Founders' Day: AUB Celebrates 135th Anniversary
Kisirwani Made Acting Dean of Student Affairs
Professor Maroun Kisirwani was appointed acting dean of student affairs for one academic year as of September 1st. In naming Professor Kisirwani to his post, President Waterbury stated that he and Provost Heath looked "forward to working closely with Dr. Kisirwani and the staff of student affairs to improve student services at AUB while they continue to search for a long-term dean."
Waterbury also thanked Associate Provost Waddah Nasr, who not only served
as acting dean during a difficult transition period in the Office of
Student Affairs following the departure of former Dean Dean Kevlin,
but also continued to serve throughout the summer until the arrival
of Professor Kisirwani.
last summer to return from early retirement to AUB's short-handed Department
of Political Studies and Public Administration, Dr. Kisirwani agreed
to rejoin the department this year, but later, with the permission of
the PSPA, he yielded to Provost Peter Heath's request that he take over
as acting dean of student affairs.
on the job, Dr. Kisirwani said: "To allow students to express feelings
in a democratic way without trespassing on the rights of others"
and without reaching the confrontation point is the greatest challenge
facing a dean of students at the American University of Beirut."
after he made this statement on a Friday, the new acting dean was called
out to adjudicate in a student political confrontation which had actually
ended in blows. But all soon ended peacefully on the following Monday
after a student demonstration launched during the Founders' Day celebrations
in the Assembly Hall.
students, he says, are passionate idealists. "Lebanon is a mosaic
of political parties and groups all working for Lebanon in different
roles." The challenge is to allow the students to express their
firm beliefs and obvious commitment to Lebanon in appropriate, constructive,
and responsible ways.
far we have been lucky." Dean Kisirwani cited the incident-free
student elections of mid-November. This was highlighted by the resurrection
Dean Kisirwani overseeing the student elections results computation, last November
a 25 year-old tradition, a nascent "Speaker's Corner" at which various Student Representative Committee candidates presented their platforms to a large group of committed students, in an atmosphere of seriousness and political maturity.
In addition to his many tasks in the Office of Student Affairs, the new dean is currently teaching a graduate course in public administration, PSPA 371, Public Administration in Developing Nations. In the spring semester he will teach an undergraduate course, PSPA 275, Organization and Management.
Kisirwani holds dual Lebanese and Australian citizenship. He finds that
he cannot give up Lebanon for Australia: whenever he seems to be settling
into Australian life, he realizes he cannot separate himself from his
native land, and returns to Lebanon.
and Lebanon remain in my blood," he says. Born in Jezzine, after
graduating from International College he completed both his BA and MA
in public administration at AUB. Between 1960 and 1966 he taught at
IC, and after receiving his PhD in public administration and comparative
politics and development from Indiana University, he returned to Lebanon
to join the AUB Department of Political Studies and Public Administration
Although he took early retirement in October 2000 to return to Australia to rejoin his wife and three children, Dean Kisirwani was soon back at AUB, where he brings a background of varied experience to his new position in the Office of Student Affairs.
In addition to filling different teaching posts in Lebanon and Australia, Professor Kisirwani has had much hands-on experience training civil servants in Qatar, Bahrain, and Lebanon. He also worked with students as interim dean of students at the American University of Sharjah in 1997. In 1999 and 2000 he was AUB Representative in the Kingdom Schools in Saudi Arabia, and in 2001 he served as chairman of the Academic Board of the Australian College of Technology in Sydney.
Kisirwani spoke positively about the development of the Office of Student
Affairs. On December 1, Rima Farhat took over a new position as director
of housing. She will be serving boarding students, overseeing conditions
and activities in the dorms. On the same date Wadad Husseini joined
the office as director of student activities to oversee 42 clubs and
student activities. Dr. Antoine Khabbez, a psychotherapist, has joined
the Counseling Center as the new director. In a planned restructuring
of the center, a Placement Office will soon be established to relieve
pressure on career counselor Mariam Ghandour.
Kisirwani also emphasized work currently in progress in revamping student
affairs policies. Attention is being focused on the housing policy,
designed to give each student a chance to occupy the most sought-after
dormitory locations. At the same time, facilities
in all dormitories are being upgraded, with priority going to installation
of air conditioning. (The President's Club has recently agreed to supply
Murex Hall with air conditioning; installation will probably be during
the spring vacation.)
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