Inside the Gate
  Building Updates; AUB Collections; An Exercise in Disaster
Beirut: A World of Art
Special Insert–2009 Calendar Living the Liberal Arts
Rapid Results, Lasting Impact
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
From the President
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
Beirut: A World of Art - More From the Artists
Connections: I Have Lived More Abundantly
Last Glance: Revisiting Ancient Astronomy

Featured videos: Biodiversity and Art - IBSAR Youth Project

The College Hall Mini Gallery
More on Slow Food

Fall 2008 Vol. VII, No. 1

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

University News

Building Updates
The new Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) building, located on lower campus along the Corniche, is scheduled to open its doors in early 2009. The building structure is complete and all masonry work and plastering, steel structure erection, and steel doors and frames have been assembled. The technical and electrical installations remain.

The new Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs will replace the Gulbekian Infirmary building, which has been demolished. The new facility is expected to be complete by 2011.

The Rafic Hariri School of Nursing will move into its new building next to the Medical Center in the fall of 2008. The building includes training and conference rooms, offices and classrooms, simulation and computer labs, and a graduate research center and library.

Alif...Baa...CAMES Summer Arabic Program Welcomed a Record Number of Students
Sixty-three students from more than 15 countries completed the intensive Arabic course that the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) offered this past summer—a record number of enrolments despite recent turmoil in the country. The six and a half week intensive summer Arabic program offers courses at six different levels and focuses on modern standard Arabic. Students who successfully complete the program receive nine credit hours.

From the Faculties


Bad, Bad Air
Led by chemistry Professor Najat Saliba, AUB’s Atmospheric Chemistry Group conducted an environmental study that proved that pollution levels in Lebanese cities exceed acceptable standards. Their research is part of a larger initiative by a Beirut-based environmental NGO, Association for Forests, Development, and Conservation (AFDC). Drawing on the expertise of more than 120 students from 10 Lebanese universities, AFDC has developed the “Youth Declaration on Environmental Policies,” which focuses on air pollution, waste, water and sewage, and land management. Representatives from 10 universities met at AUB on July 15 to discuss the results of the first phase of the research, which involved collecting air pollution data during a three month period in Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, and Chtaura. Based on their data, students created an air pollution map that they plan to use to raise awareness in their communities and to lobby decision makers, including the Parliamentary Committee for the Environment. For

Rami Diab, who earned his BS in environmental health in 2008, the bad news regarding the severity of air pollution in Lebanon comes with a silver lining. “I am very hopeful about the future—if we [students] manage to raise awareness within our community, then the community will naturally place pressure on policy makers to make changes,” said Diab.

Power and the State
“Advanced Arab movements reached power neither by election nor by steadfastness, rather by pursuing different methods of terrorization. They did not eradicate violence and oppression that ruled over our history, rather they used them to reach power which, once attained, ran through the tribe and family,” said Syrian poet and thinker Adonis during a talk at AUB in late August. Issues of culture, resistance, and the relation between the state and Islam dominated discussions during the two-day international conference organized by AUB’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, “Power, Governmentality, Resistance, and State of Exception in the Arab World.”

Held in collaboration with the Association of Arab Sociology Center for Arab Unity Studies and the Heinrich B?ll Foundation, the conference analyzed the different modes of governance in the Arab World as well as resistance to these modes. AUB President Peter Dorman inaugurated the conference, which attracted participants from academic and research institutions in Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East.


Burning Rubber with Solar Power
AUB assistant professor of mechanical engineering Daniel Asmar and his team of engineering students Elie Maalouf, Amin Kanafani, Ahmed Hammoud, and Rawad el-Jurdi built the first solar-powered vehicle in the Arab region. The vehicle, which they named Apollo’s Chariot, is a steel-and-fiberglass one-seater measuring five and a half meters in length and two meters in width. It weighs 700 kilograms and cost about $25,000 to build—money that they raised from several local and foreign sponsors as well as the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Students hope to hit the highways of greater Beirut in Apollo’s Chariot this fall to promote solar power.

Civil Engineering Camp Heads to South Lebanon
In late August, 60 AUB students from across the University got hands-on experience in civil engineering while giving back to village communities in the Sour, Bint-Jbeil, and Nabatiyye regions by volunteering and participating in social and cultural activities.

