American University of Beirut

Current Recipients

Ghassan S. Abu-Sittah, prominent war surgeon known for his courage and humanitarianism in volunteering to treat war-injured patients across the Arab region for decades​​
Doctorate in Humane Letters
Arundhati Roy, emblem of intellectual courage, has influenced literary and socio-political spheres​
Doctorate in Humane Letters
Darren Charles Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, is a preeminent leader in philanthropy and societal development
Doctorate in Humane Letters


​May 8, 2022

Dear members of the AUB community, 

It is a distinct honor to announce the distinguished recipients of the AUB Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for this year, our university's highest form of recognition. As we prepare for our 155th commencement on June 7 and 8, we eagerly anticipate celebrating three exceptional individuals whose leadership and resolve have left an indelible mark across various global domains: surgeon Ghassan Abu-Sittah, author Arundhati Roy, and philanthropic leader Darren Walker.

These luminaries embody values we cherish at AUB, demonstrating that principled, compassionate innovative thinking and decisive humanitarian action can profoundly impact societies, even in the face of adversity. Their recognition reaffirms our unwavering dedication to fostering progressive thought, transformative initiatives, and sustainable solutions that positively impact lives worldwide.

Ghassan S. Abu-Sittah, a prominent war surgeon known for his courage and humanitarianism in volunteering to treat war-injured patients across the Arab region for decades, is a multi-award-winning authority in conflict medicine, plastic and reconstructive aesthetic surgeon, and professor, renowned for his firm stance for human rights, freedom, and justice. While serving as physician and professor in clinics and universities such as AUB, he has treated the injured in war zones in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Gaza, where he was besieged with physical and nursing colleagues for 43 days in the now destroyed al-Ahli and Shifa hospitals. A genuine hero whose courage has been witnessed the world over for the last decade and a half, he has never shied away from serving where the need is greatest.

Arundhati Roy, an emblem of intellectual courage, has influenced literary and socio-political spheres. Initially an architect, actress, screenplay writer, and production designer, winning the National Film Award for her screenplay In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones, her literary breakthrough came with the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things. She has written extensively on socio-political issues, championing anti-globalization and critiquing global capitalism, neo-imperialism, the Hindu caste system and nationalism, among other local and global issues. Actively supporting various causes, she has refused awards to protest injustices, affirming her commitment to advocacy. She is a beacon of human kindness and empathy in a world badly in need of such role models.

Darren Charles Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, is a preeminent leader in philanthropy and societal development, renowned for his dynamic leadership and unwavering commitment to fostering equality and innovation. Celebrated for his powerful and transformative impact in the fields of social justice and philanthropy, he sheds light on global troubles while both leading and inspiring meaningful action worldwide. Author and active member of many prestigious international organizations, his work emphasizes the importance of justice and inclusivity, as he has shaped grant-making strategies focusing on education, creativity, and free expression. His courage in responding to the needs of those less fortunate marks him as a standard bearer across several fields.

With immense pride, we welcome these visionary leaders and role models into the esteemed circle of AUB's honorary doctorate degree recipients. They serve not only as beacons of achievement and empowerment but also as inspirations for new generations committed to making meaningful impacts for a better future for all.

Best regards,
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD

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