Celebrating Our 140th Anniversary
  The Italian Attack on Beirut. Part 4/4
Najla Zurayk ’37, A Woman for All Ages
In War and Peace
From the President
Summer, Interrupted
Focusing on Recovery
Creating “Laughter Under the Bombs”
46 Years of Education Through War & Peace
Meeting the Challenge
Perspectives on the war
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
AUB News
Recently Published
Alumni Activities
University Calender
Class Notes
In Memoriam
Alumni Profile
Campaign Update
AUB Reflections
Maingate Connections
AUB news online
Feature articles
  AUB’s Energy Research Group
Engineering Sustainable Development
e-Europe Ahead
From the archives
Photos from Nepal
Graduation 2006
Honorary degree ceremony 2006
Reunion 2006
Escape from Lebanon

Fall 2006 Vol. V, No. 1

Class Notes

Fuad Khabbaz (BA ’45) writes that he moved in April to a new home in Hercules, California where he is living with his son Naji (1978-80 Biology/Chemistry) and his family, although he does occasionally return to Lebanon. His daughter, Layla (1973-75 Nursing), lives with her family in Sacramento, and his other daughter, Rima (BS ’75, MD ’79), lives in Atlanta with her husband Dr. Muin Khoury. His daughter Najwa (BA ’84) and her family live in Beirut.

Nora LaBelle Cumpston (ARAMCO summer school ’53) has written to tell us that she attended summer school at AUB in 1953. Vicki Tabsch was a classmate. Nora taught English and worked for ARAMCO and spent 28 years teaching in Saudi Arabia. She married a fellow employee and they have three sons, who are all now married, and five grandchildren.

Omar Adra (BA ’55), who was the editor of Outlook from 1954-55, is living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he became a national in ’75. He has four children, a boy and three girls, and nine grandchildren.

Stélio Scamanga (BA ’60) held a personal exhibit entitled “La Montagne et le Ciel Voisins” May 12-June 2 at the Aida Cherfan Fine Art Gallery in downtown Beirut. The paintings on display reflect the long spiritual interplay between the symbolism and nostalgia triggered by the mountains and the sky of Lebanon. Born to a Greek family in in Damascus, Scamanga moved to Lebanon in 1952. In addition to practicing architecture, he has held around 20 personal exhibitions in Lebanon, Europe, and the United States, and participated in more than 17 exhibits around the world. One of his winning designs, a sculpture, is at the rond-point in Mategnin, Prévessin, France where he currently lives and works.

Joan MacCracken Holmberg (year abroad ’65-’66)
After 23 years at a busy pediatric endocrinology practice in Bangor, Maine, Holmberg began traveling to Nicaragua with a public health group, Partners in Health of Maine. She has recently written and published a bilingual children’s picture book entitled Trisba & Sula—A Miskitu Folktale from Nicaragua/Una leyenda de los Miskitos de Nicaragua that is an ecologically sensitive folktale about hunting (see MainGate Spring 2006, Recently Published). She may be contacted at joanmacc[at]aol.com.

Joseph Akhras (BE ’74) writes: “I just got back from Sri Lanka on a humanitarian visit. They need all the help they can get. The tsunami caused 21,000 casualties, and hundreds of thousands of people are without a home, especially the children, the elderly, and the handicapped. A beautiful country on the brink of war.” Joseph may be contacted at akhras[at]eim.ae

Ranwa Haddad (BS ’75) was appointed chief engineer for the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) program at the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, California. Haddad, who emigrated to the United States in 1977 to pursue graduate studies at UCLA, has been living in LA ever since. She is married to Ed Griffin and has a daughter Maryam (22) and a son Philip (19). She may be contacted at 30930 Rue Valois Rancho, Palos Verdes, California 90275 or by e-mail at ranwa.haddad[at]cox.net.

Mohammed Abu Ayshi (BS ’83)
has been granted a patent by the US government for a character recognition system used for automated mail processing, a project he worked on at Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMC). At LMC, he worked on research and development for the US and UK mail processing systems. He currently lives in Endicott, New York, with his wife Katherine, and two daughters, Hannah and Deena.

