Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4
Inside the Gate
Views from Campus
138th Commencement Exercises: Lebanons Recovery Lies
in Its New Graduates
AUB held its 138th commencement exercises on June 30 at
the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure (BIEL) Center, graduating
1,499 students from six faculties. The ceremony featured speeches by President
John Waterbury, AUB Trustee and former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and
University Student Faculty Committee (USFC) Vice President Lama Andari.
After asking everyone to join him in a moment of silence for those who
have had their lives snatched away, President Waterbury went
on to urge students to use the experience and knowledge they had acquired
at AUB to make remarkable changes in the country and the regionand
not to lose hope.
A year ago, in this very place, the world looked somewhat different.
I cannot say that optimism was the order of the day, but a sense of possibility
did prevail. A few weeks after Commencement, the July War broke out. Physical
destruction, the loss of human life, political stalemate, and economic
But do not lose hope. The accomplishments of
our speaker today will tell you and all of us why not to lose hope,
said President Waterbury.
Trustee Najib Mikati, who gave the keynote address, expressed his high
hopes in AUBs graduates whose university education will help resolve
national conflicts. Education is a strong dream, our courage an
incentive to turn this dream into a reality. So lets dream of a
country united in its rich diversity, stable in solid productivity, prosperous
with the entrepreneurial spirit and work opportunities and fair play.
Lets work towards this goal, solid of will and action
is the country of pluralism, with the rich diversity of religion, culture,
and thought. At the heart of all dreams, a tangible reality, the epicenter.
The ambitious country worthy of sacrifice, worthy of your belonging to
him, once you dispel extremism and fanaticism, said Trustee Mikati.
In her speech, Lama Andari also spoke of what she and her fellow students
might be able to do. With our degrees, not our guns, we will in
years to come together wipe the tears, working hard to alleviate the fears.
From the ashes of these turbulent times, like the phoenix, once again
we will with Lebanon rise.
Honorary Degree Ceremony 2007
AUB conferred three Doctor of Humane Letters degrees on
the occasion of the Universitys 138th Commencement on June 30. The
recipients this year were Syrian-Lebanese poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said),
Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine, who was unable to attend because
of illness, and Middle Eastern historian André Raymond. Former
Ambassador Charles Hostler was awarded an honorary doctorate when he visited
AUB in May to dedicate the Charles Hostler Student Center.
President John Waterbury opened the ceremony with a salute to the
brave victims of the recent conflict in Lebanon.
After thanking all the attendees for coming to the ceremony in such
troubled times, Waterbury praised the role of the university by
saying: Today, through these three great men, these three great
creators, we celebrate the true language of the university, the language,
scholarly and artistic, of the constant striving of humans to understand
one another, and to construct an environment in which diversity can enrich
our lives rather than destroy them.
Adonis is known not only as an innovative poet, the forerunner of poetic
modernism in the Arab world, but also as a literary critic, essayist,
editor of anthologies, and a translator. Born and raised in Syria, the
poet assumed the name Adonis at age 17. He became a Lebanese citizen in
1961 and currently lives in Paris. The author of many books of poetry,
several of which have been translated into English, Adonis has been nominated
several times for the Nobel Prize in literature.
Youssef Chahine, who has been active in the Egyptian film
industry since 1950, began his prodigious career that year with Baba Amin.
Only one year later he was invited to show Nile Boy at the Cannes Film
Festival. In 1997, at the 50th anniversary of the festival he was granted
Canness Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the director of more than
Professor Emeritus (University of Provence) André Raymond has been
described as the premier social historian of the Arab world.
His innovative methodology brought enormous change in the way the history
of Arab cities has been interpreted. Following his major work, Artisans
et commerçants du Caire au XVIIIe siècle, first published
in 1973, he continued to write books and scholarly articles on Arab cities,
which have enormously influenced historians of the Middle East for the
past four decades.
Inauguration of the Charles W. Hostler Student Center
AUB faculty, board members, and students gathered on May
3 for the inauguration of the Charles W. Hostler Student Center and the
ceremony to award Ambassador Charles W. Hostler (MA 55), former
US ambassador to Bahrain, an honorary doctoral degree. The construction
of the center, which will become fully operational in fall 2007, was made
possible by Hostlers $11.7 million gift. An environmentally-friendly
building, the Hostler Center will include a 300-seat auditorium, a basketball
court with spectator seating, two squash courts, a swimming pool, activity
rooms, showers, and changing areas.
AUB Launches Eight PhD Programs in 2007
In fall 2007, AUB will launch eight PhD programs in Arab
and Middle Eastern history, Arabic language and literature, cell and molecular
biology, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, environmental
and water resources engineering, mechanical engineering, and theoretical
physics. AUB froze PhD programs after the start of the civil war in 1975.
The eight programs, which have been reviewed by the New York State Education
Department, will create an environment of creativity and scientific
inquiry, says Provost Heath. President Waterbury describes the reintroduction
of PhD programs at AUB as a giant step toward AUBs aspiration
to be a research power house in this region.
Promoting American Universities in the Middle East
President John Waterbury participated in a tour in late
March to promote American universities in the Middle East with President
David Arnold (American University in Cairo), President Joseph Jabbra (Lebanese
American University), and Chancellor Winfred Thompson (American University
of Sharjah). During their visits to Washington, DC and New York, the four
leaders met with senior officials from the State Department and US Agency
for International Development, members of the Council on Foreign Relations,
representatives from the media, and the Arab Bankers Association of North
America. They also participated in a public forum on American university
higher education in the Middle East at Columbia Universitys School
of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) on March 30. We see ourselves
preparing a future leadership that can enter into constructive dialogue
with the United States and the West, said President Waterbury.
These four institutions represent the best aspects of American education,
society, and culture. In many ways, theyre the best possible face
this country could be putting forward in the region, said President
New Look for AUBMCs Website
AUBMC has redesigned its website to celebrate 140 years
of medical education and 100 years of health care. The new website features
news, an animated photo gallery of photographs from the 19th century to
the present, e-cards, virtual tours of the medical center, screen savers,
and wallpaper downloads. To find out more visit: http://www.aubmc.org.lb/users/index.asp
On May 10, the 41st annual Middle East Medical Assembly
(MEMA) began its celebrations of the Faculty of Medicines 140th
anniversary and the AUB Medical Centers 100th anniversary. The conference,
which was attended by local and international medical scientists and physicians,
took place at AUBMC, Van Dyck Hall, Issam Fares Hall, and the Saab Medical
Library. Chaired by Dr. Aghiad Kutoubi, professor and chairman of the
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, MEMAs program included discussions
of life support; infectious diseases; liver transplants; blood cancers
and bone marrow transplants; medical, surgical, and social aspects of
obesity; orthopedics; pediatrics; plastic surgery and body contouring;
and primary care. A photo exhibit documenting the history of the school
by Dr. Raif Nassif was on display throughout the conference at Issam Fares
Hall. There was a minute of silence during the assembly in honor of Dr.
Marwan Uwaydah, professor of bacteriology, virology, and internal medicine,
who passed away on April 3.
Building 23: Pierre Y. Aboukhater (Fahed) Building
Located across from the Medical Gate, this four-story building
that has undergone extensive renovation is scheduled to be operational
by late summer. It will include the Wound Center in the Graham and Meredith
Rooke Wing in the basement, private clinics for rheumatology/pathology
and blood drawing/endocrinology on the first floor, private clinics for
internal medicine and nephrology/hypertension on the second floor, and
private clinics for dermatology including minor surgery and phototherapy
rooms on the third and fourth floors. There will also be a garden where
patients and families can recuperate and relax. Work on the second phase
will begin when the Olayan School of Business (OSB), which is currently
occupying the west wing of the building, moves to the new OSB Building
in September 2008.
Building 56 is also undergoing major remodeling, which should be
completed by this fall. The St. Jude Childrens Cancer Center of
Lebanon (CCCL) outpatient services, currently located across from AUBs
Continuing Education Center, will move to the basement of Building 56
with access from Clemenceau Street. The building will also be home to
the University Health Services (UHS) on the first floor, the Naef K. Basile
Outpatient Cancer Center, the Psychiatry Wing, the Hospital Information
System, and administrative offices for CCCL and UHS.
Newly Renovated Emergency Department
Fully renovated and operational since March 2006, the AUBMC
Emergency Department (ED) is expanding its services to include the establishment
of the first academic Department of Emergency Medicine in the region.
The ED now offers a 24-hour, 7 day a week service and, as of July 2007,
is continuously staffed with attending faculty who individually monitor
patients. Amin A. Nabih Kazzi (BS 83), MD, FAAEM is medical director
of Emergency Unit Services.
The ED now uses a multiple zoning system that screens patients according
to the type and severity of the case. This state-of-the-art facility is
equipped with wireless communication that links all members of the department,
portable X-Rays, and restricted magnetic cards that are used to stop elevators
to transport patients requiring urgent MRIs and CT scans available in
the basement of the hospital. There are 17 patient monitors with color
coding tracking systems in each cubicle that facilitate non-verbal and
quick communication among the medical staff. Observation rooms, a clinical
decision unit, a psychiatric room, and one negative-pressure isolation
room are also part of the new configuration.
