May 16, 2016
Dear AUB Community,
I am very pleased to share with you today the names of the three outstanding individuals who will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at the University’s 147th commencement exercises on Friday, May 27, 2016.
This year’s honorands will be the acclaimed Lebanese film maker and actor Nadine Labaki, world-renowned risk specialist and best-selling author Nassim Taleb, and radical chemistry giant, Dr. Samir Zard. They have been chosen in recognition of their achievements on the international stage and their determination not to let conventional wisdom stand in the way of their quest for transformative excellence.
Nadine Labaki is one of the most admired filmmakers of her generation in the Arab world. She has received multiple international prizes for her movies “Caramel” and “Where Do We Go Now?” (Halla La Wen), in both of which she holds writing, directing and acting credits. She has also starred in films by other directors, as well as producing award-winning music videos and commercials. Her cinema work is known for its honesty, authenticity, and humor, while she skillfully dismantles stereotypes and taboos of modern life in Lebanon, especially the lives of its remarkable women.
Nassim Taleb has shaken the modern world with challenging and groundbreaking scholastic arguments, particularly in his books The Black Swan, his four volume philosophical essay on uncertainty, Incerto, and his latest work Antifragile. Taleb, of Lebanese origin, is Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and an advisor to various governments, corporations, and trading firms, as well as a managing principal of the Real World Risk Institute LLC.
Dr. Samir Zard is a recognized world leader in the field of radical chemistry. A former AUB student, he has made significant contributions to organic chemistry and developed with his research group numerous new reactions that have become a permanent fixture in the field of synthetic chemistry, with applications ranging from the synthesis of pharmaceuticals to the manufacture of industrial block polymers. He is currently Director of Research – Exceptional Grade in the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Professor of Organic Chemistry at École Polytechnique, France.
Each of these honorands has the capacity to inspire our students in different ways to explore new realms of thought and offer the world new avenues of expression. We welcome them warmly as they join a distinguished list of honorary doctoral degree recipients at AUB.
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD