Ghada Awada and Bilal Kaafarani recognized as outstanding REP consultants

​​​​​​Jennifer Muller <jm26@aub.edu.lb>, Office of Communications

​The Office of the Vice President for Regional External Programs (REP) organized the eighth Abdul-Hamid Hallab REP Service Excellence Awards ceremony to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding REP consultants from the AUB community. Recipients of this year’s awards were Dr. Ghada Awada and Professor of Organic Chemistry Bilal Kaafarani, both from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). Nominees were evaluated and winners chosen based on the criteria of client focus, teamwork, service excellence, commitment to the project, and having contributed to the mission of REP.

The ceremony was attended by Trustee Emeritus Farouk Jabre, Provost Mohamed Harajli, VP for REP Hassan Diab, VP for Advancement Imad Baalbaki, Dr. Hallab, deans, REP staff, and the friends and family of the awardees. Also in attendance were REP client representatives from Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Mana College of Health Science and Dar Jana International School. After welcoming the guests, VP Diab spoke about the pivotal role of REP over more than four decades as the consulting arm of AUB. Representing President Fadlo Khuri, Provost Harajli then handed each awardee a plaque with a personal citation and a $1,000 check in recognition of their contributions to AUB and REP.

A motivational and multi-sectoral educator

Dr. Ghada Awada holds two PhDs—applied linguistics in education as well as international relations and diplomacy—and is the first female faculty member to receive the Abdul-Hamid Hallab REP Award. Awada has taught in several departments at AUB, including the Department of Education. “She has been instrumental in every project she was involved in, including D-RASATI, Ahfad University for Women, Dar Jana International School, as well as the AUB REP/CEC Syrian Refugee Training Program,” stated Vice President of REP Hassan Diab at the ceremony. 

One REP client said in a testimonial addressed to Dr. Awada, “We had the privilege to know you as the energetic, passionate, and knowledgeable instructor, who motivated teachers with energy and positive thinking, and provided them with invaluable experience and expertise.” In addition to her work on multiple REP projects, Awada has been actively involved in identifying and referring numerous business opportunities to REP through her network of academic and non-academic institutions in Lebanon and the region.

Bringing innovative teaching methods to Africa

Dr. Bilal Kaafarani from the Department of Chemistry has organized many high-profile science events at AUB including organic chemistry student competitions and the annual ChemCarnival outreach event aimed at youth. Through REP, Kaafarani brought his engaging model of education to Africa, leading the Organic Competition (OC) component of the Ahfad University for Women (AUW) project. The OC component spanned over two years and comprised three competitions: the first involving students from AUW, the second for students from multiple Sudanese universities, and a third one for students from universities across the African continent. 

The OC competitions in Africa helped leverage AUB’s brand and reputation across the continent, providing national and international exposure for AUB. The OC also exposed these students to a teaching method very different from the usual teacher-driven lectures and laboratory activities. AUW’s leadership believes that the OC competition benefitted AUW greatly and improved student engagement and interest in organic chemistry. AUW was inspired to adopt more learning-activity methods for education, and the AUB team is in the process of helping them in this regard.  

The Abdul-Hamid Hallab REP Service Excellence Award was established in 2009 to recognize REP consultants who have made major contributions to the mission of REP in terms of providing the Middle East and North Africa with world-class professional services while reflecting AUB core values and its commitment to service excellence. By recognizing these individuals, REP provides incentives for AUB faculty and staff to serve as consultants and to help realize AUB’s mission in the world at large.