April 2005, Vol. 6 No. 5
Presenting AUB to the Outside World on
Film and Video
Choral Concert Workshop and Guitar
Festival Held at the Assembly Hall
Civilization Sequence Program Screens Falstaff
Oleanna Play Reading: Power Dynamics and
Book Review: In the Path of Hizbullah by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
A Tree Grows in Hanine
Ever since Lebanon caught international attention with former Prime Minister Rafic B. Hariri's assassination on February 14, the campus has been abuzz with foreign press representatives seeking to make sense of the recent political developments.
Dozens of news media organizations have descended on campus, requesting interviews with a number of AUB professors and staff from various faculties and departments. Others have contacted AUB analysts from abroad, seeking their expert opinion on recent events. Among the news organizations that have visited the campus were the BBC, CNN, the Boston Globe, and the
Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of European newspapers. AUB professors have also been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), Fox News, and in the Guardian, in addition to numerous local newspapers.
The AUB Office of Information and Public Relations has started posting on its website (http://staff.aub.edu.lb/~webinfo/) press clippings from international media, mentioning AUB or quoting AUB professors and staff. The BBC World Service also recorded for radio on April 6 a panel discussion on peace and democracy in the Middle East.
BBC producer Ben Williams, who came for a visit in March to check out the venue, was impressed. “[It's a] fantastic campus, fantastic facilities to hold a debate and a 'can-do' attitude with a minimum of bureaucracy,” he said. Williams noted that AUB was recommended to him by many, “as a center of learning and a place where there is the freedom to discuss issues such as democracy.”
For many of the foreign journalists, AUB is a natural first stop. Sometimes, it is an AUB alumnus who leads them to the campus. When Louise With, a reporter for the Danish Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, was assigned to Beirut to follow the latest developments here, she had never been to Lebanon before and did not know anyone here. Before booking her flight, she asked one of her former university classmates, a Lebanese woman who happened to be an AUB alumnus, for contacts in Lebanon. “You come across something like AUB and you think it's a good place to start,” said With, adding that she was positively surprised by Lebanon.
With, who is based in Prague, also praised the helpfulness and efficiency she found at AUB. “I work in Central Eastern Europe, and sometimes response to my requests is very slow. You've been very helpful, extremely kind,” she said of AUB staff.
In contrast, Charlie Radin from The Boston Globe is used to Lebanon, having already been here four or five times. Nevertheless, on each trip, he “almost always” makes a stop at AUB, “to get the professors’ take” on whatever political or economic issue he is writing about. “AUB has a fine reputation. It’s the Harvard of Lebanon, isn’t it?” he remarked. Radin also said he senses that people here feel it is important to see Lebanon back on the radar screen and are eager to explain things to him. “The professors know what they are talking about and are always very helpful,” he added.