Inside the Gate
  Views from Campus
Peter Dorman, AUB’s 15th president
Presidents of AUB
The Green Issue
Saving the Cedars: The Tannourine Project
It’s War on the Environment
IGESP: Finding Solutions for the Earth’s Problems
Is AUB Green?
Alumni Profile
Maingate Connections
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors
Presidents of AUB
New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
Coming to Your Own Back Yard: Seeds of Hope
Three Words...
Nostalgia and Hope: Greater Washington Chapter Exhibition
Randa Khalil: Platinum Green LEED in British Columbia
Remembering Iliya Harik (BA '56, MA '58)
Hostler Green Initiatives
Between Bahrain and AUB

Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

University News

IFI Takes on the Environment
Is the Middle East getting hotter? What’s going to be the effect of climate change on the region? The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) has launched a new forum to examine these and other questions related to the environment.

On February 20 IFI inaugurated its Research and Policy Forum on Climate Change and Environment in the Arab World by holding the first in a series of lectures dedicated to the topic. Professor Nadim Farajalla, FEA assistant professor of hydrology and water resources, presented the first lecture in the series, “Impact of Climate Change on the Arab World.” The faculty coordinator for the Forum on Climate Change, Farajalla defined climate change and the impact it might have on Lebanon and the region. Farajalla introduced the internal and external factors— including human activities—that lead to climate change, noting, “the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed that 90 to 95 percent of climate change is a result of human activities.” The burning of fossil fuels in green houses and cement manufacturing are just two of the major causes for climate change in Lebanon.

The Research and Policy Forum on Climate Change will monitor trends in climate change, identify costs and consequences, undertake and share research results with the public and private sectors, and conduct training workshops.

Provost Heath to Lead AUS
Provost Peter Heath is leaving AUB in August 2008 to become chancellor of the American University of Sharjah. During his ten years as provost at AUB, Heath played a leading role in rebuilding the University’s academic reputation. As AUB’s senior academic administrator, he worked closely with the academic deans and helped attract a distinguished, dynamic, and diverse faculty, while also guiding the University through a rigorous six-year accreditation process which culminated in AUB’s official accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education in 2004. Heath also oversaw the reinstitution of PhD programs in eight fields, in addition to updating registration of all the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs with the New York State Education Department.

New Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service
AUB plays a key role in the surrounding community, and this year the University has established the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service to coordinate all community outreach initiatives. The United States Agency for International Development is providing start-up funds for the first year. The center will give AUB students an opportunity to study and respond to social and civic issues that are of critical importance to the Lebanese people and to the Middle East. Mounir Mabsout, FAFS professor of civil and environmental engineering, will be the center’s director, coordinating and developing the University’s activities and programs for community service, service learning, community-based research, and outreach.

More On-line

CASAR on Liberty and Justice: From Cluster Bombs to “Pentagon Speak”
Dozens of American studies experts from around the world spent four days in Beirut in early January probing the complicated relationship between the

west and the Islamic world during the second international conference sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR) at AUB. The conference, entitled “Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East,” attracted distinguished scholars in the field including: Djelal Kadir, of Pennsylvania State University and founding president of the International American Studies Association; Stanley Katz, director of Princeton University’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies; Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham, executive director of Libertas, the Center of the Study of US Foreign Policy; and Melani McAlister, associate professor of American studies and international affairs at George Washington University. Arab world participants came from four Lebanese universities (Balamand University, Lebanese American University, Notre Dame University, and AUB) and universities in Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Syria; universities in Europe and from many areas of the United States were also represented.

Participants from some 67 countries presented papers examining, through the lens of liberty and justice, a variety of issues: language, literature, the media, travel, imperialism, Islamic law, religion, secularism, sports, and freedom. Thorny issues such as the effect of 9/11, homeland security, the war on terror, “Pentagon speak,” cluster bombs, student “hostility” towards the United States, and fear, were addressed head-on, as were foreign policy and the effectiveness of American studies programs throughout the Arab world. Latifa al-Busseir, Prince Alwaleed’s personal representative, said, “Without a doubt, CASAR is promoting greater understanding and knowledge between the Arab and Islamic world and the United States... We must study, share, and learn from each other. There is a pressing need for greater enlightenment in the west about the Middle East.”

The sheer variety of the presentations drew abundant praise. Subject matter ranged from how to teach American history to “Islamophobia” to the significance of The Algerine Spy, an eighteenth century work often described as the first American novel. A Palestinian group enlivened the academic sessions with a relevant hip-hop performance, “Brooklyn Beats to Beirut Streets: Hip Hop and the Language of Liberation.” On the final day around 30 conference-goers traveled to the south to view the destruction of the 2006 summer war in south Lebanon.

Participants also enjoyed the opportunity to meet each other. Some said the experience made them rethink their ideas and confront their prejudices. Several from Europe and the United States underscored the advantages of being able to discuss potentially explosive issues with academics of the region, such as Iranian, Syrian, and Saudi graduate students and professors. Professor Amy Kaplan of the University of Pennsylvania, who gave the closing address, “In the Name of Homeland Security,” said the event “succeeded in creating and expanding important intellectual networks that will reverberate far beyond the conference.”

From the Faculties


Why a Sectarian-Based Political System is a Losing Bet
Lebanon’s sectarian-based political system has caused serious economic loss—almost $20,000 in annual per capita income—and prevented it from achieving desperately needed political reforms, according to a new economic study conducted at AUB.

During a workshop hosted by the Institute of Financial Economics and the Department of Economics at AUB, Professors Samir Makdisi and Mark Marktanner discussed a paper they co-authored with Professor Fadia Kiwan of St. Joseph University, “The Case of Lebanon: Trapped by Consociationalism?” In it they conclude that transitioning from consociationalism or sectarian-based power-sharing to a full-fledged secular democracy “would provide the necessary conditions for long-term stability and sustained development, thus opening up the full potential for the development of Lebanon.”

Although they agreed that consociationalism had failed to protect Lebanon from long-lasting wars and had prevented the development of a strong state, Makdisi acknowledged some positive attributes. “Consociationalism has allowed Lebanese to practice their religion freely and prevented any single religious group from imposing its ideology on the others,” he said. Consociationalism, however, was intended to be a transitional system, he added, and it was time to reform this system, as was set forth by the Taif Accord of 1989. Strengthening the judiciary and pushing for decentralization while working on developing the peripheries will also help reduce the power of sectarian leaders, clans and tribes, while at the same time reducing corruption, Kiwan added.


TEMPUS Selects FEA for ICT MA Program
AUB has established a new master’s program in information and communication technology (ICT) at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) with support from the European Union’s TEMPUS program in collaboration with Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany, the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and Siemens AG in Germany. ECE Professor Ayman Kayssi noted that since ICT is still in its early stages in the region, there is a lot of potential for growth. “If you look at the studies that are being conducted concerning what kinds of jobs or job sectors are growing the most around the world, you will see that ICT-related jobs are among the top jobs listed.” These jobs include data management, hardware/firmware engineering, network development, and project management. Currently, there are 11 students enrolled in the program, and student exchanges with Technische Universität München have already started.


A Great Return on Investment: AUB’s Executive MBA Program
According to a study done in August 2007 by Global Gulf, a Middle East business information website, there will be 300,000 new executive positions created in the Gulf in the next decade. In anticipation of the need for talented and skilled men and women to assume these positions, AUB’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) established an Executive MBA program in spring 2004. The program has already graduated 75 students; an additional 15 students will graduate in June 2008.

“The program is rigorous and has been structured to cater to the executive needs of the Middle East and North Africa,” explains program director Riad Dimechkieh, PhD. “We graduate more effective executives by identifying issues that need to be addressed and providing disciplined analysis, mobilizing and applying resources effectively, building organizational capabilities, and instilling insight and confidence in our graduates,” he added.

In addition to receiving in-classroom training from members of OSB’s distinguished faculty, EMBA students also have the opportunity to hear directly from prominent world businessmen and CEOs such as Carlos Ghosn (Renault/Nissan), Fadi Ghandour (ARAMEX), and Ibrahim Dabdoub (National Bank of Kuwait) who have been featured speakers at EMBA’s lecture series.

The Olayan School’s 20-month EMBA program has been structured to accommodate the busy schedules of executives. Students attend weekend sessions in Beirut every three weeks. “Given that I live and work in Qatar, I appreciate that I can pursue the EMBA comfortably. I need not be away for a long period of time,” says Amal Al Mannai, a Qatari general manager at the Social Development Center of the Qatar Foundation.

Mounira Al Musnid, chair of the Social Development Center, says that as a result of her participation in the EMBA program, “I am more confident with the decisions I make, and I feel I have what it takes to compete with senior executives in Qatar and the region. It is all thanks to the skills I have learned as an EMBA student,” she says.

AUB’s EMBA students are a diverse group of men and women and include “architects, medical doctors, IT experts, and private investors who are interested in business,” says Dimechkieh. “We are extremely demanding in our selection criteria,” he adds.

The program also attracts students of all ages: “Although they range in age from 30 to 60,” says Dimechkieh, “they are all senior managers and have graduated from respected universities. More than half of our students come from abroad.”

In addition to making them more effective managers in their current positions, AUB’s EMBA program has also made it possible for some of its graduates to explore new opportunities. Fadi Hajal (EMBA ’07) was appointed general manager of a multinational consulting firm, Webb MENA, as soon as he graduated. “That is what I call a great return on investment. In addition to the challenging class discussions, I benefited enormously from my classmates, whose diverse backgrounds broadened my perspective,” says Hajal.


Promoting Healthy Schools
The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Health School Initiative (HSI)—an offshoot of a global WHO project—to promote healthy schools in Lebanon by promoting a safe physical environment, nurturing a balanced psychosocial environment, and responding to community needs.

“Healthy schools are schools whose environment is healthy, comfortable, and conducive to learning. The primary goal is to promote physical and emotional health by providing accessible and relevant information and equipping pupils with the skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their health,” says Professor May Jurdi of the initiative. Jurdi, who is the chair of the Department of Environmental Health and is spearheading this initiative, says that HSI will also enable researchers to understand the relationship between the environment and health, to identity key environmental health hazards in schools and surrounding environments, and to recognize children’s special vulnerability to exposure to environmental threats.

FHS has held three workshops for school representatives from throughout the country. “We try to target all the different areas in Lebanon. At first, we approached schools based on the list of schools that are represented at AUB. We also focus on public schools, UNESCO schools, and other networks,” says Jurdi.

FHS seniors and graduate students have been very active in this process. “With the help of senior students we are able to promote environmental awareness. They go to schools and disseminate awareness among grades 10, 11, and 12. They are considered a liaison between the school environment and beyond,” says Jurdi.

Student News

Students Join Axis of Evil at Casino du Liban
Arifi Waked, an English graduate student, and Amir Haidar, mathematics senior, survived grueling auditions at AUB on December 5 so they could open for the Axis of Evil show at Casino du Liban.

Axis of Evil, a New York-based standup comedy group that performed five shows in Lebanon in December consists of Egyptian-American Ahmed Ahmed, Iranian-American Maz Jobrani, and Palestinian-American Aron Kader. Haidar and Waked were chosen among 20 students who were selected by Axis of Evil to audition in West Hall’s Bathish Auditorium. While Haidar has long dreamed of becoming a standup comedian, Waked, who wears the hijab, says she started doing standup comedy more recently to put a human face to the hijab and to invite people to “lighten up about many issues that plague the Middle East.”

Turn down the heat
Turning your central heating thermostat down by 1% can save as much as 10% from fuel bills.


WHO Designates First Collaborating Center in Lebanon at FAFS
The Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences was recently designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for research, training, and outreach in nutrition and food sciences. In a reception on campus celebrating the designation, WHO representative in Lebanon Hussein Abu Zaid noted that the department is the first WHO Collaborating Center in the country. To become a collaborating center, the department met specific WHO selection criteria that included reviewing its scientific and technical standing at national and international levels, the quality of its scientific and technical leadership, and the working relationship that it has developed with other institutions in the country as well as at the inter-country, regional and global levels. The center will address issues pertaining to people’s health and well-being by tackling local nutritional problems, and will assist in the collection and dissemination of information on health, illness, and risk factors. “The department is concentrating on addressing community nutrition problems including monitoring prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome and their determinants in the Lebanese population. We are also in the process of developing food based dietary guidelines for the region including Lebanon as part of this collaboration,” said Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Nahla Hwalla.

Coming to Your Own Back Yard
In October 2007, massive forest fires devastated more than 5,000 acres of tree growth in Lebanon. It turns out that your own back yard might hold the key to the reforestation effort. AUB's interfaculty nature conservation center ibsar has a plan to use the spaces that have been set aside for parks, private yards, and other community green spaces to make Lebanon green again. Working with community stakeholders, ibsar is launching "Seeds of Hope, Trees for Tomorrow"—a sustainable, community-based tree planting program for Lebanon. At the official launch of a native tree nursery at AUB’s Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC) in March, students and teachers got their hands dirty, packed seeds into newspaper pots, and assembled irrigation piping. ibsar’s field coordinator and agricultural engineer Khalid Sleem explains, “We hope to cultivate 50,000 native trees (by 2010) from seeds that have been collected from the wild and are currently being planted at our native tree nursery in AREC.” "Our hope," adds ibsar director Salma Talhouk, "is that we will be planting these trees in specific local community settings by next fall—in one year's time." Nada Hakim, a 21-year old landscape design and ecosystem management major from north Lebanon, began volunteering in 2007. "I think people have lost their connection to nature," she says, "and this is one great way for us, as Lebanese, and as AUB students, to reconnect and do something concrete for the future of Lebanon's natural habitat."

More On-line

"I think people have lost their connection to nature... this is one great way for us, as Lebanese, and as AUB students, to reconnect and do something concrete for the future of Lebanon's natural habitat."

Nada Hakim, landscape design and ecosystem management major

Faculty News

Elephants in the Emirates? AUB geologist Professor Ali Haidar, a lecturer in the Department of Geology, is investigating the recent discovery that the Emirate’s Western Region desert was actually once the river-fed home of water-loving elephants, hippos, and other unlikely living desert creatures. Haidar is a member of the field team of the Abu Dhabi Authority on Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the Emirates Natural History Group that made the discovery. “Sometime between 5 and 11 million years ago—some believe it is between 6 and 8 million years ago—both large animals and plants populated what today is a desert region. Animal fossils found in the region include remains of elephants and elephant footprints, hippopotamuses, turtles, crocodiles, and the like. Some plant remains are relatives to the Acacia,” says Haider. Haidar is testing whether these sediments were all deposited in a continental environment, or whether there was some sea-level change, leading to the deposition of some marine sediments. “The samples were collected and brought to be analyzed at AUB because there are no microscopic and lab facilities at ADACH useful to detect the very small marine nannofossils called coccolithophores,” explains Haidar. Finding coccolithophores would help date sediments and aid in a detailed reconstruction of the environment in which some of these large fossils lived. If coccolithophores are not found, this would indicate the absence of an old pelagic marine environment. The project is being done in collaboration with Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.

“Unprecedented environmental change is undisputable. We have better science, a more informed public, and a more proactive private sector but are yet to cross the threshold of sustained action and staying power to reverse the negative trends of environmental decline.”

FAFS Professor of Land and Water Resources Rami Zurayk contributed two chapters in the GEO 4 report, a comprehensive UN report on environment, development, and human well-being.

Dr. Rose-Mary Boustany
director of the Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute, was awarded the Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research Grant of $1,750,000 over five years with Dr. Susan Cotman from the Harvard Medical School who will be the junior coprincipal investigator. The award funds Boustany’s research: "Galactosylceramide as a Potential Treatment for Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis." On January 1, Boustany was also elected a fellow of the American Pediatric Society, which brings together men and women for the advancement of the study of children’s diseases, the prevention of illness, the promotion of health in childhood, and the promotion of pediatric education and research.

Current Research

Antenna Design
Mohammed Husseini, who is working under the supervision of Professor Karim Kabalan, is enrolled in AUB’s PhD program in electrical and computer engineering (ECE). Since completing his BE and ME at AUB, he has been working as a research assistant for Professors Karim Kabalan and Ali El Hajj both in AUB’s ECE Department. Although he has only been a PhD student since fall 2007, he has already authored more than 10 journal articles and many conference papers.