One of the most important changes in the ED is the establishment of patient
record status electronic charts that doctors can consult easily and from
many locations. This automated dashboard system allows doctors to track
patients conditions, test results, duration of stay, and release.
The department has 33 beds and can accommodate up to 200 patients in case
of external disasters resulting in mass casualties.
New Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities, the new
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will occupy an expanded area that
includes the old NICU and the space that was previously occupied by the
regular nursery. Located on the 7th floor of the hospital, the new NICU
will be adjacent to the delivery rooms and the obstetrics and gynecology
units to allow mothers easy access to their NICU babies. NICU will include
up to 22 beds in the intensive care and intermediate care sections.
There will be a breast-feeding room, and another room where parents can
spend one night with their babies to get used to caring for them before
they are discharged from the hospital. There will be a procedure room
with multi purpose facilities, a conference room with multi-media equipment,
a nurse station and lounge, a milk kitchen, and a small lab. The new NICU,
which will be the largest unit in Lebanon, will also feature skylights
in response to new US hospital regulations that require entry of natural
light to ensure a better work environment.
Breaking the Silence
This spring, the Standing Committee on Medical Education
and the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee organized a
Lebanese sign language course, entitled Breaking the Silence.
Dr. Hussein Ismail, director of the Learning Center of the Deaf in Baabda
and a graduate of Gallaudet University in the United States, conducted
a course for 45 AUB students on how to effectively communicate with deaf
AUBMCs First Telemedicine Project
AUBMC launched its first telemedicine project on April 19
with the Nabatiyeh Governmental Hospital, through a donation made by Intel
Corporation. The project enables physicians from the two hospitals to
conduct medical consultations, share data, and diagnose patients using
a point-to-point high-speed 2-megabits-per-second broadband
internet connection. The project is part of a larger initiative, the Partnership
for Lebanon, which includes Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, GHAFARI
Inc., Microsoft, and Occidental Petroleum.
According to Nadim Cortas, vice president for medical affairs and the
Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, this project will
facilitate AUBMCs active participation in providing health care
to remote areas in a more efficient and less costly manner. During
the first telemedicine consultation, Drs. Kibbi, chair of the Dermatology
Department, Mroueh, associate professor of pediatrics, and Bitar, a pediatric
cardiologist at AUB were able to view a pediatric patients symptoms
on a monitor and then advise Dr. Ghanem at the Nabatiyeh Governmental
Hospital on treatment.
From the Faculties
Setting Higher Goals in Business Leadership and Journalism
The Olayan School of Business launched the Kamal Shair Strategic
Leadership Executive Program on April 4, the first of its kind in the
Arab world. According to OSB Dean George Najjar, the program will be a
great asset since leadership is what allows people to build institutions
that last and to transform organizations in ways that could not have been
Earlier that week the school also launched the OSBReuters
Business Information Academy to improve the quality of business journalism
in the Middle East. The academy will offer specialized diploma programs
and a degree program beginning in spring 2008. Najjar explained that the
Reuters Business Information Academy will raise the standard of business
journalism by refining the skills of journalists and providing a networking
forum for media and businessmen.
Promoting Renewable Energy Research
In 2006, Professor Emeritus Fateh Sakkal established an
annual Renewable Energy Graduate Thesis Award to promote research in the
field of renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency with special applications
to Lebanon. The $3,000 annual award is given to a mechanical engineering
graduate student at AUB who is writing a masters thesis on some
aspect of renewable energy.
The Sakkal Award was given for the first time on June 1, 2006 to Mohamed
Ayoub, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
for his thesis, Simplified Thermal Model for Designing Displacement
Ventilation and Chilled Ceiling Systems in Humid Climates. His work
addressed the feasibility of using a hybrid HVAC system (chilled ceiling
with displacement ventilation) in Beirut that used solar energy to dehumidify
the supply of outdoor air into the building, which would consume less
energy than the conventional air conditioning method.
Mounir Mossolly was selected to receive the award in 2007 for his thesis,
Optimal Control Strategy for a Displacement Ventilation Combined
with a Chilled Ceiling HVAC System Using Genetic Algorithm, which
looks at how changing cooling control strategies and optimizing operational
parameters can improve air conditioning system performance and reduce
energy consumption and costs.
