It was a record-breaking gala this year for the AUB Alumni Swiss Chapter, in terms of the number of guests, caliber of the event, prizes offered, and the amount of funds raised! The almost 250 alumni and friends who packed into the Grand Hôtel Kempinski Geneva on September 28 had a grand time. President Fadlo R. Khuri, Vice President for Advancement Imad B. Baalbaki, and Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Salma Dannawi Oueida traveled to Geneva to attend the gala. The Swiss Chapter pulled out all the stops organizing a gala that featured renowned musician Guy Manoukian who, according to one attendee, “set the crowd on fire.”
PIMAX, a renowned and talented artist performed a live painting which he called “Nouf back in Beirut.” His performance, which was made possible thanks to Bel Air Fine Art, was auctioned during the event. Karl Lagasse’s sculpture, “One Dollar Red,” also donated by Bel Air Fine Art, and a wonderful painting by the talented Aadil Abedi were also sold at the auction. A diverse and rich list of tombola gifts were featured—all donated by friends of AUB and the chapter.
In his remarks during the fundraising gala, Khuri spoke about AUB’s enduring commitment to “hold true to that which has made our university great—a commitment to free speech, free thought, creativity, and altruism.” He shared news from campus including the recent inauguration of the Talal and Madiha El Zein AUB Innovation Park (on September 2, 2019) and the re-dedication of Penrose Hall (on September 3, 2019). “Our core mission remains, however, to provide the best possible educational experience for our expanding student body. I want AUB to be a place where students can flourish, discover themselves, do world-class research, and have the kind of relationship with their mentors that I was so fortunate to enjoy.”
Khuri reported on the BOLDLY AUB campaign, the $650 million fundraising campaign that AUB launched in January 2017, noting that the university had raised $489 million as of August 15, 2019: “money that is being used to enrich the educational and research experience of our students and faculty, to serve the healthcare needs of the region, for innovation and entrepreneurship, to expand our community outreach, and to secure the long-term future of the university.” He thanked the Swiss Chapter for its support for AUB and the BOLDLY campaign. Khuri also thanked alumni for the many other ways they support their alma mater—"by mentoring our students, identifying internship opportunities, and becoming even more active members of wonderful alumni chapters such as this one in Switzerland.”
During their visit, the AUB delegation also met with a number of Switzerland-based alumni and friends to discuss ways that they might support ongoing university initiatives. Current chapter vice president and former president Muwaffak Bibi (BBA ’77) hosted a dinner at his home, which was attended by members of the current Swiss Chapter Leadership Committee led by chapter president Hussein Nassereddine (BEN ’12). “Since graduating I have considered supporting AUB a personal obligation and encourage alumni to maintain that link with our alma mater. I feel that we are morally bound,” Bibi continued, “to support deserving students so they can reap the benefits of this unique educational offering in our region—and in turn help others to do the same.” Nassereddine also spoke eloquently about the importance of supporting education noting that, “No other investment yields as high a return as an investment in education—especially an investment in young, talented, and ambitious students.”
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