Inside the Gate
  Presidential Inauguration; Commencement Stats;
Penrose Scholars, Then and Now; SoN gets Magnet; Outdoors goes (far) East; Forward Thinking
Blissed Out
A Tradition of Transition
Speaking Out
The Meaning of West Hall
Scrapbook Memories
Alumni Profile
Alumni Happenings
Class Notes
AUB Reflections
In Memoriam
MainGate Connections
From the President
From the Editors
Letters to the Editors

Forward Thinking

Last Glance: The AUB Mace

Honorary Doctorate Ceremony 2009

Time Flies

Beirutis Set One Fine Table

Inaugurating the Diya Mutasim Dermatology Library
Incoming:  Welcome to new VP and FM Dean Dr. Mohamed H. Sayegh and FAS Dean Patrick McGreevy.

Summer 2009 Vol. VII, No. 4

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

University News

Honorary Degrees 2009
AUB awarded its first honorary degrees in 1890 to six graduates of the University, then known as the Syrian Protestant College. Forty-seven degrees have been conferred since AUB’s founding. In 2009, AUB honored the following individuals for their outstanding contributions in the fields of science, public service, literature, and the arts.

Abdlatif Al-Hamad
has worked for decades to promote social and economic development in Arab countries. Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Fund for Economic Development for more than 20 years and a member of the World Bank’s International Finance Advisory Group, Al-Hamad is a former Kuwaiti Minister of Finance and Planning.

Farouk al-Baz
Research professor and director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University since 1986, he was recently appointed to the Committee on Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century. A pioneer in satellite imagery with the Apollo Space Program (1967-72), Egyptian-born al-Baz also chaired the Astronaut Training Group. He later used satellite imagery to investigate arid areas in the Middle East, China, and India and applied remote sensing technology to develop underground water resources in Egypt.

Majida El-Roumi
was named ambassador for the Euro-Arab Environment Council in 2009 and has served as an ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The popular singer started her career as the winner of Tele Liban’s Studio El Fan talent show when she was just 16 years old. Her 12 best selling solo albums have garnered her awards and acclaim throughout the region.

Degree recipients with H.E. Mr. and Mrs. Fouad Sinioura, center, and President Dorman.

Elias Zerhouni
World renowned radiologist Elias Zerhouni is a senior adviser at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. As director of the US National Institute of Health (2002-08) he oversaw the passage of the 2006 NIH Reform Act. Zerhouni first studied medicine at the University of Algiers. He conducted much of his

original research as a professor of radiology and bioengineering, executive vice dean of the School of Medicine, and chair of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins.

Thomas Q. Morris
Chair of the AUB Board of Trustees since 2004 and trustee since 1985, Morris has been a mentor and colleague to many at the University and AUBMC for more than 25 years. Dr. Morris’s distinguished medical career at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, NY spanned nearly 50 years. He has led, encouraged, and supported many university initiatives including the 2004 AUB accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the reintroduction of PhD programs in 2007, and the appointment of the fifteenth president of the University, Peter F. Dorman, in 2008.

More On-line

Then and Now
Since 1955, the Penrose Award has been given to the outstanding graduate of each faculty on the basis of scholarship, character, leadership, and contribution to University life.

As’ad A. Rahhal FAS
Hratch S. Papazian FEA


Nicolas J. Atallah FAFS
Mohammed H. Saffouri FAS
Nadim Ph. Boulos FEA
John C. Racy FM


Marcel M. Awad FAFS
Fawwaz Ch. Najia FAS
Vartkess M. Balian (FEA ’57) went on to enjoy a successful career as an architect, developer, builder, patron of the arts, and philanthropist. He died on August 3, 2008 at the age of 76 from cancer.
Adil Q. Afifi FM

Salim V. Tyan FAFS
Ramzi Jabbur FAS
Carol S. Khuri FEA
Ali Shubayka FM


Ziad Shehadeh FAFS
Jivan Tabibian FAS
Fouad A. Rihani FEA
Raja N. Khouri FM


Mikhail Nasrallah FAFS
Antoine Shubay’a FAS
Haralambos Harris FEA
Aznive Avakian SoN


Sami Sad FAFS
Layla Khalil Takiyyud-Din FAS
Sana Abdus-Samad FEA
Salah Salman FM


Sami Solh FAFS
A published author of Spring to Summer and several short stories, Rima Najib Alamuddin (FAS ’62) was murdered in 1963—at the age of 22—outside her parents’ home in Chemlan by a man she had refused to marry.
Ziyad Jamil Ghandur FEA
Adnan M. Dakkuri FM

Mojtaba M. Esfahani FAFS
Khalil Michel Bitar FAS
George A. Loshkhajian FEA
Ibrahim Saba Salti (FM ’63) is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the AUB Medical Center. He earned a PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto in 1970 and was deputy president of AUB from April 1987 to January 1993.


Paige Lea Taylor FAFS
Adil Antippa FAS
John Makhoul FEA
Faysal Najjar FM


Ahmadzadeh A. Vassef FAFS
Mohammed Malallah FAS
Yusuf Salam FEA
Khanum Jada FM


Morteza Janghorbani FAFS
Huda Akil FAS
Amr Armanazi FEA
Fuad Frayha FM


Hani Asfur FAFS
Katy Azuri FAS
Hani Bizri FEA
Ibrahim Musa Uwaydah FM


Mamduh M.I. Al Sifri FAFS
Necla Yongacoglu FAS
Rajai F. Khuri FEA
Shukri F. Khuri (FM ’68), who died in 2008, was a highly regarded surgeon and medical professional who worked tirelessly to improve surgical care at VA medical centers throughout the United States and to promote Palestinian-Israeli peace and understanding.

