Beirut-based Architectural Firm Wins Design Competition for Engineering Complex at AUB  
Trustee Philip Khoury Named MIT Associate Provost  
AUB and UAE Center Sign Agreement to Offer EMBA Program to Emirate Institutions  
Fourth AUB Faculty Seminar on Teaching and Learning with Technology  
New Faculty: Hussein Shahidi  
New Faculty: Kirsten Scheid  
New Faculty: Tima al Jamil  
Office of Grants and Contracts Celebrates World Intellectual Property Day  
Staff Profile: Ghaleb Halimi  
Fifth Annual FEA Student Conference Held  
Engineering Alumni Recognized for Outstanding Achievements  
Studying Biodiversity in Lebanon and the Region at AUB  
Construction Update  
Renovated AUB Archaeological Museum Inaugurated  
Renovated Pediatrics Clinic Opened  
Women's Rights Club Holds Conference on Gender and Sexuality  
Tenth Annual AUB Job Fair Largest Since Its Inception  
Letters from a New Campus by Daniel Bliss  
Winners of the Coca-Cola 'Make Every Word Count' Essay Competition Announced  
AUBMC Research Group Awarded NIH Grant  
Science Students Reveal Bonds Between Chemistry and Art  
Understanding the Political Economy of Islamic Movements  
Extreme Makeover: AUB Graduate Transforms Gulf Television  
Science, Math, and Technology Fair Promotes Environmental Thinking  
School Fair 2006: Prospective AUB Students Visit Campus  
Situation of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon  
Remembering the Writer, Khalil Takieddine  
Promotions 2005-2006  
Piano Recital by Arnimée Choukassizian  
Lecture on Space Exploration by World Expert  
Teleconferencing Brings Students Together Across Continents  
"Something Is Happening": Fairuz and Ziad Al Rahbani  
Cultural Genocide and Assyrian Cultural Survival  
Lecture on the History and Origins of American Islamicism  
Business School and Arts and Sciences Team Wins Soccer Championship Match by Narrow Margin  
  Red Cross Club Celebrates its 26th Anniversary at AUB
 
  History of the American University of Beirut: A New CASAR Course
 
  First Stereo-photography Exhibit at AUB  
  Photo Exhibition by President John Waterbury  
  The Cats of Renée Deek: End-of-Year Theater Workshop Performance  
  Film on Euthanasia-A True Story  
  Part Two of the CVSP Forum  
  Out of Place: Memories of Edward Said  
  Mozart and Schumann Celebrated at Assembly Hall  
  Austrian Chamber Music Duo Performs at AUB  
  Mathematician Alain Connes Visits AUB  
  Rima Khcheich Concert Plays to Sold-out Crowds at Assembly Hall
 
  Women's Auxiliary  
  33rd Annual Folk Dance Festival Hosts 20 Performing Schools  
June 2006 Vol. 7 No. 8


History of the American University of Beirut: A New CASAR Course

With 140 years of "advancing knowledge" and "transforming lives" to its credit, the timing of a course on the history of AUB was most propitious. Offered by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saoud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), the first-time course was taught by Betty Anderson over an intensive five-week period during the past spring term. Author of Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State, Anderson was at AUB on sabbatical leave from Boston University, where she is an assistant professor of Middle Eastern history.

While doing research on political parties in Jordan, Anderson was impressed with the extent to which AUB was praised by Jordanian graduates, who spoke fondly of the life-changing role of their alma mater. Increasingly, she became attracted to and curious about AUB, which she visited several times, and in the end she canceled an original plan to write a comparative study on the regional roles of AUB, Cairo University, and Damascus University in favor of studying AUB's background and history, a topic on which she found a staggering amount of scholarship and information. She is currently working on a book based on her research, entitled The American University of Beirut (AUB): The Narrative and the Counter-Narrative.

The course examined the behind-the-scenes stories of the history of the University. Everyone, according to Anderson, knows the general factual background of the college, how and by whom it was founded and how it developed in progressives stages. But not much has been written about the motivations of the main actors or the historical context in which they occurred. Hence, she structured the course in a way that would provide an in-depth critical examination of the actions of AUB's founding fathers and their American successors, showing how AUB did not emerge in a cultural vacuum but reflected political, religious, and social changes taking place both in the United States and in the Middle East.

The readings of the course probed topics like missionary goals, the foundations of liberal education, issues of coeducation, and changing US government policies. They charted the transformation of AUB from a religion-based Syrian Protestant College (SPC) to a science and research-oriented university, analyzing the impact of Arab political and social events from decade to decade, and bringing to life the reasons why student activism on campus acquired its important role. The readings also included articles that connect the University to relevant American historical and religious events. Anderson explained that texts analyzing Middle Eastern events per se were not included, in order to keep the reading load and, by extension, the class discussions, at a workable level. The time period studied was from the establishment of the SPC in 1866 to the beginning of the Lebanese civil war in 1975, with special emphasis on the presidencies of founding father Daniel Bliss, and his son Howard Bliss, and Bayard Dodge.

Eight students were officially enrolled in the course, with almost fourteen auditors in attendance. The students said the course was highly informative and interesting and provided a forum for discussing otherwise "intimidating topics about AUB and the administration." One student even suggested that the course be turned into a university requirement, because it would acquaint new students with the history of AUB's progress toward becoming "the most important university in the Middle East."

Anderson herself said she learned much from the students, because they offered "a fresh perspective on Arab-American relationships, which are quite tense for the moment." CASAR's director, Patrick McGreevy, agreed on that point, adding that while the timing of the course was serendipitous with regard to the ongoing political turmoil in Lebanon and the region, its content "inevitably feeds into the discussion of recent political events" in light of Arab-American relationships as a locus for "cultural interaction and exchange." Anderson, who has returned to Boston University, expressed her satisfaction with the course outcome, saying she hoped to give the course again in the future, possibly as a summer class.