“Students are applying on the ground what they have been learning in the classroom,” said Khaled Joujou, a lab manager in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a camp supervisor. The camp has been so successful that villagers signed up for activities in larger numbers than expected. “We were expecting 15 students to sign up for a computer skills training workshop in one of the villages, but 120 showed up,” said Joujou.

In addition to the engineering services, AUB students also volunteered in social and environmental activities—conducting clean-up campaigns, planting trees, and challenging village kids to games of volleyball and football.

“The feedback from both students and the communities has been extremely positive,” said Professor Mounir Mabsout, program coordinator and director of AUB’s Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, one of the program sponsors. Also taking part in the activities were two NGOs—Beit bil Jnoub and UN-Habitat—in addition to several municipalities from participating villages.


Sweet Corn Day
FAFS, in cooperation with its alumni chapter, held its annual Sweet Corn Day at the Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC) on August 24 to celebrate this year’s harvest. AUB President Peter Dorman and his family attended the event, which was partially sponsored by Tanmia and The Diet Center. Throughout the day, attendees could buy AREC poultry and creamery products, Healthy Basket organic produce, Unifert vegetables, honey, and AREC ice cream. “The day provided a place where the members of the AUB community connected, where children could play safely, and where eco-tourism was encouraged,” said Laila Houri, financial officer in the Dean’s Office and one of the organizers of the event. AREC introduced sweet corn—a soft, and yes, sweet variety of regular corn—to Lebanon in 1955.


The AUB Medical Center recently celebrated three significant dedications. Located on the sixth floor of the Medical Center, the recently renovated Hassan and Leila Idriss Pediatric Library was named in honor of the late Dr. Hassan Idriss, who is remembered as one of the fathers of pediatric medicine at AUB, in Lebanon, and in the region.

The Dr. Joseph J. McDonald and Dr. John L. Wilson Surgical Library was dedicated to two doctors with long and distinguished histories at AUB who served as department chairs and deans of the Faculty of Medicine. “McDonald established the residency program and Wilson supervised the first batch of surgeons at the department,” said Dr. Ismail Khalil, acting chair of the Department of Surgery. The naming of the library was made possible by a generous gift from the AUB Alumni Surgical Society of North America.

The Fuad and Malak Dagher Vascular Clinic was named by the Dagher children, Joe, Peter, and William, as a surprise 50th wedding anniversary gift for their parents.

Student News

Beirut-Type Writer
Young poets gather the first Wednesday of every month at Café Younes, off Hamra Street, to share and recite their poetry—a tradition that was started four years ago and revived this year by Michael Dennison, a professor of creative writing at AUB. The Beirut-Type Writer open mike series is attracting a large audience primarily—but not exclusively—from AUB. Dennison says that the movement is gaining momentum and that Beirut’s English poetry community is growing each year. To learn more, contact Michael Dennison at

Scholarship News

Citibank N.A. Lebanon recently pledged $50,000 to AUB’s Financial Aid Program to support undergraduate students at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. This gift is in addition to the $250,000 that the Citibank Foundation has contributed to AUB’s Scholarship Program since 2000. In September, PepsiCo International made a $40,000 donation to AUB that will benefit students with special needs, student athletes, and the University’s general Financial Aid Program.

Faculty News

OSB Professor Receives Award as Best Young Arab Researcher
The Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (The Arab Bank) has recognized OSB associate professor of finance Salim Chahine as Best Young Arab Researcher in Economics, Banking, Financial and Management Sciences for outstanding research output over the period 2005-07. Chahine, whose research focuses on corporate finance, financial markets, and corporate governance, was selected from among 108 nominees for the award.

Taking Tobacco to Task
Dr. Ghazi Zaatari, chair of AUB’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, was recently appointed chair of the World Health Organization (WHO) Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation that includes experts on product regulation, smoking cessation programs, and health policymaking.

Current Research

Managing Precious Water Resources During Climate Change
Lilian Malaeb, who is working under the supervision of Professor Hamed Assaf, is enrolled in AUB’s PhD program in civil engineering.

Although the impact of climate change can be felt in many ways, its effect on water resources is particularly dramatic. General circulation models (GCMs) used to model global climate project that CO2 concentrations in the MENA region will double between now and 2050, leading to a 5 to 10 percent decrease in annual precipitation and a 1.5 to 2.0 degree centigrade increase in annual temperatures. Rising temperatures affect the movement and the quality of water on, above, and below the earth’s surface and determine how much water is available—and how much water we need.

Working under the supervision of Professor Hamed Assaf, Lilian Malaeb is developing a water resources planning model based on the very latest WEAP (water evaluation and planning) modeling environment. The model could be used to assess the potential impact of climate change on water resources and to compare the effectiveness of different adaptation measures. Malaeb explains that she will “project a complete water balance based on various scenarios of demographic, economic, and hydrometeorological conditions that will integrate quantity, quality, cost, and demand.”

The model that Malaeb is developing could be an important tool in efforts to optimize agricultural, urban, and ecological water use for Lebanon and the entire region. As she explains, “planners contemplating the development of capital-intensive water projects such as dams, water conveyors, water desalination plants, and urban water networks, need to have a clear vision of how adaptation measures will unfold in the future.” Although the impact of climate on water resources is expected to be relatively minimal in the Gulf region because it has very limited natural water resources and already relies mostly on desalination, climate change is expected to increase both the demand for water and the pressure on the shrinking semi-arid areas. It has already led to international pressure on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to reduce their oil production because of the enormous amount of water that this activity requires.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers two PhD programs in civil engineering and in environmental and water resources engineering. Department Chair Professor Isam Kaysi says that Malaeb’s research is exactly the type of work that he and his colleagues wish to encourage. “We want our PhD students to address issues and provide solutions in areas that directly contribute to societal progress and development such as civil infrastructure, mobility, environmental challenges, and, of course, water supply and quality,” he says.


AUB Collections
In addition to our elegantly renovated Archaeology Museum, AUB boasts a number of rare collections including the Natural History Museum and the Post Herbarium (scientifically priceless collections of specimens of the animals and plants of Lebanon and the region), Geology Museum (with a mineralogy collection, a rock collection, and a paleontology collection), and Art Collection (found around campus and in the campus archives). Contact to learn more.

People Places
Students from the Departments of Architecture and Design and of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management organized an exhibit entitled “People Places” in late October highlighting ways to enhance the neighborhood surrounding AUB. Sponsored by the two departments, the AUB Neighborhood Initiative, and the Office of Student Affairs, the exhibit included projects from seven design studio courses as well as three final year projects. The proposals for the neighborhood varied considerably from ways to make the AUB perimeter wall on Bliss Street less intimidating to offering a creative secondary use for parking lots in Hamra by transforming them into spaces for evening cultural festivities and concerts. One student also contributed a competition-winning design for the new ASSABIL municipal public library to be built in Sanayeh Park in Beirut.

Focus on … AUBMC

An Exercise in Disaster
For the second time this year, AUBMC provided vital and cutting edge emergency medical training for Iraqi health professionals. Participants report that the intensive and demanding course has enormously enhanced their skills.

Araz Wahab Wali is a gentle giant of a man, tall, imposing, and at the same time, calm and self- possessed. He betrays nothing of the years of stress and trauma he has gone through as head of emergency nursing at Bakuba General Hospital in Diyala Province, a 40 minute drive from Baghdad. Wali knows exactly how long that journey takes because he knows it means the difference between life and death for the hundreds of patients he dispatches to Baghdad for treatment every week.

Along with 29 other nurses from all over Iraq, Wali took a rare break from the relentless pressure of work in Bakuba to learn some vital new skills at AUBMC. This is the second group of 30 nurses to participate in the Emergency Health Rehabilitation Project funded by the World Bank’s International Development Association in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Health. Sponsored by AUB’s Office of Regional External Programs, the AUBMC training focused on four modules in emergency medical services: Basic Trauma Life Support, Advanced Care Trauma for Nurses, Training of Trainers, and Major Incident Medical Management Support.

Linda Muhsin, head of Emergency Surgical Nursing at the Rizgali Teaching Hospital in Irbil, described some of what she learned, particularly in the area of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), as a revelation. “CPR has been taught wrongly in Irbil until now and it is important to know how to practice it properly,” Muhsin explains. “When I go back, I will be able to teach others.” Linda has 15 nurses under her charge so the expertise she has gained in Lebanon will be disseminated quickly.

The third module,Training of Trainers, is a priority for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which has made building the capacity of Iraqi nurses and paramedics its primary goal. Yasmine Ameen, who is coordinating the program for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, will choose five from among the group to teach health professionals throughout Iraq. Ameen says “AUB has added a lot to the trainees’ expertise and attitudes regarding work context and methodology.”

Naisrat Fedeel Abbas, supervisor of the emergency room at Yarmuk Hospital, works in the eye of the storm in Baghdad. He is hoping he will be selected as a member of the teaching team. For Abbas, whose own ambitions to attend medical school were thwarted by war and violence in Iraq, attending the course has been a privilege and a pleasure. Abbas thinks the knowledge he has gained in Lebanon will make a significant difference to his ability to save lives.

Abbas’s daily routine involves coping in a war zone: “We were taught how to deal with up to 10 casualties at a time, but we sometimes get more than 100 in one go. Nobody asks for this kind of situation; it is imposed on you and when it is imposed, you just have to deal with it. On the other hand I am glad to be able to help people and also to have the opportunity to attend courses like this to learn new things that will be useful.”

Like Abbas, most of Araz Wahab Wali’s cases are war-related injuries. He regularly makes life and death decisions: who should be evacuated to the airport at the American base; who should be sent to Baghdad; and who can be treated in Bakuba. He, too, has found the CPR component of the AUBMC training particularly important. “It is very different from how it is done in Iraq. I have seen people lose their lives because of the way it is done there.” Training others in the new methodology is high on Wali’s list of priorities when he gets back to Bakuba.

Fighting in Iraq and Lebanon conspired repeatedly to delay the arrival of this second group of Iraqis who had begun to wonder if they would ever make it. Most had been briefed by their colleagues from the first group about what to expect, especially during the ‘grand finale’ of the course—a convincing recreation of a “disaster” complete with fires, mock explosions, fake car crashes—each simulating a range of traumatic “injuries” requiring all the emergency skills the group had learned over the past two weeks.

When the first such drill was organized under the skilled guidance of AUBMC’s Dr. Bassam Saab in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross and the Youth Association for Social Awareness (YASA), it was so convincing and so effective that it became an international news story. So it was again on Sunday, July 20 with smoke billowing, cars careening, and ambulances screaming through the Beirut streets as the “injured” were assessed, treated, loaded into ambulances, and rushed to AUBMC for further treatment. Upon successful completion of the training program, participants received certificates of completion from AUB’s Continuing Education Center.

1,501 international students from 32 countries enrolled at AUB this fall. The Office of International Student Services (ISS) and the Office of Student Affairs kicked off the new year with an orientation program that focused on learning about AUB, intercultural awareness, and well-being. “ISOP is the main opportunity for international students to feel at home. This is their main support group and their first impression of AUB, and we strive to make it a good one,” said ISS coordinator Rania Murr.

United States of America 488 Sweden 8 Czech Republic 2 Liberia 1
Jordan 168 Iran 7 Italy 2 Mauritius 1
Palestine 130 Russia 7 Netherlands 2 Morocco 1
Canada 117 Bahrain 6 Poland 2 Norway 1
Syria 103 Nigeria 6 Slovakia 2 Oman 1
Saudi Arabia 100 Panama 5 Switzerland 2 Pakistan 1
United Kingdom 51 Philippines 5 Ukraine 2 Romania 1
France 45 Yemen 5 Argentina 1 Senegal 1
Australia 36 Mexico 4 Armenia 1 Sierra Leone 1
Venezuela 27 Spain 4 Bosnia 1 South Africa 1
Germany 24 Belgium 3 Bulgaria 1 Swaziland 1
Brazil 18 Ghana 3 Costa Rica 1 Tunisia 1
Egypt 17 Ireland 3 Ecuador 1 Turkey 1
Iraq 14 Qatar 3 Gabon 1 Yugoslavia 1
Kuwait 14 South Korea 3 Guinea 1    
Greece 11 Sudan 3 Hungary 1    
Columbia 10 United Arab Emirates 3 India 1    
Denmark 9 Cyprus 2 Japan 1 TOTAL 1501


Imaging of Parasitic Diseases
(Springer, 2008) Edited by M. C. Haddad, M. E. Abd El Baji, and J. C. Tamraz
This concise, informative text with a wealth of radiological images is a useful guide for radiologists and tropical medicine physicians. The book, including chapters by authors from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Columbia, Egypt, and the United States on the hepatobiliary tract, pancreas and spleen, genitourinary system, and the musculoskeletal system, was described in the Journal of the American Medical Association as an “excellent single-volume text that fills a major need by collecting and compiling radiological imaging of the major parasitic diseases in one place” and as “an interesting read.”

Dr. Haddad, of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, is principal editor of the book and author of three chapters; Dr. Ghassan Al Awar, Department of Internal Medicine and Dr. Roula Hourani, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, also contributed to several chapters.

Poultry Production in Hot Climates
(CAB International, 2008) by Nuhad Daghir
Dean Emeritus Nuhad Daghir has recently revised his widely praised book, Poultry Production in Hot Climates, which was first published in 1995. During the last two decades, there has been a major expansion of the poultry industry in the warm regions of the world because of the growing appreciation of the importance of eggs and poultry meat as an important source of protein. The new edition includes three new chapters describing how the detrimental effects of heat stress can be reduced through the manipulation of housing, breeding, nutrition, and management, and includes new contributions on controlled-environment housing, waterfowl, and breeding fast growing broilers for hot climates. The book can be ordered on-line at

Nuhad Daghir is dean emeritus of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.

Electric Circuits and Signals
(CRC Press, 2008) by Nassir Sabah
Nassir Sabah’s new textbook on the fundamentals of electric circuit theory has been widely praised for its unconventional approach encouraging students to use critical thinking and creative problem solving skills to tackle problems related to electric circuits from various angles. Sabah explains that a thorough understanding of the fundamentals and a mastery of creative problem solving skills “are hallmarks of quality engineering education and are critically important in educating engineering professionals and preparing them for lifelong learning.” Computer aids are extensively used throughout the book that includes a companion CD-ROM with additional solved examples and a wealth of supplemental materials on a range of topics. The textbook has been adopted by AUB’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) for its two first-year courses on electric circuits.

Nassir Sabah is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Daniel Bliss Society

The Daniel Bliss Society was named for the extraordinary man who established the Syrian Protestant College (now AUB) in 1866 and served as its first president from 1866 to1902. In 1986, then Chairman of the Board of Trustees David S. Dodge called on the AUB community to rekindle the vision, generosity, and commitment of Daniel Bliss by making annual gifts of at least $1,000 to become members of the Daniel Bliss Society.

“AUB’s light must not be diminished,” —Daniel Bliss

More than 20 years later, the Daniel Bliss Society (DBS) is launching a reinvigorated initiative to invite AUB alumni, trustees, parents, and friends to become members of the University’s leading donor group, the Daniel Bliss Society. For Philip S. Khoury (’69,’70), vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the DBS Leadership Committee, the DBS “serves AUB’s very core needs and thus helps to ensure the University’s long-term future and excellence.” Longtime DBS member Usama Mikdashi (’63) and Leadership Committee member adds, “AUB’s superior education and motivating environment unlock the value-creating potential of young generations.” Many DBS members echo these sentiments when they talk about the need to invest in future generations, the value of an AUB education, and how the time they spent on campus transformed their lives. Although they may favor “their” faculty or the hospital, they are DBS members because they appreciate the truly unique role AUB has played in Lebanon and the region for more than 140 years—and because they want it to continue to be there “to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond” for many years to come.

Why Supporting DBS Matters
  • Members support the University’s core needs: financial aid and scholarships, hospital funding, research, faculty salaries, laboratories, and equipment.
  • Annual gifts that are renewed year after year provide stability and security.
  • Unrestricted gifts are available to meet AUB’s most urgent fiscal needs.
For more information on the Daniel Bliss Society and membership benefits, please contact
Ghandi Fala (; 011 961 35 25 40 ) Beirut, Lebanon
Sujatha Vempaty (; 212-583-7672) New York, NY

DBS Leadership Committee Members

Rafiq Ghazzaoui (’73)
Randa El Sayyed Haffar (’90)
Abdul Salam Haykal (’01)
Bana Hilal (’72)
Alya Katami (’68)
Philip Khoury (’69, ’70), Chair
Usama Mikdashi (’63)