American Univesity of Beirut


Opening Remarks by President John Waterbury
June 28 2008

This is the sixth year in which AUB has offered honorary doctorates to distinguished individuals, after a long interruption due to the civil war in Lebanon. Returning to normalcy has not been easy for this country, nor will it be until major regional issues are satisfactorily solved. Our confidence in the future has been shaken in recent years by a string of assassinations, the war with Israel in the summer of 2006, and, last May, the brief outbreak of a new round of civil strife.

Over these last six years the arrival in Lebanon and on AUB's campus of outstanding citizens of the world, like those we honor today, has kept hope alive and affirmed the faith so many hold in Lebanon's and this university's future. Our honorees today have achieved international acclaim and recognition in the arts, literature, natural sciences, public service, and in the commitment to peace.

I am honored to stand here with them - Hanan Ashrawi, Mona Hatoum, Irene Khan, Orhan Pamuk, and Georges Tohmé - for this, my last, Honorary Degree ceremony as President of AUB.

Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian Peace Activist​
Doctor of Humane Letters
Mona Hatoum, Beirut-born Palestinian artist Doctor of Humane Letters
Irene Khan, Bengali-born international human rights and refugee advocateDoctor of Humane Letters
Georges Tohme, Lebanese scientist and ecologistDoctor of Humane Letters
Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelistDoctor of Humane Letters
John Waterbury, scholar, AUB President 1998-2008Doctor of Humane Letters

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