From the Editors
 To the Editors
 AUB News
 Campaign Update
 Business Education at AUB
 Business Designs
 Passages: Commencement 2003
 Honorary Degrees Return to AUB
 The Flourishing Cultural Life of AUB
  Exploring the History of AUB
 Alumni Profile
 Alumni Activities
 AUB Reflections
 Class Notes
 In Memoriam
 Credits
 Previous Issues


AUB News


Ghassan Tueni on Current Events

Ghassan Tueni, publisher of An-Nahar as well as author, diplomat, and intellectual, aired his views on current world events on May 14 in Nicely Hall. Tueni, one of AUB’s most distinguished graduates, bounced from headline to headline, reflecting his calling as a newspaperman extraordinaire. The talk, hosted by the Civilization Sequence Program of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, was attended by students, faculty, and honored guests—including US Ambassador Vincent Battle.
Tueni spoke informally, frequently joking with the audience. He dismissed Lebanese politics as “not worth discussing,” and the Arab states in general as “totally disintegrated” and also not worth discussing. He said that a major peril was “American domination in the name of terrorism” and expressed bewilderment at US “empire-building” in an age when empires can no longer endure. He dwelt also on the new role of the United Nations after the Iraq war, proposing several possible amendments to reinvent the body: enlarging the “veto club,” creating a permanent peacekeeping army, and reviewing and revising the decision-making process. Tueni dismissed the notion of “clash of civilizations,” preferring to dub the modern age “an era of the contrary.” In the end, Tueni admitted that his questions outnumbered his solutions: “I have no proposal to make…we have no recipes, we only have topics for debate.” On a positive note, Tueni was hopeful for a reinvigorated dialogue between the major cultures of the world, and on a similar note he takes “very seriously a new Euro-Arab Mediterranean partnership.”
Vigorously agreeing with Samir Khalaf, head of the Center for Behavioral Research, that AUB was the most important public space in the Arab world, Tueni was clearly back in his element: debating the great issues of the day with his peers at the University where his college education began.


Folk Dance Festival Celebrates Cultures

AUB’s 30th Annual Folk Dance Festival brought a visual feast of vibrant color and coordinated movement to the Green Field on May 18. Provost Peter Heath delivered an opening address for this “fine and valued tradition” and Dean of Student Affairs Maroun Kisirwani, chairperson of the Folk Dance Festival Committee, thanked the participating students for “offering us an evening of music and dance.”
The dancers hailed from secondary schools across the country, each costumed and dancing in the style of a chosen region or country, from the United States to Africa to Russia. The groups, festooned in brilliant colors, took their places on the field and began the show with a full-cast rendition of the traditional Lebanese dabkeh. Each group then took the prime spot “on stage” before the crowded audience and performed the dance they had spent months rehearsing. The most popular tunes brought the audience to its feet dancing and singing. One crowd-pleaser was the African dance, a first for the festival, in which the dancers leaped and gyrated to polyrhythmic music, boys flashing spears and girls swaying underneath clutched bowls of fruit. Beyond the packed audience gathered on the field, many AUB students looked down at the festivities from nearby building rooftops.
In introducing the festival program, President John Waterbury emphasized the “importance of bringing diverse people of diverse lands together in a spirit of joy, understanding, and peaceful cooperation.” For the thousands who attended the event, the grand performance was certainly a celebration of diversity through the beauty of costume and dance.


