On Sept 1, 2020, the President of the American University of Beirut announced the appointment of Dr. Abla M. Sibai as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). Dr. Sibai succeeds Dean Iman Nuwayhid, following 12 years of dedicated and outstanding service to FHS. Sibai brings a wealth of skill, a track record of mentorship and groundbreaking research to this position. Sibai's internationally renowned work on health and wellbeing of older people, with a focus on cardiovascular disease in context of wars and socio-political unrest, is matched only by her resolute commitment to outreach and advocacy. She is the co-founder of the “University for Seniors" Program at AUB and the founding director of the “Center for Studies on Aging" in Lebanon. Sibai is a Board member of HelpAge International and serves in the World Economic Forum - Global Future Council on Human Enhancement and Longevity. She was recently honored with the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Award 2020 as laureate for Africa and the Arab States. Sibai has always shown great commitment to the balancing act of teaching, research, and practice, which is an abiding hallmark of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Sibai is assuming the helm of FHS during one of the most trying times in the history of Lebanon, marred with financial crisis, COVID19 and the recent August 4 blast that hit the capital city, Beirut. Yet, she remains optimistic and hopeful; in her words “being Lebanese means that we can and must oscillate repeatedly between crises and rebuilding and between despair and hope".
As FHS dean, Dr. Iman Nuwayhid has left an indelible mark on the faculty and the whole of AUB. Dr. Nuwayhid has been an inspirational leader of a superbly energetic and committed body of professors, staff, students, and alumni who have made FHS the top public health institute in the Arab and Eastern Mediterranean region and a respected voice in the Global South. Among his many achievements are the initiation of new undergraduate and graduate programs, a regular flow of high-impact grants, and the CEPH accreditation and reaccreditation of graduate public health programs, allowing the faculty to join the prestigious Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.
Best wishes to Dr. Sibai in her new challenging role and to Dr. Nuwayhid for a well-deserved sabbatical.