Mahmoud M.B. Solh FAFS
Maria R. Kanazeh FAS
Viken Kh. Yeramian FEA
Nabil M. Kronfol FM


Sana Fouad Najjar FAFS
Karl Khalil Abdur-Rahman Barbir FAS
Nabil Fawzi Azar FEA
Adel Nasib Shehab FM


Roger Nikhkhu FAS

Nizar Elias Azar (FAFS ’72) currently lives in Beirut where he works for Dar Al-Handasah (Shair & Partners). He is the head of design at the Resources and Environment Department working on multidisciplinary infrastructure/water related projects.
Else Victoria Hamayan FAS
Solomon Melhem Haroun FEA
Freda Abraham Nime FM
Ziyad Daoud Jabir FAFS
Ramzi Mounir Baalbaki FAS
Abdallah Joseph Khabbaz FEA
Nuhad Sulayman Bu-Rad SoN

Ramzi Khashadurian FAFS


Ghazi Zaatari FM


Imad Haffar FAFS

Nada M. Khuri FAS
Yahya Badran FEA
Hagob Kantarajian FM
Muhammed Firikh SoN

Wafa Mounir Khoury FAFS
Danka A. Dawalibi FAS
Sani Richard Anis Nassif FEA
Arshag Mooradian FM
Sossy Garabed Bardakjian SoN

Mireille Michel Khairallah FAFS
Dana Kamal Haffar FAS
Haitham Nadim Haddad FEA
Ellen Aida Ibrahim Audeh FHS

Philip Kattan FAFS
Ziad M. Husayni FAS
Imad Hannun FEA
Miguel Abboud FM
Maral Gurunian SoN
Mireille Michel Khairallah (FAFS ’81) worked at CIMMYT, Mexico for ten years where she was involved primarily in projects to map important agronomic traits and measure genetic diversity at the molecular level in wheat and maize. She currently lives in Querétaro, Mexico.

Miguel Abboud (FM ’82) returned to AUB in 2002 to become the medical director of the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, which is affiliated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He is also a professor of pediatrics at AUBMC.


Ziad Rafic Haidar FAS
Maher Ahmad Mukaddam FEA
Antoine Albert Zubuni FM
Samar Jamal Farhah FHS

Lina Wadi Peter Katul FAFS
Basil Raja Farid Fuleihan (FAS ’84) had a distinguished career at the International Monetary Fund, was a lecturer at AUB, and Lebanon’s Minister of Economy and Trade. He died on April 18, 2005 from injuries he sustained during the explosion that killed former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on February 14, 2005.
Omar Mohamad Knio FEA
Anwar Adnan Soubra FHS
Alice Panos Sarkissian SoN


Raghida Adib Bu-Khalid FAFS
Maher Afif Baz FAS
Nabeel Richard Mishalani FEA
Habeeb Moh’d Hussein Ghaddar FHS
Maha Emile Sawaya SoN

Fadi Michel Majdalani FEA
Ruba Ahmad Ismail FHS

Rudeina Maarouf Amine FAFS
Rana Michel Nasser FAS
Sany Ramzi Zeine FEA
Zahra Adel Jishi FHS

Salman Sharif Abbas FAFS
Myriam Nicolas Zayat FAS
Talal Tarik Balaa FEA
George Fuad Duna FM
May Mohamad Abou Ajram FHS
Anna Maria Antoine Bellos SoN

Abdul Rahma Abdulfattah Ayas FAFS
Samir Fawzi Saba FEA
Roger Joseph Laham FM
Radwan Muhiedine Sabe Ayon FHS

Ghada Wahib Ghazal FAS
Yaser Fadeel Abun Nasr FEA
Madlane Maurice Dabaghi FHS
Adel Amin Kharrat SoN

Salim Mohsen Mourtada FAFS
Nada Mohsen Mourtada FAS
Mirna Fouad Ktaili FM
May Kamal Al-Kadi FHS
Nada Mourtada-Sabbah (FAS ’91) is assistant to the chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs and an associate professor of political science and international studies at the American University of Sharjah.


Samar Ahmad Al-Muristani FAFS
Abdallah George Rebeiz FAS
Boutros Sami Abboud FEA
Bassem Yusuf Safadi FM
Mandana Fawzi Al-Hajj FHS
Taline Jirayr Marcarian SoN


Joumana Abdel Moneim Hoteit FAFS
Najib Lutfy Diab FAS
Rana Mohammed Samir El-Chemaitelly FEA
Samir Fawzi Saba FM
Lina Fouad Ktaili FHS
Pauline Elias Bou Saleh SoN

Mayya Salaheddine Dabbagh FAS
Walid Edward Tabanji FEA
Ramzi Kamel Mouferrej FM
Rayan Kamel Al Jurdi FHS
Nanor Bouladian SoN