Riad Homsi (BS ’86)
is the chairman of Performance Improvement Quality at the Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women in Memphis, Tennessee. He was awarded the Physician Quality Award for 2005 by his colleagues and staff. He may be contacted at 6025 Walnut Grove, Suite 400, Memphis TN 38120.

Nabil Maamari (BS ’87, MPH ’05) writes “I recently relocated to Dubai, where I am starting a new job at CosmeSurge Anti-Aging Centers as a Quality Control Manager. Before CosmeSurge, I worked at Hazmieh International Medical Center as a hospitalist for six years. The CosmeSurge Center has three departments: Plastic Surgery, Dermatology, and a beauty institute. I earned my medical doctor diploma from St Joseph University in 1991. It would be a great pleasure to get in touch with AUB alumni. My e-mail is nabil.maamari[at]cosmesurge.com."

Mazen A. R. Saghir (BE ’89) I am happy to announce my marriage to Ghina Mumtaz. Ghina and I got married here in Beirut on April 22, 2006. We are both AUB alumni; I have a BE in computer and communications engineering (1989), and Ghina has a BS in biology (2001) and MS in epidemiology (2003). Currently I am an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at AUB, and Ghina is a research assistant with the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network at the AUB Medical Center.

From: Rami Al Khal (BBA ’80)
Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2006, 2:16 pm
Subject: My Nepal trip... when you are in Nepal, you are on TOP of the world...
My two weeks trekking in Nepal cleansed my body, my soul, as well as my mind... Not only the forests and the rivers, not only the hills and the mountains... Not only walking our way through a snow storm and fog and rain... Not only climbing from 700m to 4,500m altitude... But most of all, the humbleness of the mountain people, their generosity and amiability... You greet everyone and everyone greets you back: Namasté is the word for hello... I must have “Namastéd” a thousand times... enjoy the pictures... Rami

Ahnaf Abbas’ (BS ’90) design for his mathyards.com website made him a finalist in the education category of the Stockholm Challenge Award 2006. Mathyards, which provides an interactive e-learning system for mathematics, was chosen out of 536 other projects worldwide to represent the education category.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious awards for information technology development, the 2006 Stockholm Challenge held its annual international conference in Stockholm, Sweden, to celebrate information technology programs around the world. More than 600 projects were submitted from 53 countries. The challenge honors organizations that are making a global difference by bringing their ideas and successes to this international exhibit. Abbas is living in Sharjah, UAE and can be reached at ahnaf[at]mathyards.com

Ziad Yamak (BE ’91)
writes that he has been working with Zamil Steel since 1997 as a regional sales manager developing the business of pre-engineered steel buildings in eastern Europe and the Balkans. He is currently managing two offices in Athens and Bucharest. His e-mail is ZiadYamak@gmail.com. He can also be reached by phone on his cell in Greece, at 0030.6944.316246 and in Romania at 0040-745-773387.

Zaher Nuwayhid (BS ’92) writes, “I am graduating from the University of Miami School of Medicine with my MD degree as an AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha), which is the highest honor a medical student can get. I am starting my surgical residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital surgical program. I would like to present this humble achievement to His Excellency the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who helped me when I was at AUB. God bless his soul. I live in Miami Florida. My e-mail address is znuwayhid[at]aol.com.”

Bassam Kassab (BE ’93, ME ’95) winner of the Ibrahim Abd El Al prize, received his Strategic Management degree at MIT before he moved to Silicon Valley where he practices hydraulic engineering as a licensed professional engineer. He also writes articles for Barra, a magazine for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) topics printed in Beirut in Arabic. Bassam and other AUB alumni volunteer their time with the San Francisco chapter of Helem (Lebanese Protection for LGBT), for which Bassam recently organized a book reading in San Francisco. Former AUB professor Rabih Alameddine, Amy Tan, Dorothy Allison, and twelve other famous writers read from their work to a large audience that came to support Helem’s programs. During the war in July, Bassam organized efforts in San Francisco to support the refugee relief work efforts Helem conducted under the banner of the Sanayeh Relief Center. He can be reached at bassam[at]alum.MIT.edu.

Rula Haddad Kalifa (BS ’94, MPH ’96) Rula writes that she is still living in Chicago with her husband Mark, and three year old son, Christian. She is the director of the Center for International Patients at the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she has been for six years.

Tarek Saab (BA ’94) writes: “I just wanted to inform you and my old classmates that I have started my own business, an agency called “IMPRESS” for entertainment, modeling, and talent management. It’s a new concept for Lebanon, and with my strong links to international booking agencies, I guess it will be a special agency. It’s mainly for providing entertainers and well-known performers for any type of event. Feel free to contact me for any additional information or check my web site at www.tareksaab.com. My e-mail address is tareksaab[at]hotmail.com."

Sami Oubari (BBA ’95) writes: “I’m currently studying for my master’s degree in administration and management at Concordia University. I graduated last summer with a BBA from AUB and came directly here to continue my studies. I expect to work here a couple of years, then return to work in Lebanon. My e-mail is s_oubari[at]yahoo.com."

Victor Fuad Nasreddine (BS ’96, MS ’98)
has recently relocated from Sarnia, in Canada, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the headquarters of LANXESS Corporation (formerly BAYER Polymers), as a technical leader in the Application and Business Development Division for the NAFTA region. He received his PhD in 2003 in chemistry from McGill University.

Samer Harb (BS ’95, MS ’97) currently works for Diet Center, an international company that operates in Beirut, Lebanon; Riyadh, Jeddah, and Khobar, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; and Doha, Qatar. After joining the Riyadh branch as project manager in 2004, he was promoted in January 2006 to be the Diet Center’s operation manager for the Saudi Arabia Region, which covers its eastern (Khobar and Dammam), western (Jeddah, Mecca, and Madina), and central regions (Riyadh). His e-mail is mrsam66[at]hotmail.com.

Beatrice Maalouf (pursued MA studies at AUB in 1997) writes that she completed her master’s degree in diplomatic studies in 2000 at the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies. In 2004 she started a three-year PhD program in political science and international relations at Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic. She focused her work on GCC-EU relations. She established and is running the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at the University of Public Administrations and International Relations in Prague, Czech Republic. Her e-mail address is b.maaloufova[at]diplomacy.edu.

Elias Nohad El-Chemali (CCE ’98) writes: “Today I work in Zouk-Mosbeh as a deputy general manager at Masterpak s.a.l, an industrial firm and member of Indevco Group, which produces different types of plastic films for packaging and agricultural use. I married Faten Barakat in 1999 and we have three kids: Sarah, Nohad, and Ghadi. I received my MBA from ESA/ESCP-EAP in 2004. My mailing address is Masterpak s.a.l. P.O.Box: 11-2354, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon; my phone number is 961 9 209001."

Tarek El Gergawi (BA ’99) writes: “After I graduated in 1999 (business administration) I worked for Schlumberger Overseas, Ernst & Young. Now I’m an assistant manager for overseas operations and developments with Qatar National Bank in the newly established Department of International Banking. I married Maha El-Taha in January 2002. She graduated from AUB as well—in 2000 in business administration. We have a nice small family, Farah, who is three-and-a-half years old, and Ziad who is nine months. Maha is working as an HR senior coordinator for Dolphin Energy in Qatar. I’d like to stay in touch with the AUB community. You can contact me by phone at 974 59 19 149 or by e-mail at tjerjawi[at]yahoo.com."

Maher R. Dalal (BBA ’99) writes from Doha, Qatar: “I am working for Standard Chartered Bank and was recently promoted to be a manager of internal audit. I got married eight months ago.” His e-mail address is mrd04[at]hotmail.com.

Zena El Khalil (BGD ’99)
held a personal exhibit of collage artwork entitled “I Love You” at Espace SD, Beirut from May 4-27. The exhibit works with images from the Lebanese Civil War. El Khalil, who currently lives in Beirut after having lived in New York, is cofounder of the art organization, Xanadu, which is a “bicontinental” space for promoting young artists.

Jomana Elaridi (BS ’00) writes that she recently graduated with a PhD in chemistry from Monash University in Australia. She says “I’m absolutely ecstatic because one of my thesis examiners is the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner in chemistry, Robert Grubbs and the other examiner is one of the best chemists in Australia. I’m returning to Lebanon soon and look forward to working at AUB (hopefully!)” She may be contacted at jelaridi[at]hotmail.com.

