American University of Beirut

AUB mourns Nabil Bukhalid (1957–2023), its first IT director and “the man who brought the internet to Lebanon”

Dear Colleagues,

It is with a heavy heart that we received the news of the passing away of AUB’s former director of Computing and Networking Services Nabil Bukhalid at the age of 65. In addition to being the first IT director at AUB, Nabil’s contributions to the university and to Lebanon have been immeasurable. He led the AUB computing and networking team and was responsible for bringing the internet to Lebanon.

Nabil Bukhalid (BEN ’81, EMBA ’05) joined AUB’s Medical Engineering Department immediately after graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1990, he was charged with the monumental task of building AUB’s Computer Networking System Department with two other engineers. He held the position of director of Computing and Networking Services from 2000 until 2011, and then chief enterprise architect. 

After he left AUB in 2012, Nabil continued his advocacy for using technology for the betterment of society. He worked tirelessly with different stakeholders in the private and public sector to drive state-of-the-art laws and policies that ensure a thriving tech sector in Lebanon. He also worked with others to set up an internet exchange that made it possible to have cheaper and better connectivity between different institutions in Lebanon. Nabil was also involved in several non-profit organizations that help the spread of technology for the good of society.

He is well known in the global internet community, and has worked very closely with some of the internet founders and the luminaries who made the internet what it is today. In 2017, he was inducted into the Int​ernet Hall of Fame, where the key contributors to the development of the global internet are recognized. 

Among Nabil Bukhalid’s many significant contributions to the development of the internet in Lebanon, is establishing the Lebanese Domain Registry (LBDR) and serving as administrator and registrar for the .LB ccTLD since its creation in 1993. He was founder of the Lebanese Academic and Research Network (1994), and BeirutIX, the first Internet Exchange Point in Lebanon. He was co-founder of the Lebanese Internet Exchange Point (2007); co-founder of the Lebanese Broadband Manifesto Support Group (2008); co-founder and former president of the Internet Society Lebanon Chapter, a nonprofit organization (2010); co-founder and CEO of the Lebanese Internet Center, a public-private partnership (since 2014); advisory board member of the Lebanese Canadian Tech Hub (2016); and mentor at Confideo Venture Mentoring (2017). 

Nabil contributed to several internet governance, strategic planning, capacity-building, and research efforts in Europe and the Middle East and Africa region. He organized and presented in numerous conferences on technical, governance, and socio-economical concepts related to the internet, multi-stakeholder governance, knowledge society, and open data.

AUB, Lebanon, and the world have lost a true visionary who will always be remembered for his vital contributions and achievements which will continue to enrich our lives. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Mrs. Joumana Salibi, his children Layla, Zeina, and Sami, his family members and loved ones, and his colleagues at the AUB community and around the world, as his legacy forever remains with us.

With deep sympathy,

Yousif Asfour, PhD
Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer​

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