Sally Abou Melhem <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Office of Communications
The World Health Organization (WHO) held an award ceremony for its World No Tobacco Day 2018, titled “Tobacco and cardiovascular disease.” Award winner for the Eastern Mediterranean region is the president of the American University of Beirut (AUB), Dr. Fadlo Khuri. The ceremony was held on October 30, 2018 at Villa Sursock, with addresses by WHO Representative to Lebanon Iman Shankiti and the awardee Dr. Fadlo Khuri. Guests from AUB attending the ceremony included trustees, the provost, vice-presidents, deans, professors, administrators, and staff, in addition to members of the Tobacco-Free AUB Task Force.
Dr. Shankiti welcomed the audience and announced that Dr. Khuri has received two WHO awards in recognition for his efforts in taking action against smoking. The first award was the Director-General Special Recognition Award and the second was the World No Tobacco Day Award. In her address, Shankiti noted that the WHO will always support the efforts of the Ministry of Public Health, the American University of Beirut, and all institutions and partners in the fight against smoking, to expand the implementation of all the provisions of the WHO agreement in Lebanon. These include the areas of monitoring tobacco use and precaution policies, providing assistance to those wishing to quit smoking, warning and raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco of all kinds, and enforcing the ban on tobacco advertising and increasing tobacco taxes. "Congratulations to Dr. Fadlo Khuri, congratulations to the American University of Beirut, congratulations to Lebanon," Dr. Shankiti said at the end of her address.
After receiving the WHO award, Dr. Khuri spoke, pointing out that “AUB’s successful tobacco-free initiative shows that with political will, backed by evidence and committed teamwork, it is possible to implement world-standard tobacco control measures in Lebanon, which has remained a bastion of smoking despite a robust legal framework provided by Law 174. The successful initiative was launched because AUB recognizes its responsibility to be a role model for its peers and a microcosm for Lebanon to move forward towards full implementation of the law for the benefit of the health and wellbeing of the whole population.”
During the ceremony, a short film about the theme of this award and Dr. Khuri's efforts in the field of tobacco control, was screened. Director General of the Ministry of Health Walid Ammar stressed on the important role played by AUB in issuing Law 174 to curtail smoking, and pointed out that the law was not fully implemented in public places. Dr. Ammar added that AUB was a pioneer in the enforcement of that law via Dr. Khuri's efforts to make AUB a smoking-free campus. Dr. Ammar pointed out that AUB has a pioneering role not only in the fields of education and scientific research, but also in health, social, environmental, and cultural fields. He expressed his happiness for Dr. Khuri’s WHO award for World No Tobacco Day 2018, wishing AUB continued prosperity.