From the Editors
  AUB News
  Campaign Update
  A Day in the Life of AUBMC
  AUB’s Challenge
  A Greater Understanding
  Welcome to the “New” West Hall
  Remembering the Milk Bar
  Decoding the Variables of Life
  Deconstructing Social Change
  Recently Published
  Alumni Profile
  Alumni Activities
  Class Notes
  AUB reflections
 In memoriam
  Previous Issues

AUB News

Presidential Access for Students

On February 25, President John Waterbury hosted the first of the year’s “Chats with the President,” in which AUB’s students were invited to bring their issues and concerns directly to a forum chaired by the president. Owing to the large student response to the e-mail sent out prior to the meeting requesting issues of concern, President Waterbury addressed only the most important and recurring issues. After making his own preliminary comments, he opened the floor to the vigorous student input that ensued. It was clear that many of the students welcomed the opportunity to voice their opinion directly to the top of the university command chain. The president reminded students that their individual concerns could also be directed to the readily accessible deans, faculty, and administrators, many of whom also attended the forum. The major concerns addressed dealt with registration (the registrar, armed with statistics from this and the past year’s registration records, fielded these queries), the AUB bookshop, and financial aid. The forum was the first in the series of three planned for the year.

Visiting Scholars on Islamic Studies
The Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) continued to edify students, faculty, and visitors alike with the engrossing lectures it offered over the course of the spring term. The Shaykh Zayed Lecture Series in Islamic Studies sponsored three lectures, and other speakers were brought to campus on an individual basis by CAMES.

On February 25, Dr. Hugh Kennedy of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland spoke about the high degree of urbanization in the medieval Islamic empire. As part of his inquiry into the origins of medieval Islamic cities, Dr. Kennedy described how Arab armies, paid in coinage by the caliphate and settled in specific regions, became major markets in themselves and attracted merchants. Those base camps, he explained, spawned trading spheres that took on a semi-permanent nature, and many later evolved into cities.

On March 11, Dr. Marina Tolmacheva of Washington State University delivered a lecture, “Medieval Muslim Women Travelers.” An expert in geographical and travel narratives, Dr. Tolmacheva focused on the neglect of studies dealing with medieval woman travelers in the Muslim world. Her research into medieval Islamic travel manuscripts uncovered many instances of travel by women, although the women themselves were rarely
discussed directly in those texts. The famous Ibn Battuta was known to have traveled with the women of his household, but mentioned an individual woman only once, in a passage he wrote about a slave girl he loved. “Muslim women could travel,” said Dr. Tolmacheva,
“out of necessity if they were poor, and out of choice if they were rich.”

Upcoming speakers include Professor Manuela Marin
of Madrid, speaking on “Women in the History of
al-Andalus”; and Professor Roger Owen of Harvard University, lecturing on “Using Present Day Notions
of Imperialism, Globalization, Internationalism to Understand the Middle East’s Late 19th/Early 20th-Century Past.”

Professor Tarif Khalidi,the holder of the Shaykh Zayid Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies and one of the principal organizers of the lecture series, says that he likes to “deliberately vary the menu” and “invite people who are both scholarly and eloquent.” The crowds of interested students and faculty attending each lecture were a testament to the success of his endeavors.

The Cat’s Meow
An omnipresent but often overlooked peculiarity of the University campus is its feline population. Alternately viewed by the human residents of AUB as an idiosyncratic feature of campus life and a nuisance, the AUB cat population is estimated at around 200.
A desire to meet the needs of the cats and, at the same time, respond to the concerns and complaints about them led a group of AUB students to form the Animal Welfare Club (AWC). According to Aline Kalfayan, a
senior in English and the president of the club, AWC devotes its time to the consideration of population control and health issues with regard to AUB’s furred and feathered residents. It then reports its recommendations to the University administration, which has been supportive in providing assistance. The club also raises money through the sale of handcrafted cards to pay for spaying operations (about half the female cats on campus have been spayed) and feline birth control medication.

