Dear friends and colleagues of the AUB community,
Historic collaboration with Annahar
Ambitious. Accountable. Unprecedented. Our collaboration with Lebanon's premier newspaper, Annahar, has been a historic venture that sets a new standard for higher education's impact and service to public life in the Arab world. Some 120 writers from across disciplines and institutions, and 50 members of Annahar's editorial team and our own staff, came together to produce a
special edition last Thursday outlining a roadmap for the revival of this nation which—there is no hiding from it—stands at a dangerous crossroads. Lebanon's challenges are institutional and constitutional, environmental, economic, social, cultural, and educational, wrapped in public health threats and silent despair. The solutions presented by the
Annahar-AUB special edition are relentlessly focused on where we think a difference can be made—investment in our youth by educating, enabling, and empowering them to create a better reality.
We are under no illusions that words on paper, or digital readouts, will make that difference. But with my partner, the courageous and visionary Annahar editor Nayla Tueni, we have charged our distinguished handpicked essayists to share strategic blueprints that can be achieved with proper follow-up and the participation of those holding the levers of power and policy in this country. The essayists include four university presidents, our own outstanding deans and academicians, leading artists, environmentalists, health professionals, constitutional experts, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers, financiers, and many others. We unreservedly put these blueprints at the disposal of our political leaders and urge everyone in society to engage with them to safeguard our future, such that our youth can look forward to a brighter, more sustainable future.
Some people feel the rain, others just get wet, as the homespun American saying goes. The role of the academy must lie in the former group, who recognize the threats and speak out so our fellow citizens are protected. Sincere thanks to the large and talented Annahar-AUB team who worked seamlessly together to achieve this accomplishment, principally our offices of Communications, IT, and Advancement Services, and the Annahar editorial and marketing teams, coordinated respectively by Simon Kachar and Faraj Obegi, and the stellar cohort of essayists, without whom none of it would have been possible.
Advancing AUB, engaging its alumni
For the second year running, but not for the last time we hope, we are proud to announce that AUB has broken its fundraising records, receiving $80 million during FY 2017-18, and securing $105.5 million in new gifts and pledges. The
BOLDLY AUB campaign has now reached $449 million in gifts and pledges, more than two-thirds of the way to our $650 million target to meet the educational and healthcare priorities of the university. Everyone in our community can allow themselves a moment of satisfaction for this achievement—not just the authors of the 4,812 donations received in FY18, including a record 16 gifts of more than $1 million—because everyone, whether students, faculty, staff, trustees, or alumni, contributes to the dynamic and forward-looking institution that AUB is and that people want to support even in difficult economic times. Indeed, it is precisely when the chips are down that we must invest in the top-quality education and research that AUB provides.
We particularly want to connect with our extraordinary cohort of 68,000 living alumni, or reconnect in some cases. We do this through multiple channels, for example our high-quality, thrice-yearly printed and digital magazine
latest edition), the
legacy ceremony, and engaging with our more than 60 alumni chapters around the world by attending and supporting their
events. I am delighted to have made it
personally to more than 40 of these occasions in my three years in office, and shall not rest until I have visited each and every chapter. A new channel has opened with the
AUB Alumni Mentoring Platform to support graduates on their professional journeys, offering network opportunities, expertise on writing a top-quality resume, and mock interviews with industry insiders who have graduated from AUB and can help you reach your most competitive threshold in the jobs market. Already the stage has been set for more than 100 alumni-to-alumni interactions. We intend to expand this facility to allow one-to-one career consultations between our extraordinary students and alumni mentors. If you are an alumna or alumnus with expertise to give, please
sign up here.
The social network of our alumni community is no less important than the professional. This summer, more than 2,000 alumni and their families converged on campus from around the world for a joyful four-day festival of concerts, parties, awards ceremonies, visiting their old haunts, and rekindling friendships. It was our biggest reunion yet, and once again proved the unbreakable bond which AUB alumni feel for their alma mater. It is easy to discern the sense of excitement and pride that people feel for this university, that offers transformative education to the best and brightest students, conducts impactful research, lifts the health and wellbeing of communities, and graduates motivated individuals determined to leave humanity in a better place than they found it.
By updating their profile on the
AUB Alumni Online Community, alumni can open up a world of possibilities and benefits. To stay tuned for news and announcements, keep a close eye on the AUB Alumni social media platforms (Facebook,
LinkedIn). Our motto abides,
that they shall have life and have it more abundantly, and it is our alumni that carry this message to the world.
New Chief of Protection
Four institutions stand out for me in Lebanon for their unique service and contribution to this country. They are the elite universities, the free press, the judiciary, and the national security forces, giving us hope for a better, more sustainable, more participatory future, for justice, and for security. I have enormous respect for the exemplary role of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as a symbol of unity, non-sectarianism, and safeguarding the public from threats, internal and external. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that we welcome a recently retired general of the LAF as AUB's new chief of protection, taking over from the long-serving Captain Saadallah Shalak, who retired at the end of September.
General Fadi Ghorayeb, who prefers to be addressed by his first name in civilian life, saw active combat as an infantry company commander during the civil war, for which he was multiply decorated for valor and sustaining wounds in battle. Unlike many of his comrades, Fadi is no scion of a military family, but rather enlisted in 1980 out of a patriotic desire to preserve and protect Lebanese unity and integrity against the forces that were tearing the country asunder. After distinguished service during the war, he served in important roles, including chief of close protection in the Presidential Guard (1998-2008) and finally commander-in-chief of the Military Academy (2015-18). He is widely travelled, taking responsibility for security during more than 40 presidential trips, and is deeply committed to education, as a reforming commander of the academy who renovated its buildings and spaces, modernized its curricula, fostered gender equity, and restored strict admissions standards to promote integrity.
Some ex-generals might be happy to retire on their pensions and sinecures; Fadi is not of that ilk. He comes to AUB to continue his mission of service to this region and its people by protecting the cherished freedoms and values of this university—freedom of speech and thought, pluralism, open debate and peaceful protest, mutual respect and inclusivity. He is battle-hardened and tested in some of the most challenging circumstances, but he knows the value of dialogue, forbearance, and respect to spread balm in place of conflict. While we say farewell to the inimitable Captain Shalak, who has kept the peace at AUB during almost three decades, we are very glad to have a leader of such stature to take on his mantle.
Myriad expressions of grief and mourning have followed the tragic and untimely death of our much-loved founder and director of the
Student Counseling Center, Dr. Antoine Khabbaz. I humbly offer my own to a man who embodied compassion and helped thousands of students during their most difficult days. Antoine was a tireless servant for our community, a champion for those who had no other champion. As quoted by Robert Kennedy in his eulogy of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oresteia by the father of Greek tragedy Aeschylus:
“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD