Dear friends and colleagues of the AUB community,
After a short summer break in which the President’s Perspective message was limited to
one a month, I am delighted to return to our normal twice-monthly communication at
the start of Academic Year 2017-18.
Embarking on a life-changing journey
It is my pleasure to have this opportunity to speak directly to the new cohort of
undergraduate and postgraduate students entering our community for the first time.
You have come here on a transformative life journey—like me you will look back on
your days and years as an AUB student with such joy, such pride, such Technicolor
clarity, that they will stay with you, inspire you and drive you forward for the rest of
You will learn some of my favorite catchphrases—such as “the best and brightest of a
generation” whose time at AUB prepares them to be “tomorrow’s leaders who will go
out and change the world”. That’s you! It might seem a daunting prospect today, as you
perhaps feel the anxiety of entering a new, more grown-up world, apprehensive about
your workload and academic requirements, whether or not you will fit in. Don’t worry.
This is a community founded on renewal and constant acceptance of eager new
members, and when I or my successor hands you your degree, you won’t just believe
you’ll change the world, you will actually go out and do it!
In the few short years in between, I urge you to make the most of everything that this
university has to offer.
Volunteer for every opportunity; test yourself in this unique intellectual sandbox; don’t
let anyone tell you what to think, but seize every chance from the great minds here to
learn how to think. Join the student clubs that interest you; participate and give of
yourself and of your time for those less fortunate; join one of our more than 200
student clubs and societies and stand for election; engage in peaceful debate with
people who do not share your views; take up a new sport.
Always remember that true satisfaction in life comes not from the transitory success of
gaining top marks in an exam or winning the cup; it comes from changing someone
else’s life for the better however that is achieved. AUB is where you can maximize your
capacity to change the lives of others for the better.
Congratulations on taking the first major step—you have now become an AUB-ite. It will
not be long before you become an AUB alumna or alumnus, joining one of the most
extraordinary communities of leaders, innovators and servants of society around the
world. Go boldly towards that goal and enjoy every step of the journey.
Critical international dimension
Every new student that steps through our gates is important—as the incomparable AUB
Provost Mohamed Harajli is fond of saying, our students are everything to us; without
them we wouldn’t have a university! Nevertheless I would like to extend a particularly
warm welcome to those who have arrived by land, by sea, but mostly by air into this
beautiful and vibrant, if occasionally chaotic country to pursue your academic goals.
The hardworking Office of International Programs (OIP) has already helped guide you
along your first steps through the maze of registrations, official paperwork,
accommodation, etc. alongside the specialized orientation teams which have mediated
the induction of a new wave of students from Lebanon and new faculty from some of
the outstanding universities of the world and from our Lebanese peers.
The international students’ induction is supported by a team of dedicated OIP Mentors
trained and prepared by the office every semester to ensure meaningful and
sustainable peer-to-peer guidance during the first week, but also throughout the
students’ stay with us. Sincere thanks to them, and to all who have made Orientation
Week such a success.
Our international diversity is a factor that we have always prized at AUB and we will
explore every available avenue to restore a situation that approaches the magnificent
pre-war days when some half of students came from outside Lebanon. The mixture of
students of assorted backgrounds is the best preparation for what you will encounter in
the outside world; it makes you more resilient, more tolerant, and more capable of
success, especially in the polyglot atmospheres that mark the most healthy,
crosscutting, and transformative communities.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the OIP Welcome Day for international students
that took place on August 22, when 140 new students from 61 countries joyfully came
together in precisely this context. They included exchange students, MCF, MEPI-TL and
Al Ghurair Foundation scholars, freshmen, sophomore and graduate students. Reports
have reached me of a unique ambiance that promises to deliver untold opportunities
for all our students to discover what separates and unites them, whether they hail from
Europe’s most developed metropolis or an informal settlement in war-torn Mogadishu.
I salute the unquenchable intellectual curiosity that brings one from their advantaged
setting in the Global North and the indomitable spirit that raises another out of the
debilitating embrace of war, poverty and exclusion of the Global South. You are all now
part of the AUB story, and your contribution is priceless.
Great Registrar leaves great legacy
Like any august institution, AUB has its fair share of revered figures, but few attract the
universal respect and devotion that our retiring University Registrar Dr. Moueen
Salameh has. He joined AUB’s mechanical engineering department in 1979 and has
served unstintingly with great distinction in academic and administrative roles for all of
those 38 years.
His tenure in the Office of the Registrar since 2000 ushered in new standards of
systematic efficiency that has raised this critical office of record-keeping to become the
pride of our academic community. Dr. Salameh’s achievements include developing a
cutting-edge centralized final exam scheduling software, in-house printing of
certificates, comprehensive automation, and the electronic archiving of records so that
they now comprise the entirety of the University’s registration archive stretching back
One of the hallmarks of great leadership is a predisposition
to empower others while taking full responsibility
themselves. Another is the tendency to share decisionmaking
as inclusively and consensually as possible, but yet
to show sharp judgment and decisiveness when necessary
to establish new practices and improve existing ones.
These qualities may be a rarity, but Dr. Salameh is an
exemplar of them. Another rarity is to encounter such a
trailblazer who displays so utterly the old-fashioned virtues of dignified bearing,
ineffable courtesy, and devotion and affection towards students, faculty and staff,
treating them as family and friends.
We wish Moueen Salameh a full and happy retirement secure in the knowledge that he
leaves behind a highly motivated and accomplished team that will follow the path that
he has set. They and we all will genuinely miss Moueen’s benign presence, and will
benefit from his legacy for a long time to come.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD