American Univesity of Beirut


Saloua Raouda ChoucairDoctor of Humane Letters
Samih DarwazahDoctor of Humane Letters
Yusuf HannunDoctor of Humane Letters

Dear AUB Community,

I am very pleased to share with you today the names of three international luminaries who will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at the university’s 145th commencement exercises on May 30, 2014.

This year’s honorands will be the Lebanese sculptor and painter, Saloua Raouda Choucair; entrepreneur Samih Darwazah, founder of Hikma Pharmaceuticals; and Yusuf Hannun, an award-winning molecular biologist and clinical doctor.

They were selected by AUB in recognition of the enduring impact of their work, their contributions to the advancement of knowledge through research, and their efforts to enrich quality of life in the region and around the world.

Saloua Raouda Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Arab world, who followed her artistic vision with passion and self-determination. Born in Ain El Mreisseh, Beirut, in 1916, Choucair has spent a lifetime creating artworks of astounding breadth and depth. She is best known for her complex sculptures of interlocking pieces that can be taken apart and re-ordered, as the verses in an Arabic poem.  Her body of work reveals an aesthetic vision that is truly original, flourishing at the crossroads of Western influences and Arabic heritage, with the inspiration of mathematics, science, Islamic geometry, and poetry. A 2013 exhibition at the Tate Modern in London showcased more than 160 of her works and earned Choucair enormous public and critical approbation.

Samih Darwazah is the consummate entrepreneur. As the creator of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Darwazah has contributed to the advancement of his adoptive home country, Jordan, and the greater MENA region by providing jobs and economic vigor. Hikma is now the leading pharmaceutical company in Jordan, with sales over $1.3 billion per year, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Throughout the rise of Hikma, Darwazah has shown a firm commitment to socially responsible business practices. Also a devoted public servant, Darwazah has served as Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources to King Hussein, as a senator, and as a member of the Advisory Economic Council. He holds a BSc degree in pharmacy from AUB and an MA in Industrial Pharmacy from The St. Louis College of Pharmacy, which he attended as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Yusuf Hannun, an award-winning molecular biologist, clinician, and professor of medicine, has been leading the charge against cancer and other formidable diseases. Pioneering discoveries in the field of lipids and their role in cell regulation and growth have brought him international renown. He is currently Director of Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Vice Dean for Cancer Medicine, Joel Kenny Professor of Medicine, and Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. A graduate of AUB, he earned his BS in 1977, his MD with distinction in 1981, and served his internship and residency in internal medicine at AUBMC. Hannun’s funding record has been uninterrupted for over 25 years, averaging millions of dollars per year. He has contributed to more than 500 scholarly publications, published seven books, secured six patents, and written scores of reviews.

Peter Dorman

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