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Three Words...
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Between Bahrain and AUB
 

Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3

Alumni Happenings

WAAAUB Concludes Its First Convention

In his opening remarks at WAAAUB’s first annual convention, President Waterbury addressed AUB alumni: “Do not think for a minute that you, as alumni, cannot make a difference.” As the only alumni association recognized by AUB, WAAAUB leadership and members are already rising to this challenge. More than 100 participants from 17 countries including presidents and representatives from 25 alumni chapters in Lebanon, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, and Europe participated in the convention on the AUB campus January 11–13.

It was a unique opportunity for chapter presidents, representatives, and alumni from around the world to meet and exchange their views on issues of interest to them and their Alma Mater.

The opening session featured speeches by AUB President John Waterbury, WAAAUB President HE Khalil Makkawi, WAAAUB Council Chair Faisal Mutawa, and a keynote speech by HE Najib Mikati. During the general meeting of the WAAAUB Board of Directors and Alumni Council, representatives from ten alumni chapters made presentations. Later that afternoon, WAAAUB Council and Board members convened to hear the three WAAAUB Standing Committees present their strategies and goals. After discussion and amendments, the proposed strategies were approved. Participants ended the first day of meetings with a festive dinner overlooking the Mediterranean.

During the final session on January 13, alumni-at-large and the Alumni Council contributed additional comments and suggestions on various aspects of WAAAUB strategies and policies.

Contacting Alumni Trustees:
As reported in the winter 2008 Main- Gate, three alumni were elected to the AUB Board of Trustees through the global WAAAUB elections. This is a historic first for alumni and AUB. These alumni trustees will be working to strengthen the ties and increase communication between the AUB Board, WAAAUB, and all alumni. The WAAAUB alumni trustee names can be found at http://www.aub.edu.lb/development/waaaub/Elections_results_07.pdf

They look forward to hearing from you by email: alumnibot@aub.edu.lb

The WAAAUB Board of Directors, the Alumni Council, and its standing committees have already begun to implement their strategies and goals. They look forward to involving as many alumni as possible in these activities.

WAAAUB Chapters Committee
Recognizing that there are enormous opportunities for alumni chapters to learn from each other by sharing their knowledge of activities and operations, WAAAUB has established a committee for chapters that will:
• Visit chapters
• Organize regional gatherings of chapter representatives
• Share the work of WAAAUB’s other standing committees and its leadership    with alumni chapters.

Contact the Chapters Committee at
waaaub-chapters-committee@aub.edu.lb


WAAAUB Programs Committee

The mission of this committee is to develop new and exciting programs for alumni as well as to support and expand existing activities such as the annual class reunion. New programs in the works include:
• Annual event for young alumni such as a graduation celebration trip
• Alumni benefits package to include items such as business and travel  discounts.

Contact the Programs Committee at: waaaub-program-committee@aub.edu.lb

WAAAUB Outreach Committee
This committee is responsible for reaching out to all alumni and involving them in WAAAUB, AUB, and with each other. The committee’s objectives in the coming year include:
• Updating the coordinates and contact information for alumni Locating “lost” alumni
• Producing a WAAAUB e-newsletter to keep alumni informed of news from WAAAUB, AUB, and fellow alumni.

Contact the Outreach Committee at: waaaub-outreach-committee@aub.edu.lb

WAAAUB Committee for Nominations
The Committee for Nominations shall nominate:
• Members to serve as at-large members and recent graduate members of  the Alumni Council
• A member of the Alumni Council to serve as council chair
• Members of the WAAAUB Board of Directors
• Members for election to the University’s Board of Trustees.

Contact the Committee for Nomination at: waaaubnominations@aub.edu.lb

Visit http://www.aub.edu.lb/~webalumni for all WAAAUB news.

For a complete list of the members of the standing committees and their goals for the coming year, visit
http://wwwlb.aub.edu.lb/~webalumni/ pdf/Standing_Committees_Members.pdf

THREE WORDS...


Musings on a weekend with WAAAUB by committee member Elie Moussalli

. . . Looking out the picture window on the fourteenth floor of the hotel, the Clock Tower was to the left, and to the right, Sannine, a luminous and white with snow were reassuringly familiar. I am home. I started my short walk to the Medical Gate and wanted to enjoy the calm refuge of this lovely patch and what it meant to me.

After all the speeches and presentations, after all the heated debates, forceful representations and disagreements about this new creature called WAAAUB that we were in the process of bringing into existence, after the fancy dinner at Mandaloun sur Mer, after the Sunday morning reports from all three committees, I mused over three words that summed up the weekend for me.

First, a German word, heimweh, which implies a sense of connection to a place that far exceeds the inadequate English translation, home sickness. Think of Fairouz and what she evokes, especially the mind of the Lebanese and you get close to the meaning of heimweh. We came from as far as Pakistan and North America and all points in between to this cherished patch on the Eastern Mediterranean because we are connected to it collectively by a sense of a past that goes back 140 years and hope for a bright future.

The second word, wabisabi, is Japanese and is actually composed of two words, wabi and sabi and is difficult to translate. The combined word can connote a quality of austere and serene beauty expressing a mood of spiritual solitude. It can also mean simple, as in not particularly gorgeous, but also special and dear. An extension of this meaning is valuing the imperfect or appreciating imperfection. Certainly the WAAAUB we were trying to create was less than perfect, which, paradoxically, is good. We need to embrace and appreciate our imperfection because therein lies the potential for continued improvement and adaptation.