Robert Fisk on Disengagement in the Middle East
Middle East journalist Robert Fisk was invited by CASAR to give a
talk on April 26 entitled After the Collapse: Disengagement in the
Middle East. Known for his outspoken criticism of Western foreign
policy in the Middle East, Fisk argued that the war on Iraq was never
about spreading democracy but about pursuing oil. Fisk urged the people
of the Middle East to resist Western involvement in political affairs
and to make their own foreign policy decisions.
Former Sudanese PM Warns Arab countries
Sudans former prime minister and leader of al-Ummah opposition party,
Imam Sadeq Al-Mahdi gave a public lecture on April 23 at the end of a
two-day workshop organized by the Issam Fares Institute and the Heinrich
Böll Foundation on currents of change and reform in the Arab world.
During his talk, Al-Mahdi warned Arab countries that if they do not overcome
their shortcomings, their youth will continue to emigrate to the West
or succumb to the extremism of Al-Qaeda-like organizations, because they
are not accustomed to reconciling Arab identity with modernization and
Lebanese-American Pollster John Zogby Rebuts Claims of
Clash of Civilizations
Lebanese-American pollster and president and CEO of Zogby International
John Zogby spoke at AUB on March 19 in an event organized by the Center
for American Studies and Research (CASAR) and the Issam Fares Institute
for Public Policy and International Affairs.
In a talk entitled Love, Hate, Envy, or Respect? Recent Trends in
Arab and American Public Opinion, Zogby traced trends in Arab and
American public opinion and concluded that there is no clash of
civilizations between East and West. He pointed out that if you
look at the top ten things that Arabs want most, they correspond to the
same top ten things cited by Canadians or Americans. Another positive
trend which Zogbys polls have revealed is that a substantial number
of Americans are interested in knowing more about Arabs, and that those
who are interested in learning about Arabs have a more positive attitude
towards Arabs than those who dont.
Helping Armenian Students
The chair of the Armenian Students Fund (ASF) Committee, John Chakardemian,
a senior business student, and other members of the ASF Committee are
dedicated to providing other Armenian students with the opportunity to
attend AUB. The members of the ASF Committee, a subcommittee of the Lebanese
Armenian Heritage Club (LAHC), organized ASFs second annual fundraising
gala dinner for nearly 200 guests on March 16 to raise money for scholarships
for Armenian students. LAHC President Nareg Demirdjian, a final year mechanical
engineering student, says he decided to get involved with ASF because
it is a very helpful long-term project for Armenian students at AUB. As
the economic situation in Lebanon is deteriorating, this fund will give
bright Armenian students who are in financial need the opportunity to
attend the University
Helping in this way is important to me, because
I personally had a lot of difficulties in paying my own tuition fees at
AUB. I want to help others as much as I can and I expect those who
benefit from the fund, [will] help others in
turn, and so on...
International Sports Festival
A delegation of 86 athletes and officials from AUB traveled to Greece
to participate in the International Sports Festival March 15-19, which
was organized by the American College of Greece in conjunction with the
Association of American International Colleges and Universities. Competitions
were held in mens and womens soccer, basketball, volleyball,
tennis, and table tennis. AUBs mens and womens teams
did well: the womens basketball and soccer teams came in first while
the mens soccer and volleyball teams ranked second. AUB also took
first and second places in womens table tennis, first and third
places in mens table tennis, and ranked first among men and women
in the tennis tournament.
Alien species: Michel Bariche, assistant professor
of biology, presented a paper at the 38th CIESM Congress in Istanbul April
9-13 on the feeding ecology of a recently introduced fish predator to
the Mediterranean Sea. In his talk entitled Diet of Lessepsian Fistularia
Commersonii (Teleostei, Fistulariidae) Off the Coast of Lebanon: Preliminary
Results, Bariche presented results which showed that the Fistularia
Commersonii fish dines exclusively on native Mediterranean fish regardless
of the habitat in which it lives. This paper is part of a broader study
to examine the stomach contents of this invasive predator as a first
step towards assessing its feeding ecology in the new environment.
New in Underwater Archaeology: Ralph Pedersen, Department of History
and Archaeology, who was appointed to the Whittlesey Chair for 2006-07,
taught courses at AUB this past year in underwater archaeology, a subject
that has not been previously offered. A graduate of the State University
of New York, Pedersen specializes in nautical archaeology and spent 1984-89
excavating the shipwreck of Ulburum off the southeast coast of Turkey.
He has also conducted excavations in Eritrea, the United States, and in
Lebanon. Pedersen gave a talk at the AUB Museum on April 25 in which he
discussed the results of his excavations at Ulburum.
Honored at Harvard University: Samir Khalaf, professor of social
and behavioral sciences and director of the Center for Behavioral Research,
was honored April 23-24 by both the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
and the Program on Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.