“The purpose of my research,” explains Husseini, “is to design low-cost, easyto- fabricate antennas for use in wireless and other applications and to make sure these antennas operate as dictated by the application.”

In addition to its relevance for wireless communication systems, Husseini’s research also has potential medical applications—in breast cancer detection for example. “In this case,” says Husseini, “an antenna sends a well-shaped pulse over a short distance.” How the body reacts to this “well-shaped pulse” is key to detecting breast cancer. The healthy body cells reflect the pulse in a certain way whereas cancerous cells will reflect the pulse in a different way.

Husseini is intrigued by the challenge of relating his research to the needs of industry. “Every application comes with its own set of requirements. You need to understand these requirements and the needs of the market in order to conduct research that will result in products with real-life uses.” As a result of the significant investments that AUB has made in its engineering laboratories in recent years, Husseini —and others conducting research in this field—are now able to fabricate and test some of the types of antennas they are researching at AUB. However, they need additional equipment to handle the more sophisticated designs that they are currently sending to Europe and the United States for fabrication.

Husseini is one of four PhD students in electrical and computer engineering this year. Professor Karim Kabalan, chair of the department and Husseini’s adviser, says that the goal of the department is to provide high quality education in electrical and computer engineering that prepares students for employment and leadership roles in academic, industrial, or research positions. “When students leave here with a PhD,” he explains, “we expect them to have a depth of knowledge in their specific area of research, experience in doing independent research and communicating the results effectively, and have made a published contribution to the existing knowledge in electrical and computer engineering.

Reuse newspaper
Use crumpled newspaper to clean mirrors and glass; substitute shredded or crumpled paper for Styrofoam packing materials; use paper instead of chemical lighter fluid to start a BBQ; place folded squares of newspaper between plates and bowls to store fragile dishware.


March 5-15: AUB psychology majors Nadine Adhami and Tala Arakji starred in the play, The Open Couple, by leftist Italian playwright, actor, and Nobel laureate in literature Dario Fo. Directed in Arabic by Sharif Adbelnour of the Department of Fine Arts and Art History, The Open Couple is a social comedy on marriage and duplicity.

“Freshwater: The Sounds of Indigenous Australia, Traditional and Contemporary Music in English and Indigenous Languages” was presented by four Australian women vocalists of aboriginal ancestry in a concert at Bathish Auditorium on February 10 and 11.

The AUB Music Club launched a fourday concert series on February 26 featuring contemporary styles of punk, jazz, acid jazz, alternative, progressive as well as some new experimental, oriental, and Latin music. Club President Rasha Abuhamad described the club’s effort to provide a variety of music styles in hopes of “breaking the typical punk and heavy metal image students seem to have of the club.”

Focus on... ESDU

As the Middle East becomes more urbanized and what were once agriculturally fertile lands and open spaces are replaced by buildings, parking lots, and housing complexes, there is a growing interest in urban agriculture throughout the region. Examples of urban agriculture include backyard gardens and rooftop greenhouses, public land farming in spaces around mosques, municipal parks, and initiatives to raise livestock in densely populated neighborhoods. Promoting urban agriculture is just one of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit’s (ESDU) current initiatives.

AUB’s ESDU was established in 2001 to harness university expertise in support of efforts to promote community development and sustainable agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa. ESDU Coordinator Professor Shady Hamadeh explains that he and his colleagues are committed to making the latest research available to the user and policy-making communities. “We want our research to be grounded in the needs of local people, to be meaningful and useful to them,” he says.

In January 2005, ESDU, which includes faculty and staff primarily from AUB’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, joined forces with the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to organize a regional course on urban agriculture for 25 participants from eight cities in the Middle East and North Africa: Baalbeck, Lebanon; Amman, Jordan; Damascus, Syria; Zabid, Yemen; Gaza and Jericho in Palestine; Setif, Algeria; and Tunis, Tunisia.

