Distinguished guests, faculty, staff, students, and friends: I bid you a warm welcome to this 16th ceremony of conferring honorary degrees at AUB.  This year, we are privileged to award honorary doctorates to three prominent and worthy individuals who have not only excelled in their chosen fields, but have addressed issues of import and concern to this region.

The fundamental purpo​

se for the establishment of this ‘American’ university in Lebanon was to engender an enlightened and responsive impact on the region.  This continues to be our essential objective: to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond through excellence in education, the advancement of knowledge through research, and a commitment to civic engagement.

The three honorands we celebrate today have each exerted a profound impact of their own.  Through popular art that reaches and speaks to the concerns of the average Arab citizen; through scholarship and public advocacy that illuminates the history of Palestinians and their current struggle; and through journalism and commentary that analyzes and elucidates the issues of the modern Middle East for Western audiences.

We honor these individuals for outstanding contributions in the arts, sciences, media, and diplomacy and for their inspiring engagement in social issues.  Confronting inequality and intolerance is rarely an easy path to take.  It requires courage to follow one’s deepest convictions and it is this commitment that we hope and desire our students—indeed all of our community members—to embrace.  Thank you all for joining us today in this celebration of the life and achievements of these three inspiring individuals.

Watch the ceremony

Walid Khalidi, Palestinian professorDoctor of Humane Letters
Eric Rouleau, French journalist Doctor of Humane Letters
Dourade Al Lahham, Syrian actorDoctor of Humane Letters