Puzant Benon Dakessian FAFS
Talal Mamdouh Fandi FAS
Maysa Nassir Sabah FEA
Hassan Khalil Reda FM
Salma Wafiq Jaouny FHS
Silva Armenak Dakessian SoN

Soha Gerges Moussa FAFS
Wissam Ahmad Juaber FAS
Hadi Mohamad Komaty FEA
Abdallah George Rebeiz FM
Kassem Hamdi El Saddik FHS
Houry Vasken Puzantian SoN

Karim Fouad El-Jisr FAFS
Nagib Musa Nimah FAS
Ashraf Osmat Osman FAS
Elie Assaad Awad FEA
Amale Antoun Lteif FM
Lina Haigaz Kalfayan FHS

Wael Adnan Jaroudi FAS
Jihad Youssef Abbas FEA
Ibrahim Robert Hanna FM
Amal Fouad Abu Rafeh FHS
Nathalie Joseph Kandalaft SoN

Hala Ghassan Zahreddine FAFS
Samer Samir Frangie FAS
Hani Yussef Diya FEA
Abeer Abdul Ameer Moann FM
Jouhayna Elie Bajjani SoN

Hiba Adel El-Assaad FAFS
Bana Maan Bashour FAS
Bassel Mohammed Hisham Dabboussy FEA
Wissam Ahmad Jaber FM
Shiraz Hassan Basma FHS
Mohammad Hadi Youssef Khafaja SoN

Fawzi Ghassan Melhem FAFS
Alia Mohammed Mounif Al-Zoghbi FAS
Wael Shadi Hanna FAS
Kamal A. T. Sanjakdar (FEA ’ 01),
who received an MBA from INSEAD in December 2008, is currently living in Abu Dhabi where he works for the energy team of Mubadala, an investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi government.
Marc Kaissar Bassim FM
Nelly George Beshalany SoN
Michael Philip Malek OSB

Dalia Nasri Tannous Dit El Khoury FAFS
Zeina Moustapha Hashem Bey FAS
Ayman Farouk Itani FEA
Wael Adnan Al Jaroudi FM
Michelle Elias Bachir FHS
Nayiri Boghos Zetlian SoN
Mazen Ramsay Najjar (OSB ’02) travels throughout the MENA region as a senior associate for Booz & Company working on economic development, macroeconomic
strategies, and financial services. He is also a part-time lecturer in finance at OSB.

Zeina Mounif Maalouf FAFS
Lea Roger Hakim FAS
Ayman Mohammad Amin Kichly (FEA ’03) lives in Germany where he works for ILF Consulting Engineers, an oil and gas consulting company, as an electrical power engineer. He was elected to the WAAAUB Alumni Council as an at-large representative for Europe in 2007.
Marwan Mouhamed Refaat FM
Fadi Elias Makari FHS
Rafika Khaled Zaatari SoN
Ziad Wajdi Masri OSB

Hiba Abboud FAFS
Loubna Al-Amine FAS
Tammam Yamout FEA
Nada Al-Husseini FM
Karma Ekmekji (FHS ’04) is an environmental analyst and marketing coordinator. She earned an MA from Columbia University in 2004 and is currently a member of the UN delegation to Lebanon.
Angela Massouh SoN
Hadi Tabbal OSB

Jane Bal FAFS
Sarah Richani FAS
Fehmi Mohamad Mokhtar Sakkal FEA
Lama Chahine FM
Karim Kaissi FHS
Tania Salem SoN

Nicolas Khoury OSB
Soha Rabih Frem FAFS
Joumanna Ramzi Nasr FAS
Rani Hani Daher FEA
Samar Naji Malaeb FM
Rima Antoine Habre FHS
Abdel Latif Mohammad Moghrabi Marini SoN
Karim Abdul-Karim Karami OSB

Jean Michel Jean Marie Chemaly FAFS
Michele Michel Kasdano FAS
Saleh Mohammad Rachid FAS
Gustave Alain Cordahi FEA
Maisa Nabil Feghali FM
Khalil Hicham Abu Bakr Kreidieh FHS
Ali Ismail Ismail Naffaa SoN
Maya Mohamad Itani OSB

Claudia George Matta FAFS
Khairat Shafik Al Habbal FAS
Hani Elias Joseph Tomeh FEA
Melhim Hafez Bou Alwan FM
Farah Ali Otaki FHS
Dina Mawaheb Mahmassani SoN
Melissa Maroun Moubarak OSB

Penrose Awardees 2009

Sleiman Haddad (FM) is planning to enroll in a residency program in radiology or orthopedics in Barcelona, Spain in May 2010. Until then, he’s preparing for his exam, registering in the Lebanese Order of Physicians, and finishing his term as director of professional exchanges for the International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA).

Wajiha Jurdi Kheir (FAS), who says she is “not ready to leave” AUB, will enroll in the Faculty of Medicine in the fall. “I will continue to be involved with LeMSIC (the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee), take part in research projects, and promote undergraduate research among biology majors.”

Tara Nehme (OSB) is hoping to volunteer with an NGO working in the field of refugee protection in Pakistan, Honduras, or South Africa this summer. After gaining some work experience—perhaps with a UN agency—her dream is to attend Harvard Law School and become a human rights lawyer.

