounds around themes ranging from the urban environment, community and well-being, to diversity and urban transformations.
The Neighborhood Initiative’s programmatic activities are currently funded by international foundations. To date, the Initiative has received substantial support from the Ford Foundation Office for the Middle East and North Africa.
The Initiative works with students, faculty and staff members from all six faculties at AUB, and with units such as the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS), Jafet Library, the Continuing Education Center (CEC), the Facilities, Planning and Design Unit, the Office of Protection, and the Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management Department.
Every activity undertaken by the Initiative is defined and carried out collaboratively with concerned academic and administrative units of AUB.
Cynthia Myntti is the Founding Director of the Neighborhood Initiative, and she served AUB from 2006-2016. She is an AUB alumna (MA 1974) with graduate training in anthropology, architecture and public health.
Mona El Hallak is the current Director of the Neighborhood Initiative, and she joined AUB in January 2017. She is an AUB alumna (B Arch 1991) with a Master in Architecture from Syracuse University- Florence Program.
Hayat Gebara is the Neighborhood Initiative Coordinator serving as the office manager and projects manager. Tonnie Choueiri and Dalia Chabarek have held this position with the Initiative.