Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4
We must strive to remember the young medical students we
were thirty years ago, working together to help the injured without regard
to religious or political views.
Tawfik Zein (MD 77) chairman of AUB alumni in the Eastern Province
of Saudi Arabia.
Our class, the class of 1977, witnessed a major part of
the Lebanese Civil War. Two of our premedical classmates and one classmate
from second-year medicine were killed. In a perverse way, however, it
was a good year because the war gave us the opportunity for unparalleled
training. The American University Hospital (AUH) opened its doors to all
casualties, regardless of religion or political affiliation.
Although tensions were high all around Lebanon and the country was polarized
between competing factions, the staff at AUH maintained their professionalism
and integrity at all times. Their determination gave them strength and
kept them going during the long hours they worked treating casualties.
Because it was too dangerous to venture outside, many of us slept at the
hospital for weeks before going home for a day or two and then returning
to the hospital. The streets were divided among ethnic groups, and kidnappings
and killings were common.
After graduating from AUB, I did my urology training in the United States
and sub-specialized in urologic oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute
in New York State. In 1989, I moved to Saudi Arabia with my family to
work with Aramco in the Urology Department of their hospital, and in 1998
I joined the newly formed AUB alumni committee. Learning from the excellent
work of other committees, we decided to keep the AUB community interactive
and connectedsomething we have continued to do. We often have joint
events with our colleagues in Bahrain, for example. Our alumni committee
also started an endowment scholarship fund at AUB. I am very proud that
we have raised enough money to pay the tuition for eight students already.
We also help the AUB director of admissions recruit new applicants to
the University by arranging visits and meetings with families of prospective
Looking at old pictures from my years as an AUB medical student, I realize
that our class is dispersed all over the world, with the majority in the
United States, some in the Gulf, and a small minority in Lebanon. Working
with other alumni chapters for Class Reunion 2007, we were inspired by
the idea of reuniting like a familya chance to renew old memories
and also a chance to get back in touch with each other. Like our alumni
committee in the Eastern Province, the Class of MD 77 is a diverse
group in terms of its specialties and studies, yet we work hand in hand
to promote AUB and its commitment to liberal education, tolerance, non-sectarianism,
and critical thinking.
We must strive to remember the young medical students we were thirty years
ago, working together to help the injured, without regard to religious
or political views. One of the great lessons I learned at AUB was tolerance.
I learned that if people let themselves get to know each other better,
they will learn that their differences really stem from divergent perceptions
and perspectives of their specific cultures. If all Lebanese are taught
tolerance and to feel a sense of belonging and commitment to Lebanon,
the country will survive and peace and harmony will prevail. email@example.com
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