Haig Papazian (FEA) and the other members of Mashrou Leila, who won the Lebanese Modern Music Contest on March 1, will be releasing an album in October and performing at festivals and concerts around Lebanon this summer. He reports that he has a great opportunity to work in an architectural firm in Paris in the fall, but may stay in Lebanon instead.“I’m living life day by day,” he says.

Sami Abdul Rahman (FAFS) has received a Fulbright Award to study in the United States and will enroll in a two-year master’s program in aquaculture and marine fisheries at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama this fall. He plans to return to Lebanon to work in agriculture at some point, but perhaps not until he has earned an MBA or a PhD.

Laith Al Shawaf (FAS) has received a PhD fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin where he will work with Dr. David M. Buss, one of the leading figures in the field of evolutionary psychology. Ultimately, he says, “I am interested in academia: becoming a university professor, and conducting scientific research that weaves together evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience.”

Provost Ahmad Dallal

Forward Thinking

In his inaugural address on May 4, 2009, President Dorman highlighted three critical priorities for the University: expanding and enhancing faculty research, creating an even more dynamic and diverse student body, and cultivating a responsive campus community.

During the faculty symposium, a number of speakers explored the role of AUB past and present and looked ahead to the future as well. They debated the validity of a liberal arts curriculum, assessed the potential impact of competition from new universities opening throughout the region, and explored the future role of AUB in the region.

Recently appointed Provost Ahmad Dallal will be tackling these and many other key issues. He shared his initial thoughts with MainGate.

Provost Ahmad Dallal - Let me start with the challenge of regional competition:
The establishment of universities throughout the region, some of which are satellite branches of first rate US universities, does present a challenge of sorts to AUB. We can also, however, think of this phenomenon as an opportunity in several respects.

To start with, it is clear that high quality education is in demand throughout the region, which means that the establishment of new institutions is not necessarily a threat to AUB, but potentially an invitation to invest more in academics. And while many countries are starting from scratch, AUB has a long experience to build on and much to offer in response to this increasing demand. Among other things, for a variety of historical reasons, AUB’s environment is relatively more favorable to academic freedom, a vital ingredient for successful educational institutions. Moreover, AUB has played a central role in the development of higher education in the Middle East. It is fair to say that few other regional institutions have had an experience or impact similar to AUB’s.

This increased demand for quality education coupled with AUB’s experience suggests the possibility of cooperation with emerging regional universities, whereby AUB can provide guidance, training, and technical support to these young institutions.

Furthermore, the new competitive environment in which we find ourselves provides us at AUB with added incentive to think creatively and innovatively and to exert more effort to maintain our competitive edge. Our students are confronting new challenges and we need to ensure that the education we offer equips them with the tools they need to face these challenges.

This then brings me to the question of a liberal arts education:
From the very beginning, professional schools have been central to AUB’s mission, but so too was the emphasis on a liberal arts education. In contrast to many new universities in the region that have a narrow specialized focus, AUB has always coupled professional learning with broad liberal arts education, and this model has proven to be effective. Of course in doing so, AUB follows in the footsteps of some of the best universities in the world.

Simply put, a liberal arts educational model helps students develop creative mental habits, the ability to make sound judgments, the capacity for critical thought and analytical inquiry, and empathy. To be sure, we need to equip our students with a variety of skills that are essential for any successful career: these include writing and communication skills, command of languages and intercultural awareness and competence, scientific and quantitative literacy and basic analytical skills, problem solving skills, and the ability to think critically and creatively. The objective of this sort of research and inquiry-based education is not just to train students who can apply the skills they acquire mechanically, but who can also explore, reflect, and innovate—students who can face the problems and challenges of a crisis-ridden world and come up with creative solutions to these problems.

The general education requirements of a liberal arts model are not and should not be thought of as a burden, but as an opportunity for students to expand their horizons, experience the nature of various disciplines and methodologies, and discover new perspectives beyond their narrow areas of expertise.

How to address the president’s priorities:
Our mission as an academic institution is clear: the production and transmission of knowledge. Very few institutions enjoy such clarity of mission, yet the challenge for us is how to channel the resources available to us in an optimal fashion in order to achieve these clear objectives. In this undertaking, the two primary resources are faculty and students.

In the current competitive environment, we need to double our efforts to attract and retain scholars who are up to date on the latest developments in their fields of study. But the ability of our faculty to produce knowledge hinges on providing them with opportunities for intellectual development. We should recruit faculty with the hope and intention of retaining them; to achieve this objective we should provide them with proper mentoring and create an environment conducive to their scholarly production. We should also identify the fields in which our faculty is likely to excel, and encourage and mobilize support for innovative programs and research in these fields. In particular, I think that we should give special attention to programs that address the needs of Lebanon and the region while deploying cutting edge methodologies and approaches. Expanding the research base of the faculty will give AUB an edge over most new universities in the region. More importantly, it is a realistic objective that fulfills the University’s mission.

Of course, expanding research should not be at the expense of students, but it hardly ever is. In most cases, an active scholar and researcher is an interesting and engaging teacher and an inspiring transmitter of knowledge. As such, students stand to benefit from the expansion of research. The quality of our programs depends on the quality of the faculty but also of the students we are able to recruit. Therefore, it makes sense that attracting the best students should be one of our top priorities, irrespective of their socio-economic background. Simply put, we must do all we can to provide the opportunity for academic excellence to all deserving students.