As anyone who has walked through the campus at the appointed time knows, hungry hordes of cats gather at several locations around campus at dusk each day to be fed by volunteers. AWC hopes to make the feeding more systematic and to offset somehow the cost to the volunteers, who undertake the task largely at their own expense. English instructor, Rula Baalbaki, who cares for a number of cats near Fisk Hall and has an encyclopedic knowledge of their habits and histories, says “It’s not just a question of being a cat lover—the cats have always been a part of AUB, and we’re interested in keeping the cats and the environment healthy.” She points out that the campus cats have distinct personalities and are given names by students and faculty, from “Sexy Tri-leg,” who is missing a leg and most of a tail and bunny-hops around the Main Gate, to the brawny, snake-hunting “Sukkar,” who is presently the dominant male cat on campus and is apparently quite a “ladies’ man.”

The cats approached by this reporter refused to comment.

Peaceful Rallies for Peace on Campus
Weeks before the war on Iraq became a reality, AUB students were mobilizing themselves for creative opposition activities. On March 3, students performed “The Starter of Wars,” written by student director Sharif Abdelnour as an adaptation of the Aristophanes play, Lysistrata. The play was performed in conjunction with a worldwide theatrical protest based upon the same theme.

Gathering a fortnight before the war, concerned students created the ad hoc Coalition of Students United in Solidarity with the Iraqi People (CSUIP), comprising around 26 AUB student organizations and clubs. CSUIP organized the student contingent of the protests that took place on March 15 in downtown Beirut, in coordination with the worldwide protests held that day.

When the war broke out, the Coalition changed its name to Students United in Support of the Iraqi People (SUSIP), incorporating a number of campus political parties as well as the member groups from the first organization. Mark Daou, president of the Arab Heritage Club and one of the principal organizers of SUSIP, says that the group is “apolitical and based on humanitarian issues affecting the Iraqi people, and involves individuals and groups who support the cause for any reason.”

SUSIP has coordinated protests among AUB students as well as with other Lebanese universities, held brainstorming sessions on ways to help the Iraqi people and how to best represent their views in slogans and banners at protests, and initiated fundraising activities in collaboration with other schools. Money collected will be sent to various humanitarian organizations presently working in Iraq, such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent and UN relief bodies. Most recently SUSIP organized an “Iraq Week,” incorporating various forms of expression against the war, such as a “Speaker’s Corner” for public discussions of current issues, poetry recitals, a forum for international students to share their experiences, and a silent march from Main Gate to the Sanayeh Garden.

Despite the emotional intensity of their opposition to the war, AUB students have channeled their feelings into creative and innovative acts of protest that reflect a commitment to the values that AUB holds dear.

Edward Said Receives Hero’s Welcome
Rarely, if ever, has a visiting speaker at AUB received the welcome generated by Edward Said on March 26 at Issam Fares Hall. In his introduction, Professor Tarif Khalidi apologized for the hundreds of people parked on stairs, sitting on window ledges, crouched behind the speaker on the stage, and even hovering outside behind the glass windows of the auditorium: “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but this doesn’t happen unless Edward Said is talking.”

The Palestinian-American, who is a university professor of comparative literature at Columbia University and is most famous for Orientalism, his book that defined a generation of Western scholarship on the Middle East, was greeted with a standing ovation before even uttering a word. He spoke at length for an hour and a half about the role of humanism in the 21st century, which he says is “crucial at this moment, because what is taking place is an assault on thought itself.” Said described the “resistance intellectual” as one who possesses “the ability to differentiate between what is directly given and what may be hidden or withheld…in a world in which the media dominates.” His goal: “to recapture language from hijacking by unjust authorities,” whom he describes as the “dehumanizing forces of globalization, neo-liberalism, religious fundamentalism, and market forces.”

His message, couched in the language of a scholar steeped in the modes of belief that have guided the humanities in the modern age, is that despite the zero-sum rhetoric of the day, “we live in many worlds,” and “the politics of identity and partition have brought more suffering than they are worth.” Said’s discourse turned finally to the hope he holds for the future of humanism. “The university remains the one real place for alternative practices,” he said and affirmed that “the ideals of liberty and humanism still motivate people.”

