Isam Nubani (BA ’50, BSCE ’51) is remembered as a man of great integrity, humility, and honesty—someone who worked hard his whole life. He and his brother, Khalil Noubani (BSME ’55), never forgot their roots, and were always quick to extend a helping hand.
The two brothers came to Lebanon with their family during the Nakba. Although they did not return to Palestine, they never left it either. His children say that their father, Isam Nubani, “instilled his heritage as a Palestinian, his integrity, his generosity, and his kindness in us—and everyone who was lucky enough to meet him during his journey.” Isam’s wife, Nadia, shared Isam’s journey for 58 years.
The experience of being forced out of Palestine in 1948 left a lasting impression on Isam. He wrote about it in the thesis he submitted for his BSCE degree: “…in a period of three months, more than three quarters of the Arab people of Palestine were obliged to leave their homes and country, and to take refuge in neighboring Arab countries…the majority of these refugees dwelled in caves and in old tents which were unable to resist the severe cold of winter and the unbearable heat of summer…this unhealthy environment weakens the majority of the people and so weakens the strength of the nation…every family should have a house of its own…this will increase the love of the inhabitants for their village and consequently for their country.”
The qualities that defined Isam and Khalil served them well in their professional careers at two of the leading contracting firms in the Middle East: CCC (Consolidated Contractors Company) and CAT (Contracting and Trading Company). Although the brothers did not work at the same firm, they were involved in very similar projects helping to build and transform the infrastructure (civil, education, oil and gas) of emerging countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia.
Isam Nubani was very proud of the fact that Palestinians were among the most highly educated people in the world. As a trustee of the Kamel Abdel Rahman Education Fund, he helped to ensure that Palestinian children in need would have opportunities to continue their educations. Khalil Noubani was also an advocate for the education of Palestinian children and fully funded and supported the construction of a secondary school for girls in Gaza, Palestine, that is named for him. Knowing how important it was to their father to support Palestinian students, Isam's wife, Nadia, and his children decided to celebrate his memory—and that of his brother as well—by establishing an endowed scholarship fund in their names at AUB.
The Isam Ibrahim Nubani and Khalil Ibrahim Noubani Endowed Scholarship is part of an initiative that President Fadlo Khuri announced earlier this year to establish a $100 million endowment to support students from Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. It will support Palestinian students, providing them with the life-changing educational experience at AUB that Isam and Khalil enjoyed—and that they treasured throughout their lives.