Of equal importance is regional, national, and international diversity. Universities all over the world are devoting substantial resources to enhancing their international profiles. This emphasis reflects an emerging consensus among educators that in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, fostering cross-cultural understanding is not a luxury but an indispensable imperative for good education, professional development, and human well-being.

As attested from AUB’s history, when we succeed in expanding the research capacity of our faculty, and in enhancing the diversity and dynamism of our student body, we will undoubtedly serve Lebanon and the region and help shape generations of conscientious citizens and leaders. In fact, an important manifestation of our commitment to serving our environment is our ability to faithfully represent this environment, and to encourage and mobilize support for innovative programs that cater to the needs of the region. In turn, the success of these efforts depends on the cultivation of an intellectual community that takes ownership of, and is actively engaged in, promoting AUB’s mission and objectives. To promote higher levels of engagement and accountability within the AUB community, we need to double our efforts to achieve greater coherence and clarity in our practices, and transparency in our governance.

More On-line


The inauguration month of Peter F. Dorman, 15th president of the American University of Beirut, kicked off three days of celebratory activities:

Sunday May 3: President’s Symposium: “Academic Freedom and Innovation in the Middle East: AUB and the Expansion of Higher Education in the Region …Winners of the student essay competition “Toward an Abundant Life” announced and prizes given . . . the AUB Choir and Choral Society commemorated the anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn with a performance of his Lobgesang, The Hymn of Praise, Symphony Cantata, Opus 52 . . .

Monday May 4: inaugural procession featuring AUB trustees, faculty, invited guests. . . student procession with flags representing their 69 home nations. . . the inaugural ceremony in Assembly Hall followed by the investiture, presentation of the mace, and the president’s inaugural address. A picnic lunch followed for the entire campus . . . that evening, a student concert at the Hostler Student Center shook up lower campus with the upbeat sounds of local and student rock bands.

Tuesday May 5: the inaugural graduate seminar—roundtable discussion on humanism. . . The Sports Department parade featuring varsity teams, clubs, and societies, along with other universities and schools participating in a celebratory sports tournament, followed by the traditional Big Game annual football match.

Toward an abundant life

Welcome Home

On July l, Mohamed H. Sayegh, MD of Harvard Medical School assumed responsibilities from Dr. Nadim Cortas as Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and the AUB Medical Center (AUBMC).

Honored in New York: Nadim Cortas (top center) and Khalil Bitar (bottom second from right) with family at a dinner at ilili restaurant.

President Dorman said “Under Dr. Cortas’ leadership, the Faculty of Medicine and AUBMC have made great strides in the last decade, with solid advances in our international programmatic ties and with important capital improvements to the Medical Center. Dr. Cortas and his team have also succeeded in establishing both a financial structure and a system of critical self-assessment for improved hospital performance based on best practices.”

At the time of his resignation, Dean Cortas said, “This VP/deanship has been among the most rewarding periods of my professional career. I have learned a lot from you and have drawn strength and inspiration from the unrelenting support of many of you, and for that I thank you.” Dean Cortas will continue to work and teach in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. Sayegh, a transplant specialist, received his MD with distinction from AUB in 1984. A professor of medicine and pediatrics, he was the Warren E. Grupe and John P. Merrill Chair in Transplantation Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was also the director of the Schuster Family Transplantation Research Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston.

Say it with Music

During a summer evening of opera in his honor, tribute was paid to outgoing dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science Khalil Bitar, who is leaving after 12 years as dean. The concert in Assembly Hall on June 13 featured Lebanese soprano Rima Tawil Makdisi accompanied on the piano by Olga Bolun. In his speech, President Dorman said, “Khalil Bitar has led the University’s largest and most complicated faculty for 12 years—it has been an extraordinary feat of leadership by any measure.” He went on to thank Dean Bitar for the numerous changes he has made as well as his role in the creation of the Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences and the Kamal A. Shair Central Research Science Laboratory, his backing for the Zaki Nassif Music Program, and for the revival of the Department of Fine Arts and Art History. The president closed by thanking Bitar, “For what you have taught me this last year—these things are more numerous than even you can imagine.”

On July 27, President Dorman announced that Professor Patrick McGreevy, who joined AUB in 2004 as the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), will assume the position of dean of FAS September 1. A professor in the Department of History and Archaeology and a geographer by training, McGreevy came to AUB from Clarion University in Clarion, Pennsylvania, where he had been chair of the Department of Anthropology, Geography and Earth Science since 1991.

A Benchmark Occasion

The President’s Club held its annual reception at the Hostler Student Center on May 21 to celebrate the inauguration of President Dorman and to thank its members. During the past year, the President’s Club presented AUB with an online exam room in Bliss Hall, refurbished student lounges in FEA and FAFS, and provided funding for several concerts on campus. After musical performances from FEA students Hassan Slaibi and Bassam Jalgha, President Dorman thanked club members and their guests for their ongoing support to enhance student life at AUB. Club President Laila Baroody urged everyone to participate in the club’s Bench Campaign by adopting one of the new benches around the Green Field.



Gold Star Award for AUBMC’s Nurses
After six long years of careful preparation, AUBMC’s nurses secured the prestigious Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® on June 23. Magnet recognized organizations set the global standard for professional nursing care and innovative health care reform that fully meet the needs of patients, families, and communities. Only five percent of all US hospitals have achieved this gold star award. AUBMC is the first health care institution in the Middle East and the third in the world outside the United States to earn Magnet recognition.

“Having Magnet status recognizes the first rate care we provide our patients today and is a sign of our dedication to offer the best nursing services in the region in the future,” said VP for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas.

Assistant Hospital Director for Patient Care Services Gladys Mouro, who spearheaded the campaign to secure Magnet status explained, “I decided to embark on the Magnet journey the moment I recognized that it would raise the bar of quality to a level of excellence for our patients, who deserve the very best.”

During the six-year process, Mouro and her colleagues introduced comprehensive changes to improve nursing practices at the Medical Center that were confirmed by a team of three appraisers from ANCC in April 2009. “I think the appraisers were impressed—even surprised—by what they saw and heard from our patients and also the physicians,” reported Mouro.

Medical Center Director Munthir Kuzayli noted, “The hard work and deep commitment of the nursing leadership and the nursing staff at large as well as the serious and ongoing support of the Medical Center leadership and community converged positively toward Magnet recognition of AUBMC.”

Mouro added, “We would not have succeeded without the serious and tireless efforts of so many people at this institution. That’s what we do at AUBMC. We strive for the impossible and make it happen. That’s what makes this place unique.”

Mind, Body and Spirit

The newly inaugurated Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute (NKBCI) at AUBMC.

AUBMC’s state-of-the-art Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute (NKBCI) was officially inaugurated on April 24, the latest of several new multidisciplinary programs at the Medical Center.

The institute, situated in Building 56, with its inpatient unit on Floor 8 of the Medical Center, was made possible through generous donations by the Naef K. Basile Foundation. It was the lifelong wish of the late Dr. Basile, a Lebanese-American obstetrician-gynaecologist, to repay the country of his birth with a cancer institute which would rank alongside the best in the world.

Working in partnership with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas; the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and the American Cancer Society, NKBCI’s multiple specialty unit will be at the forefront of cancer research and expects to double its current capacity in order to diagnose and treat half of the new adult cancer cases in Lebanon. It will also develop education programs on cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

Speaking at the inauguration, NKBCI’s Director Dr. Fady Geara praised Dr. Basile for his vision and perseverance. He pledged to enlarge the clinical faculty group, the sub-specialties, and the clinical laboratory; to improve patient access; and to modernize the radiation facility.

President Dorman quoted the NKBCI motto: “Where Body, Mind and Spirit join in the Healing Process” saying, “The men and women associated with the center will also contribute to the worldwide fight against cancer through research, education, and efforts such as the development of a national cancer registry for Lebanon.”

Outgoing Dean of Medicine Nadim Cortas paid tribute to Dr. Basile, who spent his career at Cornell Medical Center in New York. Dean Cortas recalled how Basile teamed up with friends from Lebanon, led by the late Danny Thomas, and became one of the founders of the American Lebanese Syrian Associate Charities (ALSAC), which established the prestigious St. Jude Children’s Cancer Center.

Speaking on behalf of her late parents, Theresa Basile thanked AUB and all those involved in supporting her parents’ dream of establishing NKBCI. “The greatest thing about this institute is the thousands of lives it is going to save,” she said.

MEMA Social Committee with President Dorman (top) and President Dorman, HE Mohammed Khalifeh, VP Nadim Cortas, Ibrahim Khoury and Dr. Ibrahim Salti cutting the ribbon for the MEMA exhibit (below).


Hosted by AUB and the Medical Chapter of the AUB Alumni Association in joint sponsorship with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the 42nd Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA) was held April 23-26. The three-day meeting included presentations on the latest advances in a range of medical treatments, a dinner to raise money for scholarships for medical students, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the MD class of 1959. Dr. Ibrahim Salti, the MEMA chair, stressed the assembly’s role in advancing medical knowledge in the Arab world since it was established in 1951. The Cleveland Clinic sponsored the Continuing Medical Education (CME) program for this year’s MEMA, thus allowing registered attendees—1,375 registered participants in all—from around the world to receive American Medical Association-recognized credits.

More On-line

Seen and Heard

March 18: CASAR hosted “The US, Islam, and the Relationship with Muslim-Majority Countries” with Tariq Ramadan, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Theology and senior research fellow at St. Antony’s College (Oxford), Dohisha University (Kyoto, Japan), and at the Lokahi Foundation (London) for a debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world.

April 3: CASAR/IFI hosted “How American Citizens Engage in the Political Process: Examples from Middle East Policy Formulation and the Global Economic Crisis” with US Senator John E. Sununu. The senator said the United States alone was not to blame for the crisis and called for world cooperation to solve it.

April 24: Department of Architecture and Design hosted “Contemporary Mexican Architecture” with Miquel Adrià. The lecture, sponsored also by the Mexican Embassy, was accompanied by an exhibition of books and films on modern Mexican architecture.

May 27: Business ethics expert Robert MacGregor spoke on “Cultures of Greed Versus Making Money the Old Fashioned Way.” Following the lecture, MacGregor and Romel Saber (CEO of Expeditors International) awarded prizes and certificates for the Business Ethics Student Competition.

