AUB alumnus and calligraphy artist Kameel Hawwa donated, alongside his brothers, Loutf, Samir (BA ’58), and Mounir Hawwa (BSc ’59), a sculpture depicting the acronym of the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Arabic script in the memory of their brother Zahi Hawwa (MD ’63).
The unveiling of the typographic sculpture of AUB in Arabic script took place on Monday, November 14, in the Mary Dodge Hall Plaza in a ceremony attended by the Hawwa family, Dr. Makhlouf Haddadine representing President Fadlo Khuri, AUB officials and staff, and friends of the family.
The structure is carved from cedar wood “to convey the university’s intimacy with the land and its people,” as reads the plaque in front of the structure, and was donated to AUB on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.
Salma Dannawi Oueida, Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, opened the ceremony by thanking the Hawwa family for their gesture. On behalf of President Khuri, Dr. Haddadine also thanked the family, dubbing the structure a “very fine piece of art.”
“The AUB campus embodies the dynamic foundation of this extraordinary institution and its powerful drive to stand up to the enormous challenges it has faced, including our long and destructive civil war,” said Kameel Hawwa, who designed and executed the sculpture.
“It is not just the humbling effect that this campus has on its inhabitants, faculty, and students alike that has always fascinated me, but the subtle inviting magnetism, the compelling effect it has had on seekers of knowledge to meditate, contemplate, and interact to learn outside the confines of the classroom as much as within them,” he added.
Yasmine Hawwa, daughter of Mounir Hawwa, shared with the attendees a few words about her late uncle Zahi. Zahi Hawwa was assassinated in an assault by a group of armed militia in 1985 in his Gefinor Center Clinic in Ras Beirut.
“Zahi is remembered to this very day by all his patients, friends, colleagues, and, of course, his family for his graciousness, humor, skill, and humane character, and was also a man of integrity and immense courage,” said Yasmine.
The sculpture was then unveiled by the family, and the ceremony was followed by a reception.