The Fun of AUB Outdoors


Ten-minute ping-pong matches. Paint fights. Hordes of laughing children. Students in medieval garb parading through the crowds. Twisters on the Green Oval. Those were only a few of the many pleasurable sights at the annual AUB Outdoors during the May 24–25 weekend. Outdoors, a get-together event popular with students and especially with the youth of Beirut, transformed the area stretching from the Green Oval to West Hall into a veritable carnival, including snacks and activity stands sponsored by student groups and local businesses that catered to the appetites of the crowd. This year’s Outdoors Committee was coordinated by Muhammad Ali Dbouk, a civil engineering graduate, with tireless assistance from Director of Student Activities Wadad El-Husseiny.
About 32 AUB clubs and societies participated, many serving snacks and beverages and others presenting a theme in line with their organization’s purpose. On top of those activities, 13 student bands from AUB and other area schools serenaded the crowds throughout the festival. Despite a few concerns about the level of noise, the activities went on without a hitch. The Art Club won the “Best Stand” award for its castle design and art displays of sculpture, painting, and tie-dye shirts, as well as for its popular paint fight; but the younger attendees seemed drawn more to the Red Cross tent where they jousted with balloons. “We tried to satisfy all tastes,” explained Dbouk about the stands and the bands. Over $2,500 in prizes were given away to a lucky few among the estimated crowd of 8,000. The revenues from ticket sales will go to the participating organizations, the future AUB Outdoors Committee, and charity. Without a doubt, the success of Outdoors is a tribute to the teamwork and diligence of the organizers in providing such a diversity of entertainment for the wider community beyond AUB’s campus.

 

Human-Powered Vehicle Competition: Highlight of the FEA Student Conference


Engineering and Architecture students ended the year on a high note at the second annual Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Student Conference, held on May 30–31. The conference included two full days of activities, presentations, speeches, and receptions designed to provide a forum for students to exhibit their research projects to the public. Students also heard speeches by five distinguished alumni and one noted scholar on their respective research and business experience. Participation was voluntary, but many students took part in the conference—72 of them from the fields of engineering, architecture, and graphic design submitted abstracts to the conference committee, 39 of which were selected for presentation.
Assistant Professor of Engineering Samer Abdallah, who was one of the founding organizers of the conference last year, was the coordinating chairperson this year. In explaining the principal aim of the conference, he said it was to transform the presentation of final year projects into a two-day affair replete with numerous activities. “The conference,” remarked Abdallah, is “a good learning experience for students. It gives them the chance to learn how to write technical papers and convey their ideas to a more general audience. To submit their papers and have them accepted for presentation is a valuable experience that inspires confidence in the students.” Having the research papers reviewed and presented in a conference context also “lets others benefit from their work.”
Awards of distinction and prize money were given to the authors of the best papers in each field at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The winning papers ranged in subject from an architectural analysis of Lebanon (“New Raouche Shopping Center: Consuming the Code,” by Yasmine al-Machnouk) to advanced electrical engineering that may have a future impact on cutting-edge technology (“Human Face Detection in Clustered Images,” by Axel Davidian and Noha Ibrahim).
By far the most crowd-pleasing event of the FEA Conference was the Human-Powered Vehicle Competition. Vehicles built by the students—designed in accordance with specific criteria such as efficiency, sturdiness, biomechanics, ergonomics, and weight—were raced full-tilt over an ad hoc track consisting of the pathways surrounding College Hall and Jafet Memorial Library. Corporate sponsors paid for the construction materials, but the cars were entirely built by the students. Students and other spectators lined the “track” to cheer their classmates as they hurtled along…and to watch and groan when a car broke down and had to be pulled into the “pit” area near College Hall for hasty repairs.
The design of the 14 vehicles that participated varied dramatically. Some of the students sat in a normal bicycling position while pedaling, others had to stretch out horizontally, and a few powered the vehicle with their feet up in the air. Some cars sported fancy airfoils; others rolled along on a low chassis. The overall winner of the competition (for design as well as for speed) was Car Number 0, which was sponsored by BP and nicknamed “BPower.” Tony Attie, a member of the winning team, attributed their success to “the genius of the design and the hard work of the drivers.”

 


Sports News: AUB Hosts Universiad and the Results of the Interfaculty Soccer Match

This year’s Universiad proved that AUB is much more than the academic capital of Lebanon. For the fourth year in a row, AUB hosted the Universiad, a country-wide sports championship open to the 42 member schools of the Lebanese Federation of University Sports, of which AUB is a founding member. This year, on May 30, the spirited rhythms of the Internal Security Forces Band hailed the scores of young athletes as they paraded onto the Green Field decked in the colors and equipment of their school and sport. On a dustblown field and under a humid overcast sky, they proceeded to put on displays of physical prowess and martial artistry, then topped them off with an energetic traditional dabkeh. On the heels of that grand prelude, Judge Nasri Lahoud, president of the federation, formally inaugurated the “olympic” event with a speech, followed by remarks of welcome and praise by Lebanon’s Minister of Sports, Dr. Sebouh Hovnanian.

