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Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4

Alumni Happenings

Middle East

Alumni Association–Abu Dhabi Branch
On May 10, the Abu Dhabi alumni held their most successful event of the year at the InterContinental Hotel, gathering close to 500 alumni and friends including the Palestinian Minister of Finance Salam Fayad, the Jordanian Ambassador Turky Alkrisha, and the Lebanese Attaché Bashir Azam. The keynote speakers were Arda Ekmekji (BA ’74), dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Hagazian University) and Khalil Bitar, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (AUB).

The branch’s annual book, which is a ten-year tradition, featured the theme of the event—the AUB museums. The dinner lasted until around 2 am and included a live musical performance by an Armenian band that plays “oldies” and Arab music.

Nursing Chapter
The Nursing Chapter had a general assembly on May 3 at the AUB Alumni Association building in Wardieh. The following new cabinet members were elected: Najwa Kais (BS ’80, MPH ’96), president; Nisrine Sidani (BS ’02, MSN ’06), vice president; Sarah Abboud (BS ’99), secretary; Nadine Ghobreel (BS ’99), corresponding secretary; and Suha Ballout (BS ’00), treasurer.

Europe

Alumni Association–Paris Branch
Around 200 AUB graduates and guests attended the AUB Alumni—Paris Branch Annual Dinner Gala at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand on Thursday, May 10. Everyone was treated to an exclusive fall/winter 2007/2008 Chloé fashion show, music by Greco-Lebanese soprano Matteo, and a tombola of valuable gifts. The distinguished guest list included Senator and Mrs. Goujon; HE and Mrs. Bin Hassan, president of the General Conference of UNESCO; Honorable Minister and Mrs. Daher; HE Fadlalah, ambassador of Lebanon to France at UNESCO; and HE and Mrs. Hitti, ambassador permanent delegate of the Arab League to UNESCO, who is an AUB graduate (BA ’75, MA ’77).

In his word of welcome, outgoing President Haissam Hamidi (BE ’86) announced that he is stepping down and that Vice President Rania Khodr (BBA ’80) will be assuming the presidency until the next elections.

Dr. Imad Baalbaki, director of Development, who spoke on behalf of President John Waterbury, presented an update of recent developments at AUB. Baalbaki thanked Paris alumni for their dedication and support of AUB, particularly their contributions to financial aid. Fawwaz Merheby (BBA ’79), president of the Alumni Association in Lebanon, gave a final word of appreciation for the committee’s efforts.

Alumni Association–UK Branch
On April 25, the UK Branch organized a lecture entitled “Palestine and the Regional Crisis,” given by Professor Manuel Hassassian (BA Public Administration ’75), the Palestinian general delegate in the United Kingdom, at St. Columba’s Church of Scotland.

North America

Surgical Society
Congratulations to the new leadership of the Surgical Society:  Imad S. Dandan (BS ’78, MD ’83), FACS, president; Ramzi Alami (BS ’94, MD ’98), secretary; Wael Tamim (BS ’89, MD ’93), treasurer; Malek Massaad (BS ’78, MD ’83), council; Wassim Mazraani (BS ’91, MD ’95), council; and Chawki El Zein (BS ’88, MD ’92), council.  For more information on the Surgical Society please contact Imad S. Dandan at dandan.imad@scrippshealth.org.

Atlanta Chapter
The Atlanta Chapter held a “funraiser” at a unique restaurant named IBIZA in midtown Atlanta on March 30. The authentic Mediterranean-themed décor and Spanish-type foods made for a great atmosphere and a memorable evening for all.

Arizona Chapter
The recently formed Arizona Chapter held its first elections in 2006. Congratulations to the following men and women who will hold office for a two-year period (2007-09): Said Salloum (BE ’94), president; Ghina Yamout-Jomaa, PhD (BS ’99, MS ’02), vice president; Rony Ferzli (BE ’99, ME ’02), secretary; Mohamed Basma (BBA ’95), treasurer; Wafa El-Musselmani, RN, former student, member-at-large; and Philip A. Khairallah, MD (BA ’47), member-at-large.

Dallas Chapter (North Texas)
Alumni and friends from the Dallas area gathered at Sambuca Restaurant on March 30 to enjoy an evening of good food, live music, and friendly conversation. It was the first event held by the North Texas Chapter since the election of new officers. Almost a hundred people attended, some traveling from as far away as Wichita Falls. Despite a rainy evening in Dallas, the atmosphere was warm and friendly. Everyone was enthusiastic and looking forward to participating in future alumni activities. Events this coming year will include a fundraising dinner and a family picnic in the fall. The spirit of AUB is as strong as ever in North Texas.

