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Escape from Lebanon

Fall 2006 Vol. V, No. 1

Meeting the Challenge: Support for the American University of Beirut’s Medical Emergency Fund

“As the historically leading American university in the Arab world, AUB has a critical role to play in the rebuilding of Lebanon. The AUB hospital played a role no other hospital could in emergency medical relief. Beyond emergency relief, AUB leads the country in training Lebanon’s future leaders – indeed, the future leaders of the Arab region. No investment is more important than an investment in the youth of the region. I donate to AUB because this constitutes an investment in the future of Lebanon and the future of the Arab world.”

Suad Joseph—AUB Donor, Professor of Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies, Director of Middle East/South Asia Studies, University of California, Davis

In July 2006, the American University of Beirut along with so many other institutions in Lebanon faced the enormous challenge of coping with a devastating war that lasted 34 days. The unexpected hostilities left hundreds of thousands of people injured and displaced while the air, land, and sea blockade resulted in shortages of essential supplies, such as food, fuel, and medicine at both the University and the Medical Center—and throughout Lebanon. AUB established the Medical Emergency Fund and launched an appeal to raise money to help finance its expanded activities to care for the displaced population and those injured in the fighting.

Nadim Cortas, Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh, director of University Health Services, led an multi-disciplinary team of volunteer faculty, students, and staff to secure medical supplies, establish a free evening clinic, create walk-in and mobile clinics, provide daily medical care to 16 refugee shelters, and distribute close to six tons of medical supplies—the equivalent of 823 cartons—to those in need. During the war, more than 900 patients were treated at the Medical Center. In addition, AUB teams provided care for nearly 8,000 people in shelters and neighborhood centers.

AUB is continuing to provide medical care and outreach to displaced families that have remained in Beirut and is supporting other medical institutions that don’t have the resources they need to care for an increased number of patients. President John Waterbury has appointed a Taskforce on Reconstruction to identify key areas in which support from the Medical Emergency Fund can be best utilized to provide short and long-term healthcare solutions to people in Beirut and Lebanon. We will update you on these activities going forward.

It came as no surprise to us that the AUB community around the world rose to the challenge and has given generously in support of the University’s relief operations. Alumni and friends responded in many ways: by making a gift to the Medical Emergency Fund, by organizing fundraisers, by volunteering their time on campus, and by sending much-needed medical supplies to the hospital. Many alumni explained that they were prompted to contribute because of their appreciation for the hospital—for the fact that it has always been there providing care for the people of Lebanon whenever this care is needed. It was there throughout the Lebanese Civil War and again this past summer.

More than $1.1 million was contributed to the Medical Emergency Fund in the first month. As of October 27 AUB has raised $1,262,072 from 1,534 donors. More than half of these donors are first-time supporters of AUB. AUB is deeply grateful for the generosity, loyalty, and support of everyone who contributed to the AUB Medical Emergency Fund. Some of you made particularly generous donations such as the Elmer and Mamdouha Bobst Foundation and the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation which each contributed $100,000. The Sarah and William Hambrecht Foundation, the Lawrence C. Tucker and Mary Ann Cody Tucker Foundation, and an anonymous donor each made gifts of $50,000. The Iara Lee and George Gund III Foundation supported AUB’s efforts with a gift of $30,000.”

AUB is committed to playing an active role in efforts to rebuild Lebanon by providing for the education and medical care of its people. We are honored to help the people of Lebanon in their moment of crisis. With the support of our alumni and friends—of people like you—we are confident that we will be able to do so.

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