From the Editors
 To the Editors
 AUB News
 Campaign Update
 A Call to Service
 The Good Doctors
 From AUB to Afghanistan
 Teaching More Than the Numbers
 A Changed Place
  Woman of the Year
 Alumni Profile
 Alumni Activities
 AUB Reflections
 Class Notes
 In Memoriam
 Previous Issues

AUB News

Reflections on a Presidency

Speaking in the Assembly Hall on February 24, President John Waterbury assessed the achievements, obstacles, and future goals of his leadership of the American University of Beirut. Waterbury became the University’s fourteenth president in 1999 after having spent most of his academic career at Princeton University.
Waterbury began by saying that since his arrival he has been continuing the efforts previously made to rebuild the faculty, enhance the student body, and improve facilities without sacrificing quality. He stated: “I do not forget, nor should any of us forget, that the quest for academic excellence has no precise beginning in time, and it has no individual heroes. It is a collective effort, like a relay race. The only problem is that there is no finish line.”
He observed that with all the developments that have occurred over the past few years, there is a “definite hum” at AUB now. In mentioning the hard times of the civil war as now being “behind us,” the president praised all the faculty and staff who kept AUB running during the war, affirming that they “not only accepted change and the quest for renewed excellence, they have led the charge.” Noting the number of new faculty and staff that have been added, he commented that “universities must continually be renewed, and we are doing that.”
Waterbury shared with the audience an overview of the significant accomplishments of the University during the past decade. Starting with a profile on the faculty, he reported a net increase of 74 percent in their number since 1998 and pointed out that while 149 faculty members left AUB over the past five years through retirement or non-promotion, the University recruited 215 new faculty members. “We are getting the right balance between those with wisdom and experience and those with high energy and fresh ideas,” he assured the audience.
As for student enrollment, Waterbury stated that it also has increased since 1999, without any sacrificing of quality. AUB is slowly regaining its position as the premier institution in the region, although regional and international admissions are not as high as they were in the prewar years. “I would be happy if we could attract 25 percent of our students from outside Lebanon and of non-Lebanese origin,” he declared. “I think we can achieve that, but it will take hard, persistent effort.”
The president went on to list the many recent innovations at AUB—from new academic programs, degrees, and research facilities to expanded student and faculty services, policy development, and increased support services. “A great institution is one that constantly translates innovations into institutional culture and tradition. AUB is such an institution, and it has always made innovation an integral part of its traditions.”
In speaking of the challenging goals currently in the process of being achieved—such as institutional accreditation, the Campus Master Plan, and the Campaign for Excellence—Waterbury reminded everyone that they must never lose sight of the fact that AUB’s principal mission is education. In conclusion, he said the university community should be both proud of its past accomplishments and excited about the future. “AUB’s history is the foundation of our credibility. Our care and respect for that legacy, especially for our commitment to innovation, is what will protect our credibility in the future.”
For the complete transcript of President John Waterbury’s State of the University address, log on to his website at

Songs of Spring

The AUB Choir and Choral Society excelled again this year under the direction of Paul Meers, assisted by Reem Deeb. The Spring Concert, held on May 10 in collaboration with La Société Charpentier, La Mission Culturelle Française au Liban and Les Folies Françoises of Paris, explored two vastly different worlds of music for voices: eighteenth-century France and contemporary Lebanon. The first half of the program, consisting of the work of composers born or living in Lebanon, explored a wide range of contemporary sound creation. It opened with a challenging piece composed by Meers around Gertrude Stein’s “I am a Rose.”
“Beatus vir,” Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s grand motet, introduced the focus of the concert: the worldwide celebration of this seventeenth-century French composer’s tricentennial. The last piece, “Te Deum,” with its prelude long distinguished as the only true “hit” of French baroque music, resonated beautifully through the Assembly Hall and won enthusiastic applause from the large audience.

Nobel Laureate Lectures on Economies and Growth

Sir James A. Mirrless, the 1996 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, addressed a full house in Issam Fares Hall on February 19 on the topic, “Why Some Economies Grow.” The lecture was co-sponsored by AUB’s Center for Mathematical Sciences (CAMS) and the Department of Economics. Mirrless, in rejecting the view that economies are moving towards greater convergence, stressed that growth rates are actually very problematic calculations. Differences in the growth rates
of different economies are the product of disruptions, such as national disasters or wars, different levels of saving, the obstacles less developed countries face, governance and reliability, and different business and cultural patterns.
Mirrless, who is professor of political economy at the University of Cambridge and a member of CAMS, shared with the audience his theories on savings, as well as on the importance of the growth acceleration rate and the four factors he considers the sources of growth.

Winning Business Design Recognized

Machado and Silvetti Associates, the architects who won the design competition for the new building to house the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, have been recognized by the prestigious Architecture Magazine for their unique design. According to the magazine,
the jury lauded the “intimacy” of the design and the attention it paid to the “scale of a single person moving through a very large construction.”

Women’s League Lecture on AUB Museum

On February 10, the AUB Women’s League invited Leila Badre, director of the AUB Archaeological Museum, to speak at their meeting, held in West Hall. The lecture was entitled “The Cultural Role of the AUB Museum.” In talking about the history and development of the museum, which opened in 1868, Dr. Badre outlined the variety and extent of the institution’s past and present activities. In describing the museum’s program of events, she referred to them as wide enough to attract an audience of “seven to seventy-seven year olds.” Included in her lecture was a slide presentation of the archaeological excavations undertaken by the museum staff in the Beqa’a Valley, in Syria., and in downtown Beirut during its reconstruction. The Beirut excavations, she said, were the most exciting. Digging into the Canaanite and Phoenician ruins that were uncovered there yielded some extremely important artifacts, among them a 5,000-year-old burial jar containing the skeletal remains
of a child.

Gilgamesh: 6,000 Years and Counting

The West Hall theater stage came alive April 21 to May 2, with a rousing interpretation of the Mesopotamian classic, The Epic of Gilgamesh. The 6000-year-old legend recounts the life of the ancient King of Uruk, as he grapples with gods, beasts, society, and his own mortality. In a performance marked by sustained thespian energy and emotional pull, against the stark backdrop of a modern set design, Gilgamesh (played by Sharif Abdunnur) pursues his quest for immortality, with his best friend Enkidu (played by Abdul Razzak Itani) joining him in the adventures that ensue. The relentless quest upsets the order of the gods, however, and it is decided that one of the friends must die. As Gilgamesh struggles and mourns over Enkidu’s slow death, his fear grows that he too will end up in the Underworld. The second act follows the hero’s quest, now a solitary one, and ends when he reaches Utnapishtim (played with humor by Mehdi al Rifai), the man fabled to have attained immortality. It is only then that Gilgamesh learns “the secret of the gods” and changes the way he views his existence.
The production, which included a cast of 30 and more than 80 crew members, was masterfully directed by Peter Shebaya, director of the Civilization Sequence Program, with assistant director Hani Hassan, the faculty adviser of AUB’s Drama Club, at his side. Designer and producer David Kurani, senior lecturer of theater and art, collaborated with Sharif Abdunnur in bringing the entire production together. The music, composed especially for the show by Toni Garone, was seductively Arabic and included the talents of musicians from three different continents.

Establishing a New Scholarship for Palestinian Students

Dr. Adnan S. Dajani (BS ’56; MD ’60) visited AUB’s New York Office in April to present AUB Chairman of the Board Richard A. Debs with a check in order to carry out the wishes of his late sister, Serene Subhi Dajani, to establish an endowed AUB scholarship for Palestinian students in her name.
Born in Jerusalem in 1926, Serene Subhi Dajani moved to Syria and later to Jordan following the 1948 diaspora from Palestine.
In 1964 she moved to Lebanon, where she met and married Nasouh Saadi, an AUB graduate. During her years in Beirut, Dajani maintained close ties to the University and received medical treatment at AUBMC for an incurable blood disorder. The Palestinian cause, however, always remained close to her heart. Dajani, in the last days of her life, asked her brother Adnan to use her estate to support educational and humanitarian efforts for Palestinians, and he felt that establishing a scholarship in Serene’s name at AUB would fulfill her wishes, thus expressing both her long attachment to the University and her deep concern for the Palestinian people.


