AUB in Hong Kong
“Participating in the CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference in Hong Kong was a terrific opportunity for us to share the AUB story with a global audience," explained VP for Advancement Imad Baalbaki. “We also had a chance to meet with some AUB alumni in Hong Kong! It was yet another reminder of how truly global AUB is."
Baalbaki and AVP Soha Hmaidan were invited to Hong Kong by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) to receive the two Golden Circle of Excellence Awards that AUB won for its 150th anniversary initiatives in the Design and Special Events categories. The competition was fierce for these awards: more than 700 higher education institutions, independent schools, and nonprofits from around the world submitted more than 3,300 entries in nearly 100 categories.
In addition to receiving the two CASE awards, Baalbaki and Hmaidan were also invited to make a presentation during the four-day conference about how AUB used its database as a tool to engage alumni in its year-long 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017. “Everyone in higher education appreciates the importance of alumni engagement and so there was a lot of interest in how we do what we do—and why we are so successful," said Hmaidan.
She and Baalbaki agreed that the chance to meet informally with colleagues from academic institutions throughout Asia was invaluable. “There was a lot of interest in AUB. It was a familiar name to many people, but they still had lots of questions about the university," said Hmaidan. Baalbaki and Hmaidan were also queried about the timing of BOLDLY AUB: The Campaign to Lead, Innovate, and Serve. “People were intrigued by our decision to launch this fundraising campaign as we celebrated the end of our 150th anniversary year. For us at AUB, the link between the two is very important. The reason we fundraise is to secure the resources that AUB needs to continue to do what it has been doing for 150 years: to lead, innovate, and serve," said Baalbaki. “We were asked often as well about how we have managed to raise more than $400 million toward the $650 million target—especially given the challenging circumstances in the region today."
Hmaidan says that she and Baalbaki also learned a lot from the people they met about parts of the world that were less familiar to them. AUB has not historically had much of a presence in Asia. That may be about to change though as the university is considering establishing an alumni chapter for the Asia Pacific region in Hong Kong. “President Khuri has spoken several times about the importance of strengthening our ties with this part of the world. It is part of our strategic plan to reach out to our alumni in new parts of the world and expand our alumni and donor base. This is something we are all eager to do" said Baalbaki.