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Maingate Connections

Spring 2006 Vol. IV, No. 3

Maingate Connections

Opportunity Knocks

Write to us!

MainGate welcomes contributions from alumni reflecting on their AUB experiences, as well as stories about their lives after AUB. Submissions may be sent to
maingate@aub.edu.lb. Here Lokman I. Meho (BA ’91, MA ’96) recounts how an interest in Kurdish history, and a lot of encouragement, took him from Jafet Library to Indiana University.

I thought I would share how AUB changed my life.

My grandparents moved to Lebanon from very poor villages in Northern Kurdistan in the 1920s and 1930s. They never sent my parents to school. Luckily, my parents did not do the same to their eight children—two brothers and six sisters. We all went to school. Because they were very poor, however, they could only send us to public schools, which, at the time (mid-1970s through the 1980s), were marred with problems ranging from lack of teachers and resources to control by militia groups. After high school, I was fortunate to receive a full scholarship from the Hariri Foundation to attend AUB. I earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991. While working as a freelance bibliographer in the following year, I applied for the master’s program in political science at AUB and was offered a full graduate assistantship by the department. I completed the master’s degree in December 1995.

I have been interested in reading history, geography, and biographical books since I was a teenager. My interest in libraries and research started when I attended AUB, especially after reading a comment in a book that said that there is not much written about the Kurds. I wanted to find out for myself if this was true or not. So, while taking English courses in preparation for AUB, I applied for a job at Jafet Library to develop my research skills. I started working in Jafet from the very first day of school—I think it was September 29, 1986.

My work in Jafet and the education I received at AUB were turning points in my life and career, providing me with exceptional opportunities, experience, skills, and knowledge in retrieving, filtering, and organizing information. Recognizing the significance and value of access to information in research, I decided to compile and publish as many annotated bibliographies on the Kurds and Kurdistan as possible. To date, I have published three, each of which contains annotations to over 800 books and articles. I also published two books on the Arab world.

While completing my master’s, the reference librarians at Jafet encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree in Library Science in the United States. My family couldn’t afford it, and when all else failed, my father sold his car and used all his savings to send me to school in the US. It was not an easy decision to make or agree with. I eventually decided to attend North Carolina Central University (NCCU) because of its affordability and location—the Research Triangle Park.

NCCU faculty members encouraged me to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). A few weeks after I applied, I was offered an admission with a full scholarship. In November 2001, I successfully defended my dissertation and received my PhD degree. After three years at the School of Information Science and Policy as an assistant professor, I joined the School of

Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Indiana University. I am planning to apply for tenure and promotion to associate professor in September 2007.

My achievements since I came to the US are thanks to the support I received and continue to receive from many people, including my parents and siblings, the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, AUB, and my advisors and colleagues at NCCU, UNC, and SLIS.

Thanks to them all.
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