It is with a heavy and sorrowful heart I inform you that Dr Antoine Khabbaz passed away in the
early hours of Sunday morning. AUB and our wider community had lost not only a consummate
professional but also a beautiful man. He is a rarehuman being who dedicated his whole life to
others. This includes his beloved daughter Tina. Antoine rarely slept, whether it was to take calls
from distressed students or reading aloud to his daughter until she slept. He was devoted to his
mother Theresa also as he was to his team at the AUB counseling center. As a colleague and
friend I was often frustrated by his selflessness, castigating him for even forgetting to eat. He
cared not for luxuries or material pleasures. It sounds almost unbelievable that such individuals
exist only that all who have come across him know this to be true.
Dr Khabbaz was the founding director of the AUB Counseling Center in 2001. This
sophisticated, almost unassuming man would emerge as a giant in his field. He helped establish
critical objectives for the center: to create a safe, discrete space where anything can be discussed
in full confidence and without a hint of judgment. Under his leadership the center became a
prototype and model for other similar institutions in Lebanon to emulate. We often chatted about
this becoming a norm in the wider Arab world. As the number of students grew at the AUB
counseling center, Dr Khabbaz and his team faced more intense and complex cases. They
became lifesavers, referring many cases to ER, day and night, saving vulnerable young men and
women on a tragically frequent basis.
The success of the counseling center, rather ironically, exposed the need for growth and in recent
years led to the hiring of more counselors/psychologists which this administration thankfully
prioritized and continues to endorse.
So many people he cared for grew to love him. He transformed people’s lives and gave hope.
Very importantly he also established a very progressive entity in Lebanon for people who would
otherwise have felt marginalized and bullied for a lifestyle that didn’t conform with archaic
traditions in their surroundings.
Your legacy will last forever Antoine and lest we forget all you have done for this special and
vibrant community. You will be sorely missed - Rest In Peace.
Funeral service will be held at the Melchite Catholic church of Our Savior in Monot street
on Wednesday 26 September at 3 pm. Condolences will be accepted at the same church on
the same day and on the following Thursday starting 11 am until 6 pm.
Dean of Student Affairs
American University of Beirut
Tel: 01374 374 ex 3170