June l: CAMES/Department of Philosophy hosted “Orientalism and its Critics” with seminar speakers Basim Musallam (Cambridge University), Daniel Varisco (Hofstra University), Robert Irwin (University of London), Ahmad Dallal (Georgetown University, now AUB provost), Robert Spencer (University of Manchester), and Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm (University of Damascus).

June 2: IFI hosted “Rising Temperatures, Rising Tensions: climate change and the risk of violent conflict in the Middle East” in cooperation with the Danish Embassy in Lebanon to launch a new International Institute for Sustainable Development report on climate change and security in the Middle East.



“Civilizations: Clash or Concert,” Al-Abhath
(AUB Press, 2009) edited by As’ad Khairallah
In March 2009, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences published the most recent edition of its annual refereed journal Al-Abhath. Fifteen scholars from Lebanon, Europe, and the United States contributed essays in Arabic and English on a wide range of topics related to this year’s theme, “Civilizations: Clash or Concert?” This fascinating collection includes both original contributions submitted in response to a call for papers, some of the more interesting papers presented at recent AUB conferences, and solicited essays. Khairallah reports that earlier editions of Al-Abhath, which dates back almost 60 years and are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, will soon be available on-line through the Yale University Library Arabic and Middle Eastern Electronic Library (AMEEL) at

Inaugurating the Diya Mutasim Dermatology Library

The inauguration of the Diya Mutasim Dermatology Library this spring was the culmination of an extraordinary career for a man born in a Palestinian refugee camp and afflicted as a child with partial paralysis. The moving and inspiring story of Dr. Diya Mutasim (BS ’74, MD ’79), whose generous donations enabled the Department of Dermatology to renovate and upgrade its library, is of a man who resolutely climbed the ladder of success to become professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Cincinnati. While AUB’s steep terrain made his upper/lower campus commute a challenge, he praised the education, inspiration, and camaraderie he enjoyed at AUB. “The beautiful years here at AUB remain alive with me all the time, and I often feel jealous of those who returned,” he said. See “Recently Honored” in this issue for recent news on Dr. Mutasim.

More On-line

Faculty News

Star Appointment
Nora Boustany, award-winning Washington Post journalist and three-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize, has been appointed IFI writer-in-residence fellow for 2009-10. She is the second person to assume the appointment following Anthony Shadid. Boustany will be conducting research for a cultural memoir of her family, interwoven with her own story as a Lebanese-American with a stellar career in the US media. She will participate in select IFI activities and give the annual IFI writer-in-residence lecture at AUB.

The Road to Success
A street in Ain Mreisse has been named in honor of AUB Professor Emeritus Ibrahim Dagher who performed the first open-heart surgery in the region in 1958 and the first total cardiopulmonary bypass in Lebanon in 1960. Dean Nadim Cortas praised Dagher for “the road you paved for those who followed you in their quest for success.” Professor Dagher hailed the contributions of the “unknown soldiers” on his medical teams.


Down to Earth
Food producers from throughout Lebanon descended on campus in May to participate in Earth Market, selling everything from organic produce to pottery. Alongside Lebanese producers like Mohammad Ali Nehme, the first organic zaatar producer in Lebanon, and Mawasem al-Dayaa, with their award winning mallat-es-smeed bread, food science students displayed their own jams, marmalades, ketchups, and syrups made at the Pilot Plant. AUB nutrition students handed out delicious dark chocolate to the winners of healthy food games at their stand. According to graduate nutrition student Berna Rahi, dark chocolate is actually good for you. . . so sahtain!


War Wounds
In a region so often riven by strife, the surprise is that so little research has been conducted into the effects of conflict on health, compared to other causes of ill health and mortality. In March, FHS took a major step to redress the balance with a symposium, Conflict and Health in the Middle East and North Africa, hosted by the Center for Research on Population Health, and examining case studies from the area. Participants explored conflict epidemiology, developing emergency services for conflict victims, war and male infertility, and community resilience in time of conflict.

Current Research

A Natural Cure for Cancer
Although there are literally hundreds of native plant species in Lebanon and the neighboring region that are reported to have medicinal properties, very few have been scientifically exploited by the agro-industrial and medical sectors. Akram Ghantous, a PhD student in cell and molecular biology, hopes that the research that he and others are doing will change that. “We are drawing on Arab ‘folk medicine’ to identify new and promising anticancer drugs from indigenous plants. This will diversify the agricultural portfolio of the region, ensure sustainable agro-industrial growth, and generate the knowledge necessary for rational drug design and the promotion of biotechnology.”

Being able to conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research was key to Ghantous's decision to pursue his doctoral studies at AUB. (He also credits his thesis adviser, Professor Nadine Darwiche, the other members of his committee, and Dean Khalil Bitar for their strong support and the type of “day-to-day supervision” that PhD students lack at other universities.)

One of the successful collaborative efforts on campus is the Nature Conservation Center for Sustainable Futures (IBSAR, which was established by a group of faculty members who wanted to promote and encourage nature conservation and its sustainable use. “I have been a member of IBSAR since I was an undergraduate,” Ghantous says. [Through IBSAR,] “I got involved in the identification and characterization of anti-cancer compounds derived from plants indigenous to Lebanon. While screening extracts from roughly 40 Middle Eastern plants used in traditional medicine, four emerged as very promising against inflammation and cancer.”

