AUB alumni Lina Jazi Chehab and Wa’el Chehab hosted in conjunction with the university’s New York Office a gracious welcome dinner for President Fadlo Khuri to introduce him to friends and alumni in the New York metropolitan area. After a brief introduction from Mr. Chehab, the president launched into a sweeping speech, touching on the significance and history of AUB in its 150th year.
He cited the university as “the oldest, most impactful and most prestigious” in the Arab World, emphasizing its role in “impacting knowledge and society” and leading the Arab Nahda. He also spoke of the Lebanese government and people’s enduring support for AUB through years of hardship and plenty.
He then turned to the Arab World, noting young people’s limited economic opportunities and their relentless focus on lucrative careers: “Everyone wants to be a physician, engineer, businesswoman or man.” He hopes to elevate the humanities and believes the university is well positioned to become “the standard bearer of Arab liberal thought.”
On his move to AUB, he said, “I never considered saying no after Philip Khoury called,” remarking on his “deep roots” at the university where his father served as professor, department chair, dean of medicine, and acting president.
In his first 100 days in office, the president has succeeded in building a strong leadership team, reinstating tenure, securing several major gifts and faculty work permits, and restoring confidence among AUB’s supporters.
In closing, he thanked the Chehabs and the AUB community and alluded to his long-term vision, asking the audience: “Can we at AUB become the first essential brick in a New Marshall Plan for the Arab World and the region?”
During a Q & A session following the speech, the president reiterated the importance of reinstating tenure and underscored the university’s role as a force for progressivism in the region.