June 27, 2009
President Peter Dorman, honorable guests of the American University of Beirut:
I am honored and delighted to accept with pleasure the honor from this august institution. The AUB is one of the greatest universities in the Middle East. Its graduates hold numerous leadership positions throughout the Arab world.
There is no question that what we need most in the Arab world is a first rate education. I am the product of such an education. My teachers and professors taught me how to carefully observe, investigate, and conduct meaningful research. This is why I am delighted that the AUB has, in recent years emphasized research quality. That will assure the creation of a knowledge society, which is our only guarantee for a brighter future. Arabs of the past have learned from those who lived before them. Then, they worked diligently to add to human knowledge. In so doing they have established the basis of Western Civilization. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot do the same. The Arab mind is quite capable and in some ways it is superior to that of many cultures. One thing that we must do is concentrate our efforts on the young generation. Our youth must be brought up to value knowledge. This is the only way to allow them to gain self confidence to uplift the Arab world from its sad state. The young generation has something that none of us had: the knowledge of the world is at their fingertips. This gives our youth great power and an unequalled opportunity to learn and innovate. Thus, they can build a better society.
Encouraging excellence and rewarding innovation increases the potential of a nation. Thus I was deeply moved by a letter that I received from HE El-Emad Michel Sleiman congratulating me on the AUB award. The letter from the President of the Republic was not just a personal honor, but an indication that Lebanon recognizes that excellence hold the key to a better future.
Thank you all fro coming. I assure you that I will always treasure this honor above all others, and will carry it with pleasure. May God keep Lebanon safe and secure, and the AUB prosperous and outstanding. I love you and God Bless you