Twenty universities participated in the Universiad, which was open to both men and women and included a myriad of sports, from volleyball, soccer, basketball, and tennis to ping-pong and chess. The games were held on AUB’s indoor and outdoor courts, on the Green Field, and in the spacious rooms of West Hall. AUB placed first in several women’s competitions, among them soccer and ping-pong, and the University’s chess team also came in first. In commenting on the importance of the Universiad to AUB, Director of Athletics Ghalib Halimi said, “It proves that AUB, which is the pioneer university in Lebanon and the Arab world, has full capacity to organize such a large sports event, and does it so well that it attracts both regional and international media attention via satellite.”




The other hallmark sporting event at AUB, held on May 28, was the annual interfaculty soccer game, which pitted the Faculties of Arts and Sciences, Agricultural and Food Sciences, and Health Sciences against the Faculties of Medicine and Engineering and Architecture. The competing teams are usually made up of players from both the varsity and junior varsity teams of the faculties, who practice daily for weeks before the game. This year, the Medicine/Engineering team prevailed in a heated defensive battle that gave it a hard-won 1-0 victory, under the leadership of its captain, computer science major Faysal Arakji. There is no question in anyone’s mind on campus that this interfaculty rivalry is bound to continue.

Student Theater Back at West Hall

Newly renovated West Hall was theatrically reinaugurated on May 28, when “Hotel Paradiso,” a comic farce authored by G. Feydeau and M. Desvalliers and performed by a cast of talented students, played a five-day run. The play, which was directed by long-time AUB thespian Peter Shebaya, was presented by the Civilization Sequence Program (of which Shebaya is presently director) and the Drama Club.
AUB’s rendition of the play was a merry-go-round of devious intentions, thwarted liaisons, husband-wife spats, and misunderstandings. A mock-up hotel provided the setting for the many door-slammings, frantic comings and goings, and unexpected encounters that punctuated the comic scenarios. The actors proved to be brilliant in delivering the many jokes that called for perfect timing and subtle verbal emphasis.

Assistant Director Hani Hassan, an MA graduate and now an AUB faculty member, starred as the manipulative but unlucky Boniface, while senior economics student Lea Hakim played his haughty wife Angelique. Nadia Hassan (in the role of the scorned and oft-swooning Marcelle) and Jawad Yehia (as her husband, the neglectful Cot) are both undergraduates in computer science. The other cast members also put on inspired performances—
particularly funny was business major Hady Tabbal as the stuttering, bumbling Martin. His Freudian slips provided some of the most hilarious moments in a play that is hardly lacking in humor.
The audience reaction to Hotel Paradiso was one of total delight. Despite the heavy strain of preparing for approaching final exams, the students put on a highly professional performance that brought much pleasure to the AUB community.


IEEE Student Branch’s Website Tops International Competition


The AUB student branch club of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) chalked up an impressive record in this year’s IEEE worldwide website competition. The club’s website was awarded third place in the international category (just behind Boston University and Arizona State University). It also swept away the regional competition—winning first place over Turkey’s Hucettepe University and Twente University of Technology of the Netherlands. Congratulations to the branch on their hard work! Check out the winning IEEE website for yourself at http://webfea.fea.aub.edu.lb/ieee.


Scholarship Fund Established in Honor of Distinguished Alumnus Afif Abdul Wahab

On April 17, Ramzi Abdul Wahab and Dr. Rida Abdul Wahab presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund in the name of Dr. Afif and Mrs. Zamzam Abdul Wahab. The Abdul Wahab family also pledged another $100,000 to the fund next year.
Dr. Afif Abdul Wahab, who passed away in early 2003, was born in Al Mina, Tripoli. He earned his MD from AUB in 1941, and before the age of 30 became a general surgeon and for a short while was a member of AUB’s faculty.
In 1945 he founded, along with his colleague Daniel Katibah (AUB MD ‘43), the Al Mina Hospital in Tripoli, and later the Al Asi Hospital in Homs, Syria. In the early 1950s, he established the first private hospital in Jeddah, and then successfully negotiated a contract with ARAMCO to establish the Orient Hospital in Khobar. He subsequently became a Saudi national, and for many years enjoyed notable success there in the practice of medicine as well as in business.
Upon his retirement in 1973, Dr. Abdul Wahab began dedicating his time to the community service activities he had been committed to as a student, such as “The Association for Development of Villages.” In 1991, the doctor marked the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation from AUB by establishing an endowed scholarship fund in the names of his father and uncle, Khayreddine and Adel Abdul Wahab.
Dr. Afif Abdul Wahab and his wife Zamzam had four children: Ahmad Ramzi (a pharmacist and businessman), Hamidah, Thuraya, and Mohammad Henry.

