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AUB President Fadlo Khuri recently led a delegation to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) for what he described as “a productive and inspiring trip.” It was Khuri’s second visit to this West African country during the past year with Vice President for Advancement Imad Baalbaki, Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Salma Oueida, and Director of Admissions Salim Kanaan.
“We are very excited at the number of areas where we share interests with AUB alumni and members of the Lebanese diaspora in the Ivory Coast,” said Baalbaki, noting that he and his colleagues will be traveling to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa soon. “We want to strengthen AUB’s ties with alumni and friends in parts of the world where we have not been as active in recent years. We are always warmly welcomed on these visits. People are eager to hear about AUB and to partner with us as well.”
“Our alumni chapter in the Ivory Coast is great,” said Oueida. “They hosted us, arranged meetings, and also put us in touch with schools that we hope will send students to AUB soon.”
AUB and the Ivory Coast Alumni Chapter have teamed up to establish a number of full scholarships to make an AUB education affordable for any deserving student from the Ivory Coast. The first scholarship recipient will be joining AUB in fall 2019. Aya Atto, who will be graduating from Collège Sainte Marie this year, is very excited about the opportunity to attend AUB. She will be studying business and plans to become a financial analyst. Khuri spoke about Atto and what it is about AUB that convinced her parents to agree to let her go to Lebanon—and to AUB. “We have a vision—Vision 2030—that attracts people,” he said.
Oueida said there were many special moments during the visit including individual meetings with a number of “extraordinary people,” a dinner at the home of alumnus Ghandour Ghandour, and a reception hosted by Khalil Mohamad, Chargé d’Affaire of the Lebanese Embassy in Ivory Coast.
“The support and on-the-ground assistance from AUB alumni and friends are invaluable in student recruitment,” explained Kanaan, noting that alumni are enthusiastic—and especially effective—cheerleaders for the university. “I can tell prospective students that AUB is great, but it’s more persuasive when they hear it from someone they know, someone who attended the university and looks back on those days at AUB with great appreciation,” he said. This sentiment was echoed by Rabi Omaïs who, although not an alumnus himself, has a keen appreciation for AUB. “My parents met at AUB,” he said. “It was always in their hearts.”