These cities were chosen in part because they were wrestling with some of the most common challenges for urban agriculture in the region. For example, officials in Baalbeck are working to preserve the city’s rich history while also meeting the demands from the growing tourism and agricultural sectors. Public authorities in Amman are facing increasing urban pressure resulting in part from the huge influx of refugees caused by the ongoing Iraq war and one of the most severe water shortages in the world. People in Gaza and Jericho are looking for alternatives to the prime agricultural land they can no longer access because of the separation wall that Israel is building.

In September 2005, the course became a traveling workshop as it was offered in Beirut, Damascus, and Amman. AUB professors and regional experts taught specialized modules on different urban agricultural systems in the Middle East (farming, production, food supply including processing and marketing, and waste reuse); access to water; access to land; environmental considerations; and food security and health dimensions, and offered participants concrete opportunities to explore the practical aspects of these different modules in the three cities hosting the workshop.

Ziad Moussa (BS ’92, MS ’96), who as regional coordinator works tirelessly to promote ESDU’s urban agriculture initiative, is quick to point out that this workshop was far more than just a training course. “From the beginning,” he says, “our intention was that participants would complete the course and then generate proposals for action research and concrete intervention in cities in the region.” And this is exactly what happened.

Workshop participants launched pilot projects in Amman, Jordan; Ariana, Tunisia; Baalbeck, Lebanon; Setif, Algeria; and in Gaza and Jericho, Palestine. Although there have been challenges, there have also been some notable successes: the production of medicinal, succulent, and fragrant plants in home gardens in poor districts in Amman, Jordan; the establishment of organic urban home gardens to grow medicinal and aromatic plants in Baalbeck; the formation of urban agriculture committees to raise awareness and coordinate activities in Gaza; an initiative to encourage urbanization and agriculture in the Oued Boussellam Valley in Setif; and the use of rooftop water systems in Tunis to collect, stock, and reuse rainwater in urban agriculture.

ESDU has been chosen as one of seven regional centers and coordinates activities in the Middle East and North Africa for the Resources Centers on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) Foundation program. “Our involvement in urban agriculture has been growing exponentially” says Moussa. “We now run projects across MENA as part of RUAF’s Cities Farming for the Future initiative and helped to design the next phase of the project— "From Seed to Table"—that will focus primarily on strengthening urban farmers associations and address urban agricultural production from a value chain perspective.”


Introduction to US Foreign Policy and Islamist Politics
(University Press of Florida, 2008) by Ahmad S. Moussalli
Moussalli argues that moderate Islam, despite being widely perceived as “symbols of Western imperialism,” can accommodate modern globalization and democratization without giving rise to Islamic fundamentalism. Moussalli provides evidence that many popular Islamic groups support and promote pluralism, democracy, and human rights, and argues that it is therefore possible for globalization and democratization to succeed. The latter is hindered by US policy failures in the region, which have generated a great deal of distrust among Islamic societies. Moussalli suggests specific and practical changes in US foreign policy, and recommends that the United States implement a “post-Cold War” policy in the Arab world by persuading Islamic societies that those two concepts could be incorporated into an Islamic worldview.
Ahmad Moussalli is a professor in the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration.

Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11
(Olive Branch Press, 2007) by Jack G. Shaheen.
Before 9/11, Shaheen dissected Hollywood’s equation of Islam and Arabs with violence in Reel Bad Arabs, his comprehensive study of over a thousand movies. Arabs and Muslims, he showed, were used as shorthand for the “Enemy” and the “Other.” In his new book about films made after 9/11, Shaheen finds the same malevolent stereotypes at play. Nearly all of Hollywood’s post-9/11 films legitimize a view of Arabs as stereotyped villains-sheikhs, Palestinians, or terrorists. Along with an examination of a hundred recent movies, Shaheen addresses the cultural issues at play since 9/11: the government’s public relations campaigns to win “hearts and minds” and the impact of 9/11 on citizens and on the imagination. He suggests that winning the “war on terror” would take shattering the century-old stereotypes of Arabs. He calls for speaking out, for more Arab Americans in the film industry, for fresh films, and for a serious effort on the part of the US government to tackle this problem.
Shaheen recently lectured on campus and held a book signing in the AUB Bookstore. Jack G. Shaheen is author of the bestselling encyclopedia of Arabs in Hollywood: Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People.
Shaheen was a Fulbright Scholar at AUB, 1974–75.