The Abdul Wahab family’s most recent gift of $100,000 will be matched on a one-to-four basis by the Cleveland Dodge Foundation through a special agreement between the Dodge Foundation and AUB, thus adding another $25,000 to the University’s financial aid endowment fund.


Fingerprints Student-Giving Program Grows

The Fingerprints program just keeps getting stronger and stronger. Launched during the 2001–02 academic year by the Office of Development in coordination with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and the University Student Faculty Committee (USFC), this student fundraising program encourages graduating students to contribute to the education of their fellow students by donating $25 or more to the Fingerprints Endowed Scholarship Fund. The program provides an opportunity for graduating students to manifest the AUB spirit of philanthropy and collegiality.
By the end of June 2003, 455 students from the class of 2003 had come forward to leave their “fingerprints” at AUB—they contributed more than a total of $13,000 to endowed financial aid, and more are expected to contribute by the end of this year. The class of 2002 had been just as supportive: 370 donors gave a total of $11,000.
AUB trustee Dr. Kamal Shair and the USFC renewed their support for academic year 2002–03. Trustee Shair once again matched every $1 donated by students with $2—and the USFC made a similar two-to-one match. In addition, AUB benefits from the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation Challenge Grant, whereby the foundation donates $1 to the AUB Endowed Scholarship Fund for every $4 received from AUB alumni or friends residing in the Middle East and Europe. As a result, every $1 received from the class of 2003 actually brings in $6.25. The total proceeds so far have exceeded $81,000—increasing the Fingerprints Endowed Scholarship Fund to more than $130,000. The return on the fund’s investment will provide financial assistance to needy and qualified students at AUB.
All class 2003 donors were invited to a reception at Marquand House, hosted by President John Waterbury on June 30, to celebrate the success of the program in its second year. The increase in student participation this year bodes well for the future; the hope is that more and more “fingerprints” will endorse this historical tradition of giving at AUB.


Bliss Society Events in North America

In spring 2003, members of AUB’s premier giving circle, the Daniel Bliss Society, were recognized for their support of the University at receptions in Houston, Washington, DC, and New York City. Members of the society are friends and alumni of the University who have donated $1,000 or more to AUB.
In Houston, 20 society members attended a reception at the Sheraton Suites Hotel on May 10, which featured a special update on AUB from the New York office Director of Development Nimr Ibrahim and Associate Director of Development - Major Gifts Rima Zaitoon.
In Washington, DC, AUB Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Nuhad Daghir greeted the gathering of approximately 50 Bliss Society members at the Park Hyatt Washington Hotel on May 21, where he gave a presentation on the latest developments at AUB and on the University’s Campus Master Plan. Among the attendees were the former president of the DC Chapter, Hikmat Nasr, who introduced Dagher and the chapter’s new president, Michael Maalouf.
In New York City, on June 20, Bliss Society members enjoyed meeting with AUB President John Waterbury at the River Club. President Waterbury thanked the members for their past and current support and urged them to visit the campus to see the fruit of their contributions. The society’s chairperson, David Dodge, who was on hand to meet the members, warmly praised the leadership of President Waterbury and acknowledged his great vision for the University. Among those attending the reception was Alice Studebaker, daughter of the late Huntington Bliss, who was honorary chairperson of the Daniel Bliss Society.


Marriage of AUB President John Waterbury


John Waterbury and Sarah Porter Thayer wed on Saturday, July 12 in Cambridge, Massachusets in the presence of close family. Dr. and Mrs. Waterbury will reside on the AUB campus at Marquand House and in Princeton, New Jersey.