Miami Chapter (South Florida)
On April 28, alumni and friends gathered for a delightful dinner at the home of chapter president Alex Zakharia (BS ’58, MD ’62) and his wife André. Alex Zakharia welcomed AANA President Hikmat Nasr (BS ’61, MS ’65), who attended the gathering and participated in discussions about the future of the chapter. During the evening, Dr. Fuad Askar (BS ’58, MD ’62) was honored along with Imad Tabry, who was an AUBMC resident from 1970–74. Elections are planned for the coming months.

Michigan Chapter
On April 20, the Michigan Chapter joined a dozen Lebanese organizations and the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce in an interfaith Candlelight Prayer Vigil & Memorial Service for the victims and families of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University tragedy. Among those who were honored and remembered were two Lebanese American students: Reema Samaha and Ross Alameddine. The service included special musical performances by acoustic vocalist Steve Acho and renowned oud virtuoso Kareem Badr.

New York Metro Chapter
The New York Metro Chapter organized its first event in 2007, a cocktail reception at the Debs Center in AUB’s New York office on Thursday April 12. The reception was an opportunity for AUB alumni and friends to socialize and meet the newly elected NY Metro Chapter leadership. Chapter President Amin Khalaf (BA ’90) gave a short presentation about the chapter’s goals and plans for the year before everyone watched a short documentary about AUB.

Tickets to the Lebanese movie Falafel, shown at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival on April 29, were sold at the reception and plans for future events were discussed. The chapter also launched its new website as part of the AUB On-Line Community (www.aub.edu/nymetalumnichapter). The chapter would love to hear from alumni and friends in the NY metro area at aub.nymet@gmail.com.

Ottawa Chapter

Former Ottawa Chapter President Nouhad Hammad and current President Nada Tamin enjoying fresh maple syrup taffy on ice during a maple bonanza on March 25 at Sugarbush

Pittsburgh Chapter
One hundred alumni and friends gathered at the Grand Concourse for a brunch arranged by the AANA Pittsburgh Chapter—an unprecedented turnout. Many newcomers to the Pittsburgh area have joined the chapter and enjoyed meeting fellow alumni and their families. Everybody had a great time and nominations for new officers were solicited. All members and friends are looking forward to upcoming activities.

Toronto Chapter
The AUB Alumni Mix & Mingle, held on April 14, was this committee's most successful networking event to date. About 70 AUB alumni and friends got together at Bar Italia in the heart of trendy Little Italy. Attendees reconnected, networked, and made new friends while enjoying the delightful music and munching on mouth-watering hors d'oeuvres. The raffle draw, made possible through the generous contributions of many alumni, and the great turnout helped the committee raise money for the chapter and for AUB.  Given the popularity of this event, the chapter is planning to organize an activity every two to three months.

Greater Washington Chapter
The Greater Washington Chapter organized a casual Italian dinner on Sunday, March 18 at Piola Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. Over 115 alumni and friends enjoyed authentic Italian food in an eclectic atmosphere. In addition to meeting friends, the guests actively participated in the raffle and auction to raise funds for the AUB Scholarship Fund. Hadi Fakhoury (BA ’86), vice president, welcomed the guests and urged them to donate generously to the raffle and participate in the auction. Gigi Kraytem Saghir (BA ’87), member-at-large, announced the names of the four recipients of the chapter’s scholarships and thanked alumni for their continued and strong support of our Alma Mater. Special thanks are due to three children of AUB alumni who demonstrated remarkable skills, charm, and persistence in selling raffle tickets: Rashad Assir, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sami Assir (BE ’75) and Carma and Faysal Khatib, children of Sana Al-Hajj (BBA ’89) and Louay Khatib (BA ’90). The Executive Committee is grateful to everyone who contributed items for the auction, especially to Sami Assir who generously donated laptop computers to be auctioned at chapter events. Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarships at AUB.

Chapter Elections
We are pleased to announce the election of the members of the next Executive Committee of the Greater Washington Chapter who began their terms on July 1, 2007: Ghada Rihani (BS ’84), president; Hoda Khouri (BS, ’77, MS ’79), vice president; Zeina Soueidan, secretary; Nada Mufarrij (BA ’81), treasurer; Siwar Jaafar (BSN ’77), member-at-large; Asma Khalil (BS ’88), member-at-large; and Hanan Zurayk (BA ’73), member-at-large.

