Dr. Ghaleb Daouk Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist of the Year

​​​​​​​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications, media@aub.edu.lb​

Former AUB trustee and alumnus, Dr. Ghaleb Daouk, has been honored with the Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist award, presented by the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP). The award was presented at the second annual Threads of Giving gala, held by CAAP in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the presence of more than 200 dignitaries.

“The Center for Arab American Philanthropy is incredibly pleased and proud to announce that this year's prestigious Outstanding Arab American Philanthropist award will be presented to distinguished international advocate and philanthropist, Dr. Ghaleb Daouk," announced a CAAP statement.

CAAP is a national community foundation with the objective to unite and empower the Arab American community by demonstrating the impact of strategic giving together. It improves communities through grant making, serves donors by providing smart charitable giving tools, and shapes perceptions about Arab Americans by highlighting their exceptional contributions to society. CAAP is an Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) institution.

In his acceptance speech at the awarding ceremony, Dr. Daouk said, “Philanthropy is more than a charitable act. At its heart, philanthropy is really about empathy without which donations are neither charitable nor philanthropic, just a mere financial transaction. It's not a contact sport as we often unfortunately see. It's not about show of wealth. It's about love of mankind and promoting human welfare. It is not a zero sum game, in fact, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts; Philanthropy fills in the wide gaps between government support and a community's aspirations."

He also thanked AUB and its alumni for supporting him during his years of community work and philanthropy: “Thanks … to the American University of Beirut, a beacon in a troubled world built through true philanthropy, and to its distinguished alumni to whom I am honored to belong."

Leadership in service

Dr. Ghaleb Daouk is a pediatric nephrology consultant and director of Extramural Renal Clinical Services at Boston Children's Hospital. He is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His career spanned over 36 years in the Boston area as distinguished physician, educator, published medical researcher, member of several medical professional societies, entrepreneur, artist, outstanding Arab American philanthropist, and community builder.

Ghaleb Daouk was born and raised in Beirut. He pursued his undergraduate education in France and then the US where he graduated magna cum laude in 1979 from Syracuse University. In 1984, he earned his MD from AUB, where he pursued his laboratory research in parallel to his medical education, followed by a research post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a fellow of the American Heart Association, and clinical residency in pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School.

In the interim, he co-founded a biotechnology company based on his post-doctoral research, which led him to MIT's Sloan School of Management to earn an MS degree in management of technology. He pursued his clinical subspecialty training in nephrology at MGH where he was appointed to the faculty and become the medical director of the MGH pediatric renal division. In 2005, after a 17-year tenure at MGH, he was recruited by Boston Children's Hospital to start their renal satellite program, a network that grew by 500% over the past 14 years.

A proud and dedicated AUB alumnus, Dr. Daouk assumed alumni leadership positions at the regional and national levels. He was elected as AUB's alumni member of the Board of Trustees between 2013 and 2016 and is currently member of its AUBMC Hospital Performance Improvement Committee. He was board member and chair of the fundraising committee of the AUB Alumni of North America (AANA) from 1999 to 2001. Before that, he served as co-president of AANA's New England Chapter (1998-2000).

“Were it not for AUB alumni in the US, I would have been detached and only blended in the US, at a loss of a community. AUB alumni has been critical in preserving who I am, where I come from. It got people together, particularly as we needed reassurance during the war, it gave us a community, we were bound by similar memories and emotions. We slowly expanded and people are always happy to attend our events because they know who we are and the kind of education we received," he added.

He is also committed to his other alma mater, Syracuse University, where he is member of the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and founding member of the Department of Biology Advisory Board. During his tenure and as chair of the Life Sciences Initiative, he advocated for, helped fund-raise, and oversaw the building of a $90 million state-of-the-art Life Sciences building and actively participated in recruiting new departmental leadership and faculty. He has also served on several visiting medical review groups to hospitals in the Gulf region.

Dr. Daouk is proud of his Arab American heritage and has become known for his deep commitment to community building. “Philanthropy builds communities, and I perceive myself as a community-builder," he said. “My story is not one of rags to riches. I chose to come to America and I brought something to the country and that contribution is important for us as Lebanese and Arabs. We have a lot of values that we brought with us. We want to be known for our heritage as well as our current contributions to American society," he said.

The CAAP honoring event included a musical program by composer and violin and Oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen, professor of music at the renowned Berklee School of Music in Boston and an AUB honorary doctorate recipient, and his ensemble.

Dr. Daouk has a passion for music and the arts and supports several initiatives. He is a founding board member of the Center for Arabic Culture in Boston and he supports and participates in the activities of the Arab American Arts Institute and the New York Arabic Orchestra.

A long history of philanthropy

Dr. Daouk comes from a lineage of philanthropists, known for their various contributions, including the leadership role of his family in the founding and growth of the Makassed Philanthropic Association, one of the largest in Lebanon and the first to advocate the education of girls 100 years ago; as well as leading schools such as Aintoura. His mother, Hassana, was awarded the Lebanese Republic's highest honor, the Golden Medal of Achievement, for being a prominent member of several philanthropic and cultural organizations, such as the Lebanese Red Cross and Baalbek International Festival, and was president of the Child and Mother Welfare Society in Lebanon. Philanthropy was therefore a value that he naturally inherited but also solidified through his work with philanthropists at AUB and other US-based non-profit organizations who he said inspired him.

Dr. Daouk's story of philanthropy started from as early as his graduate study years in the US. He became a mentor of many who have today become faculty and doctors, at AUB and around the world. Mentorship, he says, is a big part of philanthropy, as you teach people to fish, rather than give them fish. “In the same way, AUB enables people," he added.

He is married to AUB alumnus Dr. Rima Kaddurah (BS '78 and MS '80, Chemistry, PhD '83, Basic Medical Sciences), professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine. Together with his wife, Dr. Daouk established philanthropic initiatives, including the Syracuse University endowed scholarship, the Daouk-Levy undergraduate summer scholarship at the same university, the Ghaleb and Rima Daouk Donor Advised Fund at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, the Ghaleb Daouk Fund for Inter-Cultural Understanding through the Arts at CAAP, the John T Herrin Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship Award Boston Children's Hospital, and the Ghaleb and Rima Daouk Science Award at the International College, Beirut, Lebanon.

He has co-founded and/or served on many educational, cultural and philanthropic organizations. He is founding member of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy center; the American Lebanese Medical Association; the Boston-based Center for Arabic Culture; and the Makassed Foundation of America.

“Philanthropy is not only about giving – it enables others to do well. It is about caring about others whom you don't know; caring about your fellow human beings and the community at large."

Although Dr. Ghaleb Daouk clearly demonstrated how philanthropy can be both generational and aspirational, he insists that it is inherently in the core of everyone and that with proper cultivation, “Everyone can become a successful philanthropist." “Doing well benefits everyone, as John F. Kennedy said, 'A rising tide lifts all boats'."