SPAN visitors meet with President Waterbury, extreme right;
Director of Information and Public Relations Ibrahim Khoury,
second from left, and Samir Kadi, second from right
of ten Americans (all originally from Minnesota) visited Lebanon
from June 22 until June 29, 2003 for the 40th reunion of their summer
1963 Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN).
of SPAN Lebanon 1963 included James Warner Bjorkman, Patricia Anderson
(deceased), Elizabeth Bruzek, Vernon Jensen, Kirsten Lind Ingerson,
Susan Lundberg Johnson, David Minge, Gordon Shumaker, Thomas Thibodeau,
and Catherine Elaine Watson.
three visiting members representing the original group in Beirut
were Catherine Watson, senior Travel Editor for the Minneapolis
Star Tribune; Judge David Minge, Minnesota Court of Appeals and
congressman from Minnesota during 1992-2000 (with his wife, Karen
Minge); and Dr James Bjorkman, professor of public policy and administration
at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, as well as professor
of public administration and development at Leiden University (Netherlands).
a meeting on June 26, 2003, the visitors presented AUB President
John Waterbury with a volume entitled SPAN Lebanon 1963: Lighting
Candles, Not Cursing Darkness, comprised of nine theses written
by the SPAN students forty years ago on the research projects they
undertook during the summer of 1963. The visitors regard the occasion
as an opportunity to honor and commemorate Professor Yahya Armajani,
SPAN adviser and professor at Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota)
to whom the entire volume is dedicated. A copy of the work will
be donated to the AUB library.
his introduction to the volume Professor Bjorkman states that "SPAN
began in 1948 as a consortium between the University of Minnesota
and about a dozen colleges that cultivated international understanding
through practical academic research. Each year four (sometimes three)
countries were selected as destinations. It was--and is, because
SPAN continues today--a self-financed program through voluntary
donations by businesses in the Upper Midwest as well as by contributions
from the participants themselves (known as SPANners). The program
was oriented toward more advanced students, so applicants were usually
students in their junior (third) year of undergraduate studies."
activities scheduled for the visitors during their stay included
visits to ESCWA and meetings with AUB faculty and staff in their
respective areas of interest: Professors Randa Antoun, Samir Khalaf,
Helga Seeden, Nizar Hamzeh, Yahya Sadowski. They also met with Souheir
Mabsout, assistant director, Facilities Planning and Design Unit;
Robert Fayad, Khalad El Moulla; and Suzy Hakimian at the Archaeological
Museum, Angus Gavin at Solidere, Lady Cochrane at Sursock Palace
and several government officials.
June 25, 2003, they attended a presentation by President Waterbury
on AUB today and an alumni dinner under his patronage at Marquand
House. Since 1963, when SPANners opted to link their reunion with
AUB's commencement and reunion activities, they attended the commencement
events on Saturday, June 28, 2003, including the presentations of
honorary degrees in the Assembly Hall. Samir Kadi, associate director
of development/director of Alumni Affairs; Ibrahim Khoury, director
of Information and Public Relations; and Elizabeth Vermey, consultant
for accreditation and institutional support all participated in
the coordination of the visit to Beirut.
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