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AUB alumni in the UK gathered at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in London for a special evening organized by the Worldwide Alumni Association of AUB (WAAAUB) UK Chapter. AUB President Fadlo Khuri, Lebanese Ambassador to the UK Rami Mortada, renowned AUB alumnus Ramzi Alamuddin (BBA ’59, MBA ’77), and his daughter Amal Alamuddin Clooney, attended the event, in addition to Vice President for Advancement Imad Baalbaki and Associate Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Salma Oueida.
In his welcome speech, President Khuri shared recent news from campus and spoke about Vision 2030: “It’s a vision of a university where students are given opportunities to pursue excellence without the constraints of fear of failure—and without incurring enormous financial debt; of a university whose faculty and students are producing knowledge and finding solutions to the most challenging problems that confront Lebanon and the region today.”
Speaking next was Amal Clooney who talked about her family’s long history with AUB. She went on to explain how she had come to appreciate how important AUB is to the country. “Many of the country’s leaders—and those in the region—studied there, and many of the professors are leading lights in their field. This has always been the case. Back in the 1940s AUB Professor Charles Malik was one of the main authors—along with Eleanor Roosevelt—of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights,” said Clooney. “And for over 150 years, through wars and political violence, including on its own campus, AUB has continued to educate some of the brightest talents of our generation.”
Ramzi Alamuddin, who was introduced by his daughter, spoke of his long ties with the university noting that he was born at AUH (as the AUB Medical Center was known then). His grandfather, Ali Alamuddin, was among the first graduates from AUB’s medical school having earned his degree 126 years ago, in 1892. His father, Khalil Alamuddin (BA 1916), as well as his wife Baria Miknas Alamuddin, his brother and sister, two uncles, and two of his children are all AUB alumni.
“What’s so special about AUB?” asked Alamuddin. “The president, the administration, the staff, the faculty, and the students. AUB makes its students fall in love with it and gives them the high-quality education they seek in their life. My lifelong friendships were formed throughout my time at AUB. It has always been part of my life, and always will be.” He concluded his remarks saying, “And so, my fellow alumni, ask not what your university can do for you, ask what you can do for your university.”
During the evening, President Khuri and Dr. Christina Bilalian, UK Chapter president, presented memorabilia plaques to the families of three alumni who had passed away recently: Amal Abu Shakra (BA ’79), sister of UK Chapter member Eyad Abu Skakra (BA ’77); Talal T. Farah (BA ’62), former president of the UK Chapter; and Maroun Semaan (BE ’77), philanthropist and longtime supporter of the chapter.
All proceeds from the event benefited the WAAAUB - UK Limited Endowed Scholarship that has provided financial support for 153 students since it was established in 2003.