The event, held in recognition of his outstanding teaching and research,
started with a lecture given by Professor Khalaf entitled New England
Missionaries as Precursors to Soft Power and Culture. The next day
Khalaf conducted a master class where four graduate students from Harvard
and MIT discussed sexuality, urbanism, violence, and identity. The four
students, a historian, anthropologist, urban planner, and a student of
science, technology, and society, presented statements on the relevance
of Khalafs work to Middle East studies, their own disciplines, and
personal research interests.
Elected to the AAP: Dr. Fuad Ziyadeh, acting chair of the Department
of Physiology and associate dean for academic affairs at the Faculty of
Medicine, has been elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP)
for his influential research on diabetic kidney disease. Ziyadeh, who
received both a BS in chemistry and biology (1976) and an MD (1980) from
AUB, was at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, for many years
before returning to AUB in October 2005 as professor of medicine and biochemistry.
In December 2005 he was appointed associate dean for academic affairs
at the Faculty of Medicine.
Studying Husbands and Housework: Marwan Khawaja, professor of epidemiology
and population health and director of the Center for Research on Population
and Health, recently published a study in the American Journal of Public
Health entitled Husbands Involvement in Housework and Womens
Psychological Health: Findings from a Population-Based Study in Lebanon.
The study examines the link between mens involvement in housework
and womens assessment of their own mental health, marital dissatisfaction,
and unhappiness. Not surprisingly, the study of 1,652 married couples
living in low-income neighborhoods of Beirut concludes that wives whose
husbands rarely help around the house are more likely to be dissatisfied
with their marriages and unhappy.
The Changing AUB Seal
The first AUB seal was designed when the Syrian Protestant
College was established in 1866. It featured a realistic rendering of
the cedar with Arabic text spelling out the name of the college and founding
year. This seal was used until the establishment of Greater Lebanon by
the French mandate in 1920. Not surprisingly, this political change necessitated
a redesign of the Universitys seal. Although the shape of the seal
and the look of the cedar were hardly altered, the introduction of both
English and Latin text was significant. In December 2001, the University
formed a committee to finalize the look of the AUB seal. Interestingly,
although the seal had always included a cedar, the appearance of the cedar
had changed noticeably over the years. The Archives and Special Collections
Department at Jafet Library provides an explanation for this transformation
from the original realistic cedar to the more abstract and almost block-like
cedar. It is believed that the extensive use of zinc stamps caused many
areas on the cedar to get worn down, thus creating this new look. Because
the new look had been widely embraced over the years, it was
officially adopted in 2001 as part of a redesign of the seal that included
a new rough-edged circle. The Arabic script was reworked by calligrapher
Nassib Makarem, father of Dr. Sami Makarem, a professor of Arabic at AUB.
As with any symbol, not everyone likes the AUB seal. Some wonder whether
it is appropriate for such a renowned institution with its awkward looking
cedar tree accentuated by the bulky branch protruding from its trunk.
Everyone does agree, however, that the AUB seal is loaded with history
and culture. Perhaps it is its imperfections that make it special, reminding
us of the human touch that has marked AUBs excellence.
Mirna Hamady (BA 09)
Exhibition April 1118: AUB hosted an exhibition in West Hall entitled
Fleeting Moments by Lebanese entomologist Riad Traboulsi.
Traboulsis 54 black and white photographs from his book, Fleeting
Moments, vividly capture his subjects in everyday activities in cities
Portraits Reflect Diversity
During the month of May, the Photography Club organized an exhibition
of 85 photographs in the West Hall Common Room and later at the Exhibition
Gallery of Jafet Library. Moza Al Naimi, a graduate student majoring in
marine biology, explained that her photos reflected the cultural diversity
of her Qatari-Bahraini background and of cultural life in the Arab Gulf
Making Music for Scholarships
Fundraising concerts for student aid are fast becoming a tradition at
AUB. For the past several years the Zaki Nassif Program, the Music Club
at AUB, and now Lebanese Diva Magida El Roumi and the AUB Scholarship
Fundraising Committee have held popular events to support various causes
on campus. On April 28, more than one thousand spectators including AUB
alumni and friends gathered at the Casino du Liban to watch El Roumi perform
songs of love and patriotism. This event, organized by the AUB Scholarship
Fundraising Committee to benefit AUBs financial aid program, is
the third collaboration between AUB and El Roumi. The AUB Scholarship
Fundraising Committee is currently chaired by HE Ambassador Khalil Makkawi
and supported by dedicated AUB graduates.