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Alumni Activities Worldwide!

Lebanon

Medical Chapter
When the chapter held its annual get-together on September 26, 2003, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas was on hand for the occasion. Greeting the members, as always, with warmth and expressions of pride in their professional accomplishments, he was there in particular to convey the University’s gratitude for their continued efforts in helping increase AUB’s scholarship funding capacity. The chapter’s contribution for 2003 in that regard was the check for $15,000 that Dr. Khaled Yunis, the chapter president, presented to Dean Cortas. The entire amount, representing proceeds of the Kibaruna golden anniversary event that the chapter had held in February 2003 (see MainGate Spring 2003), will go into the new Kibaruna Medical Scholarship Fund. A second check, in the amount of $2,000, was also turned over to Dean Cortas, to be added to the recently established Emergency Medical Student Tuition Assistance Fund

AAA Mount Lebanon
The Mount Lebanon Alumni Branch took to the “hills” the weekend of February 28 on a ski trip organized by Central Sports in the Laklouk area. The winter fun, which featured skiing and other snow sports, also included a challenging treasure hunt. The group then enjoyed some evening downtime at a wine and cheese reception, followed by a karaoke sing session. The branch’s social committee also organized a superb Karaoke Night at the Marriott Champions where more than a hundred guests witnessed an exciting competition among 25 contenders.


Middle East

Cairo Branch
On January 13, alumni residing in Egypt held their first general assembly meeting at the Marriott–Zamalek. The well-attended gathering was marked by a warm exchange of news among the alumni and their friends, as well as a spirited discussion of ideas regarding the Cairo Branch’s future activities vis-à-vis its support of AUB. Mussa Freiji, president of the AAA Agriculture Chapter and host of the event, welcomed the guests and introduced FAFS Dean Nuhad Daghir, who outlined some of the faculty’s recent projects and academic innovations. Associate Director of Development and Director of Alumni Affairs Samir Kadi, in talking about the University’s development and alumni efforts in general, lauded the group’s desire to be part of the worldwide network of AUB alumni who are lending support to their alma mater. Five members of the Cairo Branch were nominated by the assembly to plan the structure and activities of the new branch: Hasan Behnam (BA ’72), Michel Gholam (MS ’77), Samar Sallab (BA ’71), Nuha Hamadeh Khuri (BBA ’72), and Nada Abu Chacra (BA ’67).

Dubai and the Northern Emirates
More than 600 alumni and friends in Dubai and the Northern Emirates gathered together in an informal setting to enjoy a sumptuous dinner in celebration of Ramadan. It was a memorable evening for all. The guests, moved by nostalgic thoughts of their alma mater, made generous donations to AUB’s scholarship fund.
Then in January, more than 350 alumni and family members went off into the desert to spend a Family Day Out. Picnicking beneath the warm winter sun at a palm-treed oasis, young and old alike had a great time. It was an especially exciting day for the children, who were treated to a lively program of entertainment that included a musical talent show and competitive games.

Bahrain
On February 10, the chapter held a reception at the Marina Club–Manama in honor of a visiting delegation from AUB, made up of Vice President of Medical Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Salim Kanaan, and Associate Director of Development Walid Katergi. During their visit to the Sultanate, Cortas and Katergi met with the Bahrain Minister of Health Khalil Hassan and Undersecretary of Health Aziz Hamza to discuss cooperation on health-related issues of common interest to Bahrain and AUB.

Dhahran and the Eastern Province
The next day, on February 11, the same three-man AUB delegation attended the annual gathering of the Dhahran and Eastern Province Chapter, held at the Gulf Hotel in Bahrain. Chapter President Tawfic Zain, in welcoming Cortas, Kanaan, and Katergi, noted how significant such visits were in reinforcing the links of AUB alumni with their alma mater. Cortas updated the alumni on the current status of AUB’s Campaign for Excellence, while Kanaan, on his part, focused on the importance of increasing the availability of student financial aid at AUB. The proceeds of the gala dinner were earmarked for just such aid. Since 1998, the Dhahran and Eastern Province chapter has donated over $92,000 to the University’s scholarship fund.

Jordan

When Vice President of Medical Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas and Associate Director of Development Walid Katergi visited Jordan in December 2003, AUB Trustee Leila Sharaf hosted a luncheon at her home to welcome them. Among the guests were AUB Trustee Kamal Shair and Jordan’s Higher Education Minister. Issam Zaabalaoui, as well as the deans of the medical and science faculties of Jordan’s universities. Cortas talked to the guests about the recent academic and research activities of the Faculty of Medicine and also informed them about some of the current projects and future plans of the AUB Medical Center. Then on December 13 at the Crown Plaza Amra Hotel, the Jordan Chapter hosted a reception, at which Dr. Cortas addressed a large gathering of medical professionals who had received their degrees at AUB.


Australia


Sydney
On February 6, a group of about 25 alumni from the Sydney area gathered at the famous Power House Museum for a reception hosted by the Arab Bank branch in Australia. All members of the small but enthusiastic group, which consisted of graduates from the classes of 1975 to 1998, spent most of the evening fondly recalling their experiences at AUB and conversing with Vice President of Development and External Relations W. Stephen Jeffrey, who had made the long trip “down under” especially to meet with them and other alumni and friends. All waxed with pride as they listened to his first-hand report on the University’s impressive progress during the past several years. Signaling sure expansion of the AUB alumni contingent in Australia came when four attendees volunteered to serve as coordinators for future alumni events.


Europe


United Kingdom

On March 25, in collaboration with the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and the Arab Women’s Association, supported by the Anglo-Arab Organization, the United Kingdom Branch organized a lecture, “Human Development in the Arab World: Challenges and Prospects,” given by Dr. Rima Khalaf Hunaidi (BS ’76), assistant secretary-general and regional director of the Bureau for Arab States at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In outlining the results of the UNDP Arab Human Development Report, both the first and the second, Hunaidi gave possible reasons for the current situation in the Arab world and stressed: “We need to develop an enlightened Arab knowledge model that encourages cognitive learning, critical thinking, problem—solving, and creativity,” which she said can only be accomplished by maintaining peace, human development, democracy, and freedom.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 10, the branch and the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding invited Dr. Hanan Ashrawi (BA ’68, MA ’70) to give a lecture, entitled “The Current Situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories,” at the Commonwealth Conference and Events Center in London. Speaking to a full house, Ashrawi called for the application of international law and the United Nations Charter in order to ameliorate the situation in the occupied territories.


The branch held its annual reunion on December 11, 2003 at Leighton House Museum in London to celebrate the 137th anniversary of the founding of AUB. Among the prominent AUB alumni and friends attending were the mayor, Councillor Barbara Campbell; the Deputy Mayor Mushtaq Lashari; Afif Safieh and Mrs. Safieh; and three members of the Lebanese diplomatic corps: Mira Daher Violedes, Sami Nmeir, and Wissan Kalakesh. In his welcoming address, Branch Chairman Hisham el Solh expressed appreciation to all those who are contributing to and supporting AUB. Other speakers were the mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Christopher Buckmaster and Wadih Hanna. The cultural highlight of the evening was a marvelous oud recital by Ahmad Mukhtar, master of Oud and Arabic Music Theory at the School of Oriental and African Studies and music consultant at ARC Music Company. A reception followed.
During 2003, the United Kingdom Branch provided AUB with funds for two scholarships. In addition, Chairman El Solh visited campus on December 31, 2003 and presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to Vice President George Tomey, to be added to the University’s endowment fund.

North America

Atlanta
The annual banquet held by the chapter on March 21 was a resounding success. An unusually large number of alumni and friends attended, many of them of the younger generation, and all spent a pleasurable evening meeting with old friends, making new ones, and reminiscing about the good old days at AUB. The speakers, Dr. Victor Nassar and Dr. Lara Harik, both focused their comments on the importance of AUB as the leading institution of higher education in the Middle East and urged the alumni to support the University in maintaining that position, especially in view of the enormous difficulties it had endured during the past decades.

Greater Houston
The Casino Night held by the Greater Houston Chapter on February 28 turned out to be just the ticket for those with a gambling streak in their blood. It was all there for everyone to try their luck—slot machines, black jack, craps, poker, and roulette. Some won, some lost, but all certainly enjoyed it. And after the game tables closed down, the guests moved on to the more delectable pleasure of a Lebanese buffet (fortunately paid for in advance!) and then danced the night away to a mix of eighties and nineties music.
On April 18, the chapter sponsored a repertoire recital by tenor Ernie Chammas, accompanied by pianist Timothy Hester. Tenor Chammas, son of fellow alumnus Edmond Chammas, made the trip from Lebanon with his wife Jesse specifically for the recital, which was attended by 100 alumni and friends. As Chammas had donated his performance time, the event succeeded in raising approximately $26,000 for the chapter. The night before the recital, Edmond and Randa Chammas held a cocktail reception at the Intercontinental Hotel in honor of their talented and generous son and the sponsors of the event.

Midwest
On March 13, AUB Trustee Leila Sharaf was the keynote speaker
at the Midwest Chapter’s annual dinner/dance. Over 80 people attended the festive event, which was held at the Marriott Hotel in Chicago. After welcoming everyone, Dr. Samar Makhlouf, the chapter president, invited Dr. Ara Tekian, president of AANA, to say a few words. Tekian, in briefly outlining all the recent innovations that had taken place at AUB, said that the University has once again become the educational institution of choice in the Middle East region. Makhlouf, in introducing Sharaf, lauded her as a woman of remarkable achievement and a long-time good friend and supporter of AANA. In her address, “Obstacles to Development in the Arab World," Sharaf highlighted some of the recommendations of the UNDP Arab Human Development Report and elaborated on the obstacles standing in the way of the Greater Middle East Initiative. The audience, impressed by her wide knowledge of the issues at stake, welcomed her views with much interest and greatly appreciated her visit to Chicago.

Ottawa
The weather in Ottawa this past winter and fall may have been very cold, but in no way did it stop the chapter from putting together two very entertaining events. On October 24, 2003 it was Nostalgia Night, when Ottawa’s alumni and friends made a trip back in time to relive their memories of the AUB campus in four stages, from the 1960s to the 1990s. The first leg of the trip, made up of music and fun photos of the ’60s took everyone back to that unforgettable “hippy” era. To enter the ’70s, another team of alumni staged an audiovisual show that included excerpts of Nazzi Assourour and a variety of photos. To recall the campus of the ’80s, the names of popular and beloved professors were elaborately displayed. And finally, against a rousing live rendition of the “Alma Mater,” the ’90s team recreated that decade by sharing the “lingo” that was all the rage on campus then. Hassan Elthaher, who came up with this novel and fun idea got more than one warm slap on the back, as did all those on the organizing teams.
On March 29 the Ottawa Chapter welcomed spring in a typically Canadian "Rite of Spring" event: a pancake breakfast at a sugar bush. As the days get longer and Canada tilts towards the sun, the maple trees at those latitudes start waking up from their winter slumber and pump their sweet sap up against gravity in preparation for another cycle of nature. This year, Ottawa Chapter members, with their families and friends, joined hundreds of other people at one particular sugar bush—a farm where maple syrup is produced by concentrating the collected sap from a stand of maple trees (and, by the way, it takes about 50 liters of sap to produce one liter of syrup). It was a gloriously bright, but still quite chilly, spring day, and the delectable pancake breakfast was generously fortified with fresh, golden maple syrup. The maple taffy treats that followed delighted the children, but added still more calories. To work them off, many went off on strenuous hikes into the woods.

Southern California
Young alumni from Southern California gathered at the Pacific Palisades home of AUB Trustee and alumnus Ann Kerr on September 21, 2003, as part of the new Young Alumni Program, organized by AUB’s New York office. Against the backdrop of her home’s breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles, Kerr talked about her book Paintings from the Middle East and treated alumni to a special showing of her watercolors, painted over her many years of living in the region.

Southern Florida
In one of its first activities—and it hopes to have many more—the Southern Florida Chapter held a winter dinner/dance on January 17 at the Key Biscayne Beach Club. Graced by Florida’s sunshine and good weather, over 100 alumni and friends attended the event, which was especially held in remembrance of two AUB alumni who had recently passed away: Yusuf Hussein Nuwayhid and Latifa Ghandur Mnaymneh.