The following day, Dr. Said spoke more candidly to an audience of students and faculty in the Assembly Hall, answering questions posed by the attendees mainly in Arabic. He discussed the
current Intifada and his vision of a “third way” for Palestinians, removed from Islamic movements and the PLO. He repeatedly proffered as models the liberation movements in South Africa and India, and pointed out the necessity of uniting with like-minded people wherever they may be found in the world. Students were for the most part mesmerized by the hopeful vision he presented and were gratified to find an erudite and hopeful voice that directly addressed their deepest concerns.

Student-Made Music Makes for Masterful Musicianship
A new musical quintet delighted a full house in West Hall’s new auditorium with three performances in March. Aptly named Mouth Music, the a cappella group put on a show not only of virtuoso musical talent; it also incorporated theatrical presentations designed to set the mood for each song, using lighting, skits, dancing, costume changes, and even shadow puppetry. As no instruments are used in a cappella singing, vocalists must not only have excellent singing voices; they must also have the ability to creatively mimic rhythm and beat accompaniments.

Originally the brainchild of graduate student Alia Al-Zoughbi, the group—two guys (plus another who was unable to perform in this show) and three girls—came together last summer and diligently rehearsed during all their spare time. The March performance was entirely student-run; the
members of the group conducted the songs themselves, coached each other on vocals, and
choreographed their movements. The CVSP 283 Theater Production Workshop class provided the set design and lighting.

The songs, a mixture of classics such as “Yesterday” and “Lollipop” along with adaptations of more recent modern pop and rock hits, were interspersed with spontaneous solos by each member. Lea Hakim, soprano of the group, says: “We’ve had to reconsider our future plans for the group based on the overwhelming success of our show,” in which the audience requested, or rather demanded, encore after encore. “The connection with the audience was electric,” she added. “They wouldn’t let us get off the stage…We’re proud we were able to pull it off. That it was so successful told us that we were doing good work all along.”
Future plans are up in the air, as half the group will be graduating this semester, but anything is possible. Expect to hear more from these talented undergrads; perhaps they’ll be touring a city near you one day.

New Director of Nursing Appointed
Dr. Huda Abu-Saad Huijer was appointed the new director of the School of Nursing and a professor in the school on January 7. Dr. Huijer received her BA from AUB and her PhD from the University of Florida. During her distinguished career, she was a tenured professor at the San Francisco School of Nursing at the University of California and the director of its Center of Nursing Research and most recently was a professor at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. She also held various teaching positions at a number of universities in the United Kingdom. Dr. Huijer brings to AUB her expertise in pain assessment, management, and palliative care, with a focus on children. The School of Nursing and the AUB community welcome her back and look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship.

AUB Alumni Association Changes Location
On March 31, 2003, the Alumni Association of the American University of Beirut (AAA) moved from its former location next to the Medical Center. The move, designed to
facilitate the implementation of the AUB Campus Master Plan, will make way for the
relocation of the School of Nursing. The AAA can now be found at its temporary location in Wardieh Square near the Sleep Comfort building. To contact the AAA: telephone
01-340817, 01-340818, or 01-341754; fax 01-345182; e-mail

A Fond Farewell
On March 31, the Physical Plant said good-bye to seven employees who retired as part of the University’s Early Departure Plan. Their combined service totaled a massive 262 years of devotion and hard work, averaging over 37 years per person. Tanios Atallah, Samir Halabi, Wahib Kadi, Salman Kassas, Elie Said, Said Shehab, and Kamel Trabulsi were each presented with a brass plaque in recognition of their significant contribution to the Physical Plant and to AUB. Although it was a sad occasion for the members of the department, they all joined in honoring their colleagues with a tasty cake and buffet.