Karam S. Nachar (BA ’03) writes that he has recently moved to the United States to start a PhD at Princeton University, in Princeton, NJ. He can be reached at knachar[at]princeton.edu.

MainGate meets with Elie Moussalli (BS Biology ’69, MS ’72), former Ottawa Alumni Chapter president, and talks about fisheries, Fairouz, bowling on Hamra Street, and the next phase of his relationship with AUB.

Can you tell us something about when, why, and how you got involved with the Ottawa Alumni Chapter?
In February 1998 I heard a radio announcement that the AUB Ottawa Alumni Chapter was presenting a reading of Come with Me from Lebanon: An American Family Odyssey, by Ann Kerr, the widow of former President Malcolm Kerr. I bought Mrs. Kerr’s book and got in touch with the Ottawa Chapter. I really started to get involved when the chapter was preparing for President John Waterbury’s visit to Ottawa in March 2003. My first assignment was as Gala Dinner DJ: I put my entire Fairouz collection to good use! Suddenly I realized that in coordinating the many details of the gala with my fellow alumni, I was recapturing the cherished times of my life as a student at AUB – debating, bantering, and socializing late into the night. I eventually served as chapter secretary and was elected president following Bassam Zarkout’s term.

What chapter activities have you most enjoyed?
We have held a couple of major events that I am quite proud of: the gala dinner in 2003, and a talk last June by alumna and board member Dr. Rima Khalaf-Hunaidi, then the United Nation’s Regional Director of the Bureau for Arab States. I’m also quite fond of our informal gatherings. We have a bowling night with pizza – my prior bowling experience was on Hamra Street where the Cinéma El Hamra used to be. We also have a summer picnic, and an Iftar during Ramadan. We’ve had several distinguished lecturers: Ottawa based Polish diplomat/archaeologist, Slawomir Kowalsky; Mounir Abou Debs, who founded the first modern theater school in Lebanon; and AUB Professor Helen Sader spoke about Byblos and the origin of the alphabet. I really enjoyed publishing the chapter’s quarterly e-newsletter, which I hope will be continued.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests?
During the first year of my master’s program, a professor advised me to apply to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts – a marine mecca. I ended up attending seminars with Wolf Vishniac who was on the staff of the first Viking expedition to Mars, and other great scientists. After a “rite of passage” cross country trip from Boston to La Jolla, I taught biology at International College (IC) in Beirut, then returned to the United States to UC San Diego (UCSD) for graduate work in oceanography. I moved up the coast and up the food chain to the University of British Columbia (UBC) to focus on fisheries in 1980. I’ve been working as a scientist in fisheries since 1985, primarily with international organizations such as the Food Agricultural Organization of the UN, the UN Development Program, and the World Bank.

It was at UBC that I met my wife, Kathleen Day, who is an associate professor of economics at the University of Ottawa. We have an eight year old daughter, Rima Elizabeth Moussalli, who has just entered third grade. My own family connection to AUB is somewhat unique. My paternal grandmother, a survivor of the Armenian genocide, came to Lebanon sometime before 1920 and found employment at AUB in the library. She dusted and filed away books, cleaned floors, and was able to raise her family. As a very young boy I recall meeting her benefactor, Mrs. Edith Laird, who was universally known as the First Lady of the AUB library for her long and productive term of service from 1926 until 1951. I still feel gratitude towards her for helping my grandmother through what must have been a terrible ordeal for a young widow with two small boys.

So, you see, my loyalty to AUB is generational, and I hope someday my daughter will choose to carry on the tradition. Even though my time as president of the Ottawa Chapter has ended, I plan to stay connected to the University by continuing to serve on AANA’s Board of Directors.

Any closing thoughts on AUB and your time as Ottawa Chapter President?
I am enthusiastically supportive of the initiative to consolidate the AUB’s alumni organization into a single world-wide entity. Our current level of information technology makes it possible to facilitate engaging alumni globally, and will promote their much-needed support of the University. We all want AUB to continue to be the premier educational institution in the region, and we all owe what we are, at least in part, to the time we spent on that beautiful campus.

Elie Moussalli may be reached at emoussalli[at]sympatico.ca

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