December 2005, Vol. 7 No. 2
Appointment of Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh
Prominent Arab-American Rights Activist Lectures on Islamophobia
Appointment of Dr. Thurayya Arayssi
Business School Lecture on Corporate Governance
Women’s League Meeting
Professor Samir Makdisi to Serve Again on Global Network Board
Human Resources Developments
University Senate Meeting of June 22
September Senate Notes
New Mission Statement
Dean Daghir Steps Down from Deanship
Recently Published: Comparing Media from Around the World
John Rhoder Leaves AUB
Prominent Saudi Businessman Receives AUB Distinguished Alumnus Award
Fading Poetry of Old Lebanese Houses: Art Project by Joe Saleh
Tips for Saving the Planet
Art Club Celebrates Art Day
Jafet Library Displays the Earliest Photographs of AUB Campus
The latest meeting of the Women’s League, held on November 7 at the Bathish Auditorium, was highlighted by an enlightening lecture entitled “Lebanese Heritage and the Environment,” presented by Rayya Daouk, the daughter of the first governor of Beirut after the Ottomans were defeated in 1918.
Before introducing the speaker, Leila Alameddine, the hospitality manager of the league, gave a brief overview of the league’s activities and urged members to participate in the International Beirut Marathon, in which a group of runners is committed to supporting the cause of awarding Lebanese citizenship to children whose fathers are foreigners but whose mothers are Lebanese. Alameddine then lauded the achievements of yet another lady from the Daouk family, Mrs. Andrée Daouk, an active member of the Women’s League who recently received “the highest distinction in Europe” from the president of Italy. She rose as her name was called and explained that the award was given to honor her contribution to the cultural and social life in Lebanon and in recognition of her dedicated efforts as one of the organizers of the International Beiteddine Festival.
The speaker, Rayya Daouk, who was introduced as the vice president of APSAD, the non-governmental association for the protection of archaeological sites and natural reserves, is the proud owner of the 10,000 square-meter Daouk Palace in Ras Beirut, a well-preserved historical residence with a luxurious garden. She began her talk by telling her listeners that the land AUB was built on once belonged to her family.
Her lecture focused on the role APSAD has played since its inception in the 1950s, in terms of “strengthening the fabric of Lebanese society and preserving the cultural and landscape heritage of the country.” The association, she said, has conducted campaigns against deforestation, against the use of fuel oil, and most persistently, against the quarries that are “slaughtering our mountain ranges.” APSAD has also participated in the Mediterranean littoral cleaning campaigns, the restoration of the Roman bridge in Maameltein, the restructuring of the Salima village landscape, the conservation of the Phoenician sites at Enfeh bay, construction of the Ebel El-Saqi Museum, and the preservation of the Beirut River valley.
Daouk used a PowerPoint presentation to show photographs of her palace and its garden as well as snapshots taken from various “culturally and environmentally preserved” sites that APSAD has sought to maintain over the years. She said that APSAD has also initiated several outreach programs involving schools to promote environmental and cultural awareness among students starting from a young age, by organizing trips to endangered sites and monuments and encouraging students to participate in environmentally-themed contests.
Currently, APSAD has only twelve members and faces recurrent financial problems. Daouk thoroughly disparaged the Lebanese parliament and the ministries of environment and culture who “do not meet [our] expectations and ambitions” and lend a consistently “deaf ear” to the concerns of APSAD. She argued that the ministries mentioned do not possess one tenth of the extensive architectural, landscape, and environmental documents encompassed by the APSAD archives and yet are unwilling to collaborate constructively with the association.