The third one is not a word but a phrase in Latin. Nunc est bibendum, literally, “now is the time to drink,” an invitation to celebrate. And boy did we celebrate! You just had to be at the Mandaloun sur Mer on that Saturday night to feel the collective and infectious exuberance there.

So let us continue to cherish this beautiful campus of ours and what it stands for; let us appreciate our imperfections and move on, and let us celebrate our accomplishments.

Elie Moussalli (BS ’69, MS ’72)

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MIDDLE EAST

Abu Dhabi Association
On December 14 the AUB Alumni Association Committee of Abu Dhabi held its 21st annual AUB Royal Family Fun Day at the West Wing of the Emirates Palace. More than 650 AUB alumni and friends attended the outdoor event with their families. It was a perfectly sunny day to enjoy the beach, the pool, and the lazy river at the Emirates Palace.

On January 14 Committee President Gisele Nasser and members Ramzi Kteily and Jirji Bsheer visited the AUB campus to present a check for $100,000, part of the chapter’s generous annual donation to its Endowment Fund.

Bahrain Chapter
The founding members of the AUB Alumni Society in Bahrain held board elections on February 23 at PRIME premises in the presence of 21 members and two representatives from the Ministry of Social Development. Shaikha Mai Al Otaibi was elected president, Salma Basha vice president, Zahra Tabbara secretary, Munira Al Zoubi treasurer, Janan Habib chairperson of the Cultural and Social Committee, Adnan Bseisou public relations office liaison with AUB, Beirut, and Dhafer Al Umran communication officer. The board invites all AUB alumni in Bahrain to join this society by emailing aubalumnibahrain@ gmail.com.

Read an article on the historic links between Bahrain and AUB, written by Dr. Abdul-Rahman Abdallah Bou Ali, in MainGate on-line.

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Eastern Province Chapter
On February 14 the Eastern Province Alumni Branch celebrated Valentine’s Day at the Pizza Pomodoro Restaurant in the Golden Tulip Hotel in Bahrain. More than 120 alumni from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain attended this dinner, and the chapter was proud to welcome Lebanese Ambassador to Bahrain Aziz Azzi and his family and First Secretary Myrna Khawly.

Riyadh Chapter
The WAAAUB Riyadh Chapter held its first grand event for the year on February 7. The Winter Gala Dinner was a huge success, with tickets selling out two weeks in advance. More than 450 alumni, friends, and distinguished guests attended the dinner party. The chapter collected a record number of contributions and grants to benefit the Riyadh Chapter Scholarship Fund. Many guests won valuable prizes including airline tickets and vacation packages donated by respected companies in Saudi Arabia. Because of the success of the gala dinner, the Riyadh Chapter is planning to organize a joint activity with the Jeddah and the Eastern Province chapters later this spring. The Riyadh Chapter would like to thank all its friends who made this event possible and contributed to its success.

NORTH AMERICA

Greater Washington Chapter
On the evening of March 5 the lovely residence of HE Ambassador Chedid, Lebanon’s envoy in the United States, was transformed into a bustling art gallery for an event organized by the Greater Washington, DC Chapter. Works by George Akl and Choucrallah Fattouh, two of Lebanon’s most prominent painters, were displayed in an exhibit entitled Nostalgia and Hope. Ambassador Chedid noted that “the evening is an occasion to show the beautiful side of Lebanon, one that is alive and well, even if the news coming from our country isn’t always good. Here we are together and united. And that is how it should be everywhere.” Chapter President Ghada Rihani added that while Lebanon has a lively arts scene, “we only hear about conflict, dissention, and violence. While this does exist, the country remains a great source of inspiration. We wanted to put together this exhibition as an act of ‘cultural diplomacy.’” While enjoying the hospitality of Ambassador and Mrs. Chedid, guests perused the captivating imagery relating to Lebanon and beyond. Alumni purchased many paintings that evening, with proceeds benefiting the Greater Washington, DC Scholarship Fund. The chapter thanks the evening’s sponsors for their generous support: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ciccipio, Gabro Printing, and Papyrus Design.

More On-line

Why recycle?
Recycling of one aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

Ohio Valley Chapter
On February 16 Midwestern AUBites from Cincinnati, Dayton, and northern Kentucky got together for the first time at the home of Thor and Ingrid Jacobs in Cincinnati, Ohio and had lots of fun networking and reminiscing about their days at AUB. It was only the second event in the chapter’s short history, established in August 2007. Membership includes alumni from Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, and northern Kentucky. More than 20 people gathered around a rich assortment of Middle Eastern foods and drinks. During her address, Chapter President Hala Zahreddine described the recent history of the chapter, its core values, goals, and vision for the future. Alumni are enthusiastically planning future dinners and cultural gatherings. For new and upcoming events, check www.aub.edu.lb/alumni or contact ohiovalleychapter@cox.net.

Midwest Chapter
On February 23 the Midwest Chapter had its annual gala banquet at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Chicago. World renowned historian Rashid Khalidi, professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and the director of the Middle East Institute of the School of International and Public Affairs, kicked off the event with a presentation, “The New Cold War in the Middle East: the US and Iran,” which was followed by a question and answer session. The banquet afterwards was capped off with a live band that had alumni dancing past midnight. Alumni who braved the thick snow that covered Chicago that evening were rewarded with many opportunities to renew old friendships. The success of the evening relied on the efforts of the chapter board members and their spouses, Vice President Michel Ilbawi, Secretary Marlene Abi Mansour, Treasurer Raffy Hovanessian, and particularly, President A. Tekian.