New Trustee on Board
AUB announced the election of renowned Lebanese businessman Farouk Kamal Jabre to its Board of Trustees, during its March 21 meeting in New York. In the letter informing Mr. Jabre of his election, the board’s chairman Dr. Richard A. Debs stated: “We all look forward to working with you on behalf of the University.” On his part, Mr. Jabre responded that it was an honor and a privilege to serve his alma mater. An AUB economics graduate (’58), Mr. Jabre is the president of the Social Welfare Institutions of Lebanon, Dar Al-Aytam
Al-Islamiyah, and member of the board of several financial and philanthropic institutions. He has been active with the AUB Alumni Association, serving as a member of its Scholarship Fundraising Committee and its Disciplinary Committee. He also was a member of the former College Hall Fundraising Committee, which raised significant funds for the rebuilding of College Hall. He is married to Amal El-Khalil, a former AUB student.

HSBC Bank Middle East Supports Scholarship Program

Realizing the important mission of the American University of Beirut and its role as one of the best breeding grounds for young and potential talents, HSBC Bank Middle East decided in November 2002 to contribute $10,000 to establish the HSBC Scholarship Fund. This annual fund will provide financial assistance to one or more needy and qualified students from the School of Business and the Department of Economics. Selected students receiving HSBC assistance may also wish to gain experience by undertaking a summer internship at the bank.

Kevin Smorthwaite, the bank’s chief executive officer, visited the University in February 2003 to present the check to W. Stephen Jeffrey, vice president for Development and External Relations, with Director of Development Imad Baalbaki and Associate Director of Development Sadik Al Assa’d in attendance.

HSBC Bank Middle East is not a new donor to AUB’s scholarship fund. In 1997, the bank (then known as the British Bank) provided full tuition scholarships to two graduate students in the School of Business—in the total amount of $24,276 to underwrite all the costs for those students.

To HSBC, the scholarships are certainly money well spent—47 AUB alumni are currently working for HSBC Bank Middle East in Lebanon and a number of other alumni are employed in its offices around the world.

The Ramzi F. Daouk Memorial Loan Fund Takes an Innovative Approach to Student Support
First established in 1966 after the tragic death of Ramzi Fawzi Daouk, a 1964 civil engineering graduate, the Ramzi F. Daouk Memorial Loan Fund has long helped AUB civil engineering
students pay their tuition.

Dr. Nadim F. Daouk, who administers the fund for the Daouk family, is now taking an innovative approach to scholarship support. Believing that finding a job after graduation is vital to the AUB experience for students, he has reorganized the fund to help grads get jobs. With the assistance of the University’s development, financial aid, and student affairs offices, the Ramzi Fawzi Daouk Memorial Loan Fund has been restructured—it will not only continue to provide aid to needy students, but will also ensure that they find work after graduation, making its interest-free loan cover both tuition assistance and job placement.

Each year the awards from the fund will be distributed in two phases. In the first phase, two fourth-year civil engineering students will receive tuition assistance. In the second phase, when the same two students graduate and are ready to enter the job market, they will receive another award. Each of the awardees must commit to two years of employment at a respected engineering company. The fund will support 50 percent of the awardees’ salary during their first year of employment; and the hiring company will repay the loan, with the money going back into the fund to benefit future students.

This new and innovative approach was launched on a pilot basis at the start of the second semester of the 2002-2003 academic year. The recipient of the Ramzi Fawzi Daouk Memorial Loan Fund for this year is Karim Ghazi Mirza.

Pepsi-Cola International Increases Support of Financial Aid
For the past seven years, Pepsi-Cola International has been a generous donor to the scholarship program. Realizing the importance of a quality education to people of the region, Pepsi-Cola has been supporting the education of six AUB students each academic year. This year, however, the international conglomerate decided to increase its annual contribution to $35,000, bringing the total donations over the years to $215,000. Seven students will now benefit equally from this award—two in business administration, and one student each from engineering and architecture, financial economics, and political studies and public administration, along with one student for outstanding achievements in athletics. AUB will decide on the field of study for the seventh recipient.

Omar Farid, franchise vice president, Pepsi-Cola International Ltd., Middle East Region/North Africa, along with Marketing Director Talal El Khalil visited campus on April 11 to present a check to W. Stephen Jeffrey, vice president for Development and External Relations. Senior administrators at Pepsi-Cola International Ltd. have often expressed their interest in the mission of AUB and their support of its scholarship program. Mr. Farid was very pleased to note how many AUB graduates have always occupied leading positions in the business and public sectors in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.