Upcoming Chapter Events

Ottawa Chapter
- Hershey’s factory visit on September 1
- Annual hiking trip on October 1

For more Information: reso.lang@sympatico.ca

Dallas Chapter
Family picnic; fundraising picnic. Dates TBD. For more information: rdsaad@gmail.com

The Surgical Society of North America began in the late 1960s as a social group of alumni from the AUB Department of Surgery. A significant number of faculty and residents in post-doctoral training in the United States used to meet socially over dinner during the annual congress of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to reminisce about the “good old days.”

In 1973-74, during the ACS Congress in San Francisco, a group of us—the late Gaby Sabgha (MD ’53), the late Hasan Tabbara (MD ’57), the late Said Karmi (MD ’64), Mu’taz Habbal (MD ’64), and I—decided to formalize the group and establish a society with a mandate beyond social affairs. The primary mission then was to support the Department of Surgery at AUB, its residency training, and its teaching and research programs. In the early 1980s, we were granted tax exemption as an educational organization.

Initially we contributed funds for research. During the Lebanese civil war, we began to sponsor a visit to the United States of a chief resident chosen by the department chairman. Several residents attended the ACS Congress and spent a month or so visiting medical centers where staff from AUB coordinated the visits.

In the last year or two the society has been involved in a project to renovate and equip the Surgical Library at AUBMC, raising funds to outfit the library with up-to-date information technology systems, computers, etc. Our previous president, Fuad Freiha, worked diligently on this project. Dr. Dandan has recently taken over as president and has exciting plans for what he wants to do during his term.

Fuad J. Dagher, MD, FACS
Class of 1958

The Medical Alumni Association was founded in 1911 when a group of medical alumni organized a series of lectures to benefit alumni physicians practicing in Lebanon. Four decades later, the association joined forces with the Faculty of Medicine to organize their first medical symposium, which became the internationally recognized annual conference, the Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA). In the 1960s, the association became a chapter of the AUB Alumni Association, expanded its activities, and began sponsoring educational forums in neighboring countries.

The Medical Alumni Chapter also developed close ties to the Alumni Association of the French Faculty of Medicine in Beirut and the Lebanese Order of Physicians. Today, the chapter hosts gala events to support the Medical Alumni Scholarship Loan Fund. Each year, the graduating class of the School of Medicine is initiated into the chapter at a special luncheon, and a reunion luncheon is hosted during MEMA. The Medical Alumni Chapter also publishes a Medical Alumni Directory.

For more information: www.aub.edu.lb/~webaubmd

Class Reunion

AUB Alumni Learn about how AUB is Facing the Challenge and Moving Ahead at Class Reunion 2007.

More than 270 guests, including AUB graduates from the Classes of 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002 flocked to campus on July 6 and 7 to celebrate Class Reunion 2007.

Director of Alumni Relations in Beirut, Arabia Muhammad Ali, who also happens to be a member of the Class of 1987, greeted returning alumni at the launching ceremony in West Hall’s Bathish Auditorium on July 6. She noted that she was “happy to join her classmates today and to take part in the organizing of the event.” After thanking the members of the Reunion Committee for their integral role in making the event possible, Muhammad Ali introduced President John Waterbury.

President Waterbury made some remarks on the theme of this year’s reunion: “Facing the Challenge and Moving Ahead.” He reviewed some of the many ways that AUB is moving ahead “thanks to the support of many of you here.” He thanked alumni for participating in Class Reunion 2007, which he said was particularly “uplifting” for him this year. President Waterbury surveyed the “over $100 million worth of projects going on at AUB.” He highlighted the reintroduction of PhD programs at AUB this fall as one of the more noteworthy—and recent—accomplishments. He concluded by thanking the Class of 2007 for its contribution to the Fingerprints Scholarship Fund and called on all attending graduates to join them in their support for the University.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Dr. Salim El Hoss, a graduate of AUB (BBA ’52, MA ’57), a former faculty member, and a trustee emeritus, was the keynote speaker. He expressed his pride in his alma mater, which he described as a “minaret of education and learning of world renown.”

Returning alumni relished the opportunity to catch up with former classmates, rediscover their campus, and learn about recent developments at AUB throughout the weekend. In addition to a dinner reception held under the stars in front of West Hall on July 6, alumni attended a breakfast in the student cafeteria on July 7, followed by briefings at each of AUB’s six faculties.