Dear FAFS Family and the greater Lebanese community,
From the heart of Lebanon to the heart of Beirut and its people who have been impacted, in one way or another, by the August 4th devastating explosion in the seaport of Beirut, I extend my sincere condolences for the loss of innocent and hopeful lives. I also, extend my profound sympathies to the injuries endured, the destruction of property, and for the emotional scars that will forever run deep within us.
It is indeed a sad and somber period for Lebanon; together, like the phoenix bird, we will rise from the tribulations that surround us, and we will rise stronger and more determined.
The explosion hit close to home with FAFS losing one of its alumni, Mr. Ayman Suleiman. Ayman graduated with a BS in Agriculture and Diploma d'Ingenieur Agricole in 2011; he also earned an MS in Plant Science in 2014. Ayman is survived by his wife Shalimar (also a FAFS alumna) and their two daughters Chanel and Galina.
On the material side, FAFS endured some damage to the windows and ceilings. The damage was assessed and the cleaning and renovations have started the very next day of the explosion.
Since Thursday, August 6th, the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) & Food Heritage Foundation team are preparing daily hot meals at Akleh community kitchen in the framework of Ardi Ardak initiative for our fellow citizens who were affected by the explosion. The small kitchen was capable of delivering 300 family meals and expected to deliver more in the coming week. We are seeking support from several international foundations, and expect to receive some support towards our efforts in the coming few days.
For those who are willing to support and alleviate the burden of this blast on the devastated families, cash and in-kind donations are accepted, as well as volunteering to help cook or distribute hot meals made with love to families in need.
August 4th tragic explosion only makes us more committed to AUB's and FAFS mission and values so this great institution continues to be the beacon of knowledge and learning as it has always been and to leave the world a better place.
I pray that you and your families and loved ones are safe and far from harm's way. May God protect Lebanon, its land, and its people.
Rabi H. Mohtar
Professor and Dean, FAFS