Dear members of the American University of Beirut community,
It gives me great pleasure to announce that the prestigious Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) Prize for the year 2021 has been awarded to three outstanding Lebanese scientists and members of the American University of Beirut community. The KFAS Prize was established in 1979 to recognize the lifetime achievements of Arab scientists worldwide. Notably, the American University of Beirut is the only institution to count two alumni among the winners as well as both of the solo winners, in the arts and sciences and social sciences categories.
American University of Beirut Professor of Medicine Ali Taher was awarded the KFAS prize in the field of applied sciences, along with his peer University of Montreal Professor Nabil Seidah from Egypt, for their research and clinical experiments that led to new horizons for treating patients with thalassemia, in addition to developing new and effective drugs to treat high cholesterol.
Dr. Taher is professor of hematology and oncology, associate vice president for medical advancement and communications, director of the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute, and vice chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine. He is also the founding director for the Fellowship and Residents Research Program (FRRP) at the Faculty of Medicine. Nationally, Professor Taher is a member of a team of consultants at the Thalassemia Department of the Chronic Care Center (CCC) in Lebanon where he has contributed to state-of-the-art programs for prevention and management of thalassemia patients in the country. Ali is the most cited thalassemia scholar in the world and has received numerous awards and honors for educating and mentoring hematologists worldwide, for his dedication to advancing knowledge and research, and for his groundbreaking work on thalassemia intermedia.
Professor of Arabic at the American University of Beirut Ramzi Baalbaki was awarded the KFAS prize in the field of humanities, on the subject of Arabic linguistics.
Professor Baalbaki is the Margaret Weyerhaeuser Jewett Chair of Arabic at the American University of Beirut and head of the Academic Council of the Doha Historical Dictionary of the Arabic Language. He has published extensively in Arabic and English on the Arabic Grammatical Theory and Arabic lexicography. He has also produced critical editions of numerous classical Arabic texts and co-authored, with his late father Mounir Baalbaki, the famous English-Arabic dictionary, al-Mawrid, and its comprehensive counterpart, al-Mawrid al-Akbar. In 2010, he was granted the King Faisal International Prize for his contribution to the study of Arabic grammar.
American University of Beirut graduate, Professor Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, was awarded the KFAS prize in the field of economic and social sciences on the subject of educational sciences, for research in science education and learning, with a focus on the importance of introducing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum in the classroom to hone and develop students' skills.
Professor Abd-El-Khalick has served as dean of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Education since 2016. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Abd-El-Khalick is a leading researcher on the teaching and learning about nature of science in precollege grades and teacher-education settings. He received his BS in biology in 1991, his Secondary Science Teaching Diploma in 1993, and his MA in science education in 1995 from the American University of Beirut. He also holds a PhD in science education from Oregon State University (1998).
Please join me in congratulating these three stellar scholars for this richly deserved honor.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD