Inside the Gate
  Views from Campus
Business Integrity Meets Democratic Ideals
Technology @ AUB: New Horizons in Education
The Education Morph
To Google or to Moodle?
Technology @ AUB: A Research Revolution
  Rethinking Technology and Research at AUB
Preserving History and Breaking Down Barriers: Digitizing AUB’s Libraries
Developing the Middle East’s Future Technical Elite: The CITPER Project
In Our History
Negotiating Peacetime
Alumni Profile
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
From the President
Campaign Update
AUB Calendar 2007
On Past Presidents and Football Stratagems: Fifty Years of Memories at AUB
Reviews: Small Change in Ancient Beirut

Spring 2007 Vol. V, No. 3

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

University News

CCC Scientific Research Building Inaugurated
The CCC Scientific Research Building was inaugurated on February 21, just 16 months after the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2005. The new four-storey 4,400 square-meter facility will be used primarily by students and faculty doing research in engineering, computer sciences, and basic sciences. President John Waterbury, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Thomas Morris, and AUB alumnus and cofounder of Consolidated Contractors Company Said Khoury were among those who attended the inauguration.

AUB Pays Tribute to Robert Haldane West
The University Student Faculty Committee organized a ceremony to pay tribute to Robert Haldane West on the 100th anniversary of his death in 1906. Prior to the ceremony, President John Waterbury led a delegation that visited West’s grave in the Anglo-American Cemetery in Sin-el-Fil. West, for whom West Hall was named in 1914, joined the Syrian Protestant College (SPC) in 1883 after graduating from Princeton University and spent 23 years at SPC teaching higher mathematics, moral philosophy, and astronomy as well as serving in several administration positions.

Beirut Clashes Disrupt Final Exams and Spring Semester Schedule
Clashes at the Beirut Arab University and riots in Beirut on January 25 delayed fall exams and the start of the spring semester, which was postponed from February 5 to February 12.

Genz Unravels the Mysterious Hittite Empire
On January 17, the Society of Friends of the AUB Museum invited Assistant Professor Herman Genz of the Department of History and Archaeology to lecture on “Hattusha, the Mighty Capital of the Hittite Empire.” Genz spent two years in Hattusha before joining AUB in 2004.

From the Faculties

AUB’s Graduate Public Health Program first to be accredited outside North America
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) has accredited AUB’s Graduate Public Health Program (GPHP), making it the first to be accredited outside North America.* The accreditation comes at the end of a two-year effort led by former faculty member Dr. Nadim Haddad. According to FHS Dean Huda Zurayk, “The overlap of the accreditation process with the current overall strategic planning at the University was beneficial in delineating our mission and goal and in charting the way forward.”

Zurayk says that accreditation is only a first step and that she and her colleagues have set themselves four goals for the future. Associate Professor Kassem Kassak is leading the initiative to diversify the graduate student body. “The accreditation of the program is an external and objective measure of its quality and rigor and will play a major role in attracting students from Lebanon and the region.” says Kassak.

The second goal involves establishing new academic programs: an executive masters in public health and a PhD program in public health. Associate Professor Rima Afifi-Soweid, who will be leading this effort, notes that they will be “developing clear learning outcomes” for these new academic programs as they did for the graduate program as part of the accreditation process.

“While our graduate program met the CEPH requirements for instruction and research,” says Associate Dean Iman Nuwayhid, “our service activities met the criteria only partially. Consequently, we will be establishing a service program at the faculty within two to three years to strengthen faculty and student involvement in community service.”

The fourth area that has been targeted is evaluation and planning: “Developing an integrated performance measurement system to provide us with indicators against which we can periodically assess our progress will ensure that we most efficiently serve our mission of improving public health in Lebanon and the region.” says Dean Zurayk.

For more information on FHS visit
For more information on the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) visit

New Pilot Plant Increases Opportunities for AUB Students
The newly open Pilot Plant will strengthen FAFS’s food science program and provide students with enhanced opportunities to gain simulated experience in industrial food processing, production, and quality control. The building has two instructional laboratories. Each lab accommodates 30 students and includes equipment such as a juice concentrator, vegetable peeler, steam blancher, homogenizer, vacuum canner, meat smoking machine, dairy processing equipment, freeze dryer, and refrigerators. The labs are also furnished with huge sinks, hooded stoves, and an oven for baking Arab bread.

According to lab instructor Basma Hamadeh, the labs will provide students with valuable hands-on experience that is essential to their careers in the industry. May Nassrallah, third year student in food sciences and management, says that the new pilot plant is a major improvement and “reminiscent of what is found in large food factories.”

Produce from AREC (the AUB farm) will continue to be sold at the Pilot Plant each week.

Accreditation of Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Renewed
The College of American Pathologists has renewed the accreditation of the AUBMC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine until February 25, 2008.

AUBMC Witnesses First Artificial Cervical Disc Prosthesis in Lebanon
A team of surgeons at AUBMC recently performed the first successful implantation of an artificial cervical disc prosthesis in Lebanon on a 35 year-old male.

San Diego State University Signs Partnership Deal with Olayan School of Business
San Diego State University (SDSU) College of Business Administration recently signed a partnership agreement with the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) that will allow students enrolled in its MBA program in global entrepreneurship to spend part of a semester at OSB. SDSU also has partner universities in China and India.


AUB Engineering Students Rank Third in Regional Computer Contest
Coached by Professor Hassan Artail, ECE students Hussein Al-Asadi, Jad El-Hage, and Camille Lahoud ranked third in a regional computer programming contest in Morocco in December 2006. The AUB team competed against 44 teams in the annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Regional Programming Contest, which is part of a worldwide event organized by ACM.

Citigroup Foundation Continues Support for AUB Business Students
During 2005-06, fifteen AUB students received support from the Citigroup Foundation, which donates $25,000 a year (as part of a four-year $100,000 pledge) for students at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. A number of scholarship recipients also have the opportunity to train at Citibank branches. In addition to employing many AUB alumni, Citibank also recruits AUB graduates for its branches in the Middle East.

Walter Siouffi, who was recently appointed president and general manager of Citibank Lebanon, presented the check from Citigroup Foundation to Provost Peter Heath during a visit to AUB. Both men expressed their appreciation for the mutually beneficial relationship that Citigroup and AUB enjoy.

AUB Celebrates Chinese New Year during Chinese Cultural Week
During the week of February 12, AUB celebrated Chinese New Year with films, a photo exhibit, magazines and books on China, and the opportunity to taste green tea. Organized by the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and AUB’s International Student Services, the week promoted Chinese culture. China’s ambassador to Lebanon Liu Zhiming and Provost Peter Heath were on hand to inaugurate the event.

Students celebrate International Women’s Day
The Women’s Rights Club (WRC) celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 with a series of on-campus and off-campus activities. At a stand in front of West Hall, club members distributed pamphlets on sexual harassment and self-defense, and red ribbons marking Women’s Day. “We wanted to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence, so we distributed brochures by the Lebanese Council to Resist Violence against Women and our own brochures to raise awareness about harassment,” club president Rania Jaber told MainGate.

The WRC and the Standing Committee on Reproductive Health and AIDS cosponsored a self-defense empowerment workshop by Senshido affiliate George Fahmi. Senshido is an organization that teaches martial art for self-defense. After the workshop, the club showed a movie (The Accused), which was followed by a reception and discussion. The club also organized a day-long event in the Art Lounge that included round-table discussions on a wide range of topics including women’s rights in the Arab/Muslim World, women’s relationship with the media, the patriarchal global society and political representation, and an exhibit by women artists.

Maysam Ali (BA ’07)

Debating the existence of God
Chairperson of the Philosophy Department Bashshar Haydar and Professor Al Moutasim Billah Al-Baghdadi of the Philosophy and Sociology Department at the University of Tripoli debated the existence of God in an event hosted by the Debate Club on March 7.

Haydar argued against believing in the omni benevolent God of Judeo-Christian religions: “If this world is created and supervised by God, and if God is all good and powerful, he wants to eliminate evil... But the world we live in has excessive evil, which makes it unlikely that it was created by an all-good and powerful being.”

“Despite all efforts,” Haydar argued, “believing in God is a leap of faith, because you do it against the evidence. Those who choose this should know that those who refuse to accept it do it on good grounds.”

Baghdadi argued that a human being cannot refute the existence of God because human knowledge is very limited. “Does matter alone have the capacity for invention and the advancement of human kind?” he asked. “Everything that happens does not happen by accident; we cannot deny God’s existence.” Baghdadi said that humans cannot judge whether natural disasters are good or evil because they do not have the divine wisdom to make such a judgment. The debate, which attracted a large audience, was followed by a two-hour Q&A session.

Maysam Ali (BA ’07)

Faculty News

Laila Farhood, SoN, professor of psychiatry, was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as mental health coordinator for Lebanon during and after the July war. Farhood was asked to develop teaching materials to train personnel to help the internally displaced deal with post traumatic stress symptoms. She chaired a committee of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses during the first phase of the program to train mental health professionals, October 1-24, 2006. 

Assaad Soweid, FM, assistant professor of endosonography and advanced therapeutic endoscopy, Division of Gastroenterology, was recently appointed as a fellow of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) in recognition of his outstanding research and world-wide teaching contributions to the field of gastrointestinal endoscopy. He is the first therapeutic endoscopist to receive this honor in the Middle East. Soweid will be recognized during ASGE’s annual meeting in Washington, DC in May 2007.

Isam Bashour, FAFS, chair of the Department of Land and Water Resources and associate professor, presented a paper, “Ammonium Hydroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide Amendments for the Control of Root-Knot Nematodes,” which he co-authored with Alia Y. Alameddine, Adib Saad, Mussa Nimah, and Moatassim Sidahmed. The paper explores chemical alternatives to the newly restricted synthetic nematicide, methyl bromide, and was presented at the 58th Pittsburg Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy in Chicago, Illinois, February 25- March 2, 2007.

Ali El-Hajj, FEA, professor of electrical and computer engineering, presented “Intercell Interference Reduction by the Use of Chebyshev Circular Antenna Arrays with Beam Steering,” which he co-authored with Karim Kabalan, Ali Chehab, and Elias Yaacoub at the 24th National Radio Science Conference at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, March 13-15, 2007.

Ghazi Ghaith, FAS, professor of education and director of the University Preparatory Program, participated in the International Congress of Professional Development for Teachers of English in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 22-24, 2007.

Sari Hanafi, FAFS, associate professor of sociology and former director of the Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Centre, Shaml, participated in a conference at Al Quds University, November 25-26. The “International Conference on the Palestinian Refugees: Conditions and Recent Developments” attracted 30 lawyers, activists, politicians, social scientists, and UNRWA experts from the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan, Canada, and the United Kingdom and an audience of approximately 300 students and community leaders. Participants tackled a range of issues including the living conditions of refugees in the Palestinian territory and Arab countries, the legal aspect of right of return, and case studies of repatriation and compensation of refugees worldwide.

Marwan Khawaja, FHS, associate professor of epidemiology and population health, presented a paper he coauthored with Shireen Asaf, “The Transition to Lower Fertility in the West Bank and Gaza Strip: Evidence from Recent Surveys,” at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America in New York, March 28-31, 2007.

Alba Sibai, FHS, associate professor and chair, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, presented “Marital Status, Intergenerational Co-Residence and Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality among Middle-Aged and Older Men and Women during Wartime in Beirut: Gains and Liabilities” at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America in New York City, March 28-31. The paper was co-authored with Kathy Yount of Emory University and Astrid Fletcher of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Baladi Habibi: Celebrating Zaki Nassif’s Musical Heritage
The annual fundraising concert celebrating Zaki Nassif’s musical heritage, “Baladi Habibi” (My Country, My Love) was held on February 1 at Assembly Hall. The Lebanese National Oriental Arabic Orchestra performed during the concert that was held under the auspices of the Zaki Nassif Music Program at AUB. Dr. Walid Gholmieh, director of the Lebanese Higher Conservatory of Music, conducted the concert that featured the songs of Zaki Nassif such as “Tallou Hbabna Tallou” (Our Loved Ones Have Returned) and “Hbayibna Hwalayna” (Our Loved Ones Are With Us). The concert ended with Nassif’s Mahma Yitjarrah Baladna (Beyond Our Country’s Wounds) as a tribute to Lebanon. All proceeds from the concert were used to support the Zaki Nassif Music Program at AUB.