AUB News—Special Report

Breaking New Ground for Student Life
Celebration for the Groundbreaking of the Charles W. Hostler Student Center

Those who gathered on the Green Field at noon on Monday, April 5, for the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Charles W. Hostler Student Center were lucky. Just several days earlier, the “khamsin wind” that afflicts Lebanon every year about that time had struck, leaving behind a heavy layer of dirt and grit. By Monday, however, Beirut was again blessed with one of its
glorious spring days.The event was held in a tent that had been constructed for the occasion on the basketball courts. Those of us in the audience sat with our backs to the sea and looked up at the University’s distinctive red-tiled roofs and the College Hall clock tower. Off to one side was a bright red excavator, ready to play its powerful part in the groundbreaking event.
Ambassador Charles W. Hostler and his wife, Chin-Yeh Rose, had traveled especially to Beirut for the ceremony. So, too, had a number of AUB trustees and Vincent James of Vincent James Associates Architects of Minneapolis, Minnesota—the firm that had been chosen to design the new student center in the international design competition held in October 2002.
President Waterbury welcomed the distinguished group that had gathered to share in the celebration and, with his usual wit, began by thanking Ambassador Hostler for bringing the beautiful weather with him to Lebanon. In his remarks, Waterbury quoted from an address that President Bliss had given in 1888, in which the first president referred to the race of life as an athletic contest wherein all can be winners. Bliss had then gone on to speak of AUB’s mission as one of “equipping students for the race of life”—a description that Waterbury thoroughly embraced.
Waterbury then appropriately introduced Ambassador Hostler as a man who had “honored the code and observed the rules” in the race of life. “Charles Hostler,” said the president, “exemplifies hard work, curiosity, public service, friendship, humor, and integrity.” He then presented the ambassador with a hard hat and a trowel, both of which he would need for the actual groundbreaking.

Dr. Hostler’s first words were, “I’m so happy to be back.” Many in the audience were moved when he spoke of his love for Lebanon and its people and for AUB. “I left my heart here 50 years ago,” he said. Hostler, who was a master’s student at the University during the years 1953-55, spoke with visible emotion about how “AUB continues to transform the lives of students as it transformed my life 50 years ago.”
Architect Vincent James, on his part, expressed his thanks for the opportunity his firm had been given “to work on a project of such importance to AUB and the city of Beirut.” The next speaker was Hussein Mohanna, the vice president of the University Student Faculty Committee, who was warmly welcomed by the many students in attendance. He highlighted the importance of the Hostler center in enhancing and invigorating campus life and also encouraged his fellow students to follow Ambassador Hostler’s example in the “race of life.”
Entertainment for the event was provided by a team of AUB cheerleaders (performing for the first time), followed by dance and dabkeh performances and songs by the AUB choir. But throughout the celebration, all eyes were on Ambassador Hostler. Basking in the warm noonday light with his lovely wife by his side, he looked radiant—genuinely pleased and proud to be there, finally realizing the dream he has had for twenty-five years to build a student center at AUB.


PSPA Society Happenings

It has been a busy year for the Political Science and Public Administration Society. Its activities, extensive in range, included bringing in prestigious speakers; launching a new internship program intended to encourage and enable PSPA students to serve as volunteers at NGOs in the area; putting together a panel of recent AUB alumni to give students an idea of what to expect job-wise after graduation; and undertaking an opinion survey on students’ perceptions of the post-Iraq war follow-up.
The speakers invited by the society to address the AUB community were former Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss, who spoke to a packed West Hall audience about the “Democratic Experience in Lebanon”; and Dr. Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who presented his opinion on “What Washington Really Wants.”
The PSPA Society also organized a Political Film Festival in April that screened films from around the world, including “Farewell My Concubine” from China, “Ahlam al Madina” about Syria, “Z” from Greece, “Three Songs of Lenin” on Russia, and “Cry Freedom” about apartheid in South Africa.

Students Demonstrate for Safer Roads

Traffic signs, flyers, and musical performances flooded the campus for World Health Day on April 7. The Students Take On Prevention (STOP) association organized a “Road Safety Is No Accident” demonstration to raise awareness on the soaring rate of road casualties and to teach young drivers the importance of following traffic regulations.
To kick off the day, the Red Cross and Civil Defense clubs used a wrecked Peugeot to act out accident scenarios and what procedures to follow in the event of one. Traffic, a safe driving school, later sponsored an open forum on student opinions on driving in Lebanon. A rally around the campus in the afternoon preceded a somber, candlelight vigil to remember AUB students who had fallen victims to car accidents. Definitely, the goal of grabbing student attention and leading everyone to reflect on a growing auto accident problem in Lebanon was achieved. The hope is that this awareness will translate into safer driving on the road.

CASAR Marks Successful First Year with Lectures Spanning American Politics and Environment

The Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) has been rapidly taking shape since Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal’s generous $2.5 million gift launched the center in 2003. Assistant Professor David Koistinen, in noting that the CASAR focus is on the American and Arab encounter, said that one of the activities they are involved in is “trying to figure out exactly what that means.” Many students on campus would like to see an emphasis on American foreign policy and lobby groups. “That will definitely be part of it,” said Koistinen, “but that’s not all it’s going to be; it’s going to include all aspects of American life.” This means delving into culture, history, literature, and so on. Many activities are in the works. Meanwhile, the extensive lecture series held throughout the past year pulled in top political analysts, historians, and a variety of other experts concerned about the US-Arab relationship.
In December, one of the leading historians of twentieth-century American politics and society, Lizabeth Cohen, director of Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, spoke about the overwhelming culture of consumption taking over the United States in a lecture entitled “A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Post-World War II America.” In March, Columbia University Professor Richard Bulliet presented his views on “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: The Formation of American Middle East Policies in the Post-World War II Period.” And in April, Fulbright Scholar Justin Connor, who has served since 1999 as senior attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, presented “Judicial Review of Administrative Decision-Making in American Law: The Case of Telecommunications Regulation.”
On May 14, Professor of history and geography at Queen Mary University of London and a member of the Faculty of Modern History of Oxford University Felipe Fernandez-Armesto focused on “A Hemispheric Approach to the History of the Americas.” On April 2, a currently pertinent lecture on “The Racialization of Arab-Americans in the Contemporary United States: Context and Consequences” was given by Alia Malek, who worked for several years as an attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice and has long been active in human rights.
On May 4, in a lecture entitled “Stars in the Water: Art, Nature and Nation on the Erie Canal,” Dr. Patrick McGreevy of Clarion University outlined his investigation into the meanings Americans find in landscape, undertaken within the context of his comparative studies on Canadian and American identities.

Young Einsteins Hit AUB

The Education Student Society held their 11th Annual Science Fair from April 16 to 18 at AUB’s indoor basketball court. Twenty secondary and high schools in Lebanon were invited to attend the three-day event. There, they exhibited an unusual variety of science projects, ranging from the battery-powered fruit juice extractor displayed by Al-Imam Secondary School, to the effect of chocolate on the nervous system submitted by the Islamic Cultural School, to the graphic comparison of human veins with “The Street of Life” exhibited by the Ras Beirut International School.
At the opening ceremony, Tamer Amin, an AUB education professor and the society’s adviser, reminded the buzzing crowd of students and parents that although it was exciting to compete for and win prizes, “Everything that’s important—the work itself—has been done already.” The student society launched the annual event in 1993 in order to provide Lebanese youth with an informal opportunity to expand their knowledge of science and at the same time give them a chance to get to know each other.

HSBC Bank Middle East Continues Support

In April, one year after having established the annual HSBC Scholarship Fund and made its first contribution, the chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Middle East, Mohammed Al Yahya, visited campus and presented the bank’s 2003–04 donation of $10,000 to Vice President for Development and External Relations W. Stephen Jeffrey. As last year, two needy and highly qualified students will be the fortunate beneficiaries. HSBC’s close ties to AUB are reflected in the fact that the bank has 50 AUB alumni working in its Middle East branches and an additional number employed in its offices throughout the world.

Hussein Oueini Fund for PSPA Studies Launched

Mrs. Nada Oueini, daughter of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Hussein Oueini, has contributed $15,000 to AUB to establish the Hussein Oueini Fund for Political Science and Public Administration (PSPS) Studies. The aim of the fund is to encourage and support research on political institutions in Lebanon by providing aid to needy students. The fund will cover the tuition of a graduate student in PSPA working on a research topic related to Lebanon. In addition, the fund provides for two $2,000 awards. One will be given to the best Lebanese student graduating with a BA
in PSPA and the other to the best MA thesis written that year in political science and/or public administration. The two awards will be announced and presented during the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ annual commencement ceremony in June 2004.

FHS Students Enjoy New Lounge – Thanks to the President’s Club

The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) hosted a reception on January 15 to inaugurate the long-awaited new student lounge and to thank the President’s Club for their generous donation of funds that enabled the purchase of
furniture for the room. The lounge is part of the three-year restoration of the Van Dyck Building, which has been home to the Faculty of Health Sciences since 1981. Speaking on behalf of the students, Karma Ekmekji, a senior in the environmental health program commented, “We are gathered today to express our deepest gratitude for much more than simply furniture. The student lounge is a junction for different students to meet, exchange ideas, socialize, study, innovate, and make a difference. Within the comfort of these walls resonate past accomplishments, present enthusiasm, and future potential.”

Recently Published

Cleo, The Hotel Cat
Roseanne Saad Khalaf, AUB assistant professor of English and coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, published two books in 2004. Cleo, the Hotel Cat (Dar An-Nahar: 2004) is the first in a series of children’s books that follow the adventures of Cleo as she explores Lebanon and the world. Cleo, a spunky cat with the longest tail and whiskers and the brightest of dispositions, playfully comments on her day-to-day life in one of the fanciest hotels overlooking bustling Beirut and the sea. In the first book of the series, Cleo knows that each winter something magical happens when performing artists from all over the world descend upon the hotel and create a whirlwind of excitement and adventure. Written in simple, lyrical prose, the story of Cleo, the Hotel Cat is made even more captivating by the superb full-color illustrations
of artist Michele Standjofski.

Transit Beirut: New Writing and Images

In Transit Beirut: New Writing and Images (Saqi Press: 2004) Roseanne Saad Khalaf and coeditor Malu Halasa weave a contemporary portrait of the city through the voices of young writers, artists, and photographers based in Beirut. An anthology of memoirs, short stories, journalism, fiction, photography, and illustration, Transit Beirut presents the musings of young Lebanese writers and artists on a diverse range of topics that capture the Beirut experience: Lebanese food, Arabic music, personal reminiscences, the influence of American pop culture, plastic surgery, and a snapshot of life as seen from one of the AUB benches. It is a thought-provoking selection of essays and art on a city and society passing through a meaningful process of rediscovery and reconstruction after fifteen years of war.

The Lessons of Lebanon: The Economics of War and Development

The new book by Director of the Institute of Financial Economics and Professor of Economics Samir Makdisi, The Lessons of Lebanon: The Economics of War and Development (I.B. Tauris: 2004) begins with a revealing observation on the historical impact of war on development. He first points out that in the decades since 1945 over 200 intrastate conflicts have taken place in countries that had achieved independence from colonial rule after the Second World War. He then goes on to outline the ways in which the course and quality of national economic development in those countries has been profoundly affected by the eruption of conflict, as well as by other related factors, such as the nature of domestic political institutions, the quality of governance, and geopolitics in the developing world.
Lessons of Lebanon demonstrates that the Lebanese experience constitutes a supreme example of how those interlocking influences have affected the pace of the country’s economic development. The persistently sectarian nature of the political system, the relatively poor quality of governance, the impact of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the civil war, together define not only the context in which the achievements and failures of Lebanese development must be assessed, but also the continuing challenges that it must face in this age of globalization. Makdisi concludes that after more than thirteen years of postwar effort, Lebanon has yet to resolve the underlying causes of its civil conflict. This, he says, is the essential key in arriving at a firm, viable basis for long-term sustained national development. The response to this challenge, he argues, will determine Lebanon’s future, both economically and socially.