American Univesity of Beirut

Week of celebration highlights the philanthropic nature of AUB

​Dana Abed, Office of Advancement, ​​
Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications,​​​

On March 19–23, AUB witnessed the launch of its first ever AUB Philanthropy Week. This flagship event aimed at raising awareness around the spirit of giving and the positive impact this can have on communities, both within and outside the university. It was also a celebration of the generosity of the many donors who have contributed to the betterment of the university.

The diverse and interactive program of activities included a launch concert on Monday, featuring grassroots band Waynick; a quiz night “Battle of the Brainiacs" on Tuesday, during which deans and students competed; a symposium under the title of “Building a Culture of Philanthropy" on Wednesday; an exhibition featuring special collections donated to AUB on Thursday at the Jafet Library lobby entitled “Compendiums of Giving;" field games and a friendly football match between faculty and students on the same day; and finally the closing ceremony on Friday.

​The symposium's purpose was to highlight the different types of philanthropy at work in AUB and how they help build a culture of giving on campus. It was attended by several key members of the AUB community, including President Fadlo R. Khuri, Provost Mohamed Harajli, Trustee Emeritus Ali Ghandour, and Vice President for Advancement Imad Baalbaki; in addition to faculty, staff members, students, and alumni.

AUB alumnus and media figure Ricardo Karam welcomed the attendees, saying, “AUB's vision of philanthropy is not about seeing there is a single model that works for everyone. The cultural environment at AUB is one of huge complexity, so today we shall be discussing various topics to help AUB community address its needs in a carefully tailored way, on how to build a culture of philanthropy." 

Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri then delivered his opening remarks, saying, “What Philanthropy Week allows us to do is then dig into the meaning of what giving entails, and what it means for this community to have people who give to us. AUB would be a very different place, but for the philanthropy that rebuilt College Hall after it was blown up, or that built the Charles Hostler Student Center, or the Olayan School of Business, or what will fund and is starting to fund the transformative work at the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, or the Precision Medicine Center, or the ten scholarships that we just got for the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, or the Sheikh Al-Nahyan Chair in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. All of these, in addition to supporting literally thousands of students each year from underrepresented areas to attend this outstanding school of higher education. Indeed AUB and its future as a place of excellence in education and research is built on and predicated on philanthropy." 

Khuri then spoke about the structure and content of the symposium. “There are four elements of philanthropy that we are here to celebrate and delve into at this symposium dedicated to the idea of building a culture of philanthropy at AUB. The first is how you can provide life-changing opportunities for people from less privileged backgrounds with scholarships—and we can see every day how that does not just benefit the recipients but in fact the institution which welcomes them in its midst. We're very different, and I must say, a much better place, because we are more inclusive. Second we will see how young people's lives are changed by the act of volunteering in the name of the public and the impact that it has on others (how does volunteering and giving transform your life). Third, we will see how philanthropy is embedded in the programs of AUB, as we seek to build better communities and lived-in environments, with better healthcare, and opportunities. Fourth and finally, we are going to see how philanthropy becomes a core value in our collective value system, in our student clubs and extracurricular activities."

The symposium continued with the first panel, which included three AUB students who have benefited from scholarships of philanthropic programs at the university, and who are active in being agents of change in their communities, countries, and regions.  Other panels included Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) at AUB Rabih Shibli, as well as representatives from different faculties at the university, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), AISEC, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

A special competition was also taking place on social media with riddles to solve about AUB buildings, in which more than 250 AUB members participated. The winners were announced during the closing ceremony on Friday. Visual tags were placed all around campus on buildings and facilities that were made possible through the generosity of AUB's donors. 

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