Ghantous is currently focusing on two of these plants: Centaurea ainetensis and Achillea falcata. He is using a technique called “bioassay-guided fractionation” to identify compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer potential. Using laboratories and equipment located in the Biology, Chemistry, and Diana Tamari Sabbagh Buildings, and at the Kamal A. Shair Central Research Science Laboratory, Ghantous is trying to decipher the anti-tumor mechanism action of a number of plant-derived compounds and relate their chemical structures to their biological activities. Ghantous notes that his group and others at IBSAR have already published their findings related to one of these compounds, Salograviolide A, and notes that they have been able to demonstrate that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-skin and anti-colon cancer potential.


With a Little Help from our Friends
The dedication of the Fahmi Karagulla Dean’s Wing was the perfect opportunity for Dean Ibrahim Hajj to brief a host of dignitaries and other officials on FEA developments, including new applied energy and chemical engineering programs and an expanding student body of nearly 1,700 students. Dean Hajj also thanked the Karagulla family: “We depend on our alumni and friends to help maintain our leading standing in the region,” he said. “We have the ideas; we need your support.” President Dorman also offered his thanks to the family that was represented by Karim Karagulla, son of Fahmi, who was a pioneer in the construction industry and a major AUB donor. “We are absolutely delighted and honored to have the Karagulla family name associated with AUB,” he said, after noting the family’s support and their involvement in the reconstruction of College Hall and the construction of the Charles Hostler Student Center.

Harnessing AUB’s New Energy Program
Developed with a grant from EU TEMPUS and with help from experts from Sweden and Greece, FEA’s master’s program in applied energy is taking the study of energy efficiency and sustainable engineering to a new level. Professor Nesreen Ghaddar, who leads the program, says that the faculty focused on energy in buildings because “50 percent of all energy consumption in Lebanon is in buildings, and 70 percent of all peak loads is consumed by air-conditioning systems.” Trustee Munib Masri donated $5 million to establish an endowed fund that will be used to support engineering research until 2012, when it will fund the establishment of the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources.

Back in action: A welcome return after two years, the 35th Annual Folk Dance Festival transformed the Green Field into a colorful stage for children from 16 local schools to perform dances from Mexico, Columbia, Croatia, Scotland, Russia, the United States and, of course, Lebanon.

Student News

745 Students Say Thank You!
More than 745 Lebanese students are able to pursue their studies at AUB thanks to the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID Mission Director Denise A. Herbol met with AUB students on April 29 and presented President Dorman with a check for $2.2 million. “I am extremely impressed with the variety of degree programs that these students are studying. Their shared vision to become productive members of Lebanese society demonstrates their appreciation of the need to obtain a university degree to achieve these goals,” said Herbol.

Dragons on Campus
Outdoors in May was bigger, better and more expensive than ever before. Fortunately, so was the sponsorship budget. The theme was China: its food, decoration and arts. There were many challenges, all overcome by the hard working teams.
A red, yellow and black colour scheme explored themes that included dragons, the Great Wall, Chinese horoscopes, flags, and cartoon characters.

With games and activities galore, including the ever popular paper rally with its hidden prizes and tempting $1,000 reward and a new two-stage set-up for continuous and changing performances throughout the day, China on campus was a great hit.

Zaki Nassif school choir competition

The Arts

Sound of Music
In front of a packed house at the annual Zaki Nassif Memorial Concert in the Assembly Hall on May 21, the winners of the Zaki Nassif School Choir Competition for children and youth lined up to receive their trophies. The winners then performed a song by the famous Lebanese composer, who began his musical career as a student at the AUB Institute of Music in 1936. More than 70 student choirs took part in two rounds of competition earlier in the year. The Lebanese Oriental Music Orchestra also performed Nassif’s music at the concert, which was organized with the Zaki Nassif Music Program.

Top 10 things to do this summer

How do students spend those weeks of long, balmy Lebanese summer days?

1. Weekend road trip warrior
Lebanon is a small country with a lot of things to see and do. Many AUB students are planning to grab food, friends, and a map and hit the road.

2. Be a beach bunny
Whether it’s a quick dip at the University’s beach or an all-day party at Oceana, the sea is the place to be.

3. Do an internship
Competition is fierce for the top graduate jobs, particularly in the current economic climate, so many AUB students are choosing to spend part of their summer building up their credentials by working as an intern.

4. Take a walk on the wild side
Environmental tourism has taken the world by storm, and Lebanon, with its endangered cedars and diverse wildlife, is no exception. Hiking the Lebanon Mountain Trail and staying at the rustic eco village in the Shouf’s Dmit valley are on eco-conscious students’ to-do list this summer.

5. See the world
Travelling outside the country is a popular summer activity, whether it is a road trip to Syria and Jordan or a visit to somewhere further afield. AUB students are packing their bags and heading everywhere from Brazil to Thailand.

6. Take to the Sky
Sky Bar, that is. Plenty of AUBites reported that they plan to spend their summer enjoying Beirut’s legendary nightlife, with Sky Bar, arguably Lebanon’s most famous nightspot, top of the list.

7. Learn something new
Some students are looking at the summer months as a chance to expand their horizons and pick up a new skill or hobby, with pottery classes at Hamra’s Art Lounge and Italian lessons featuring in people’s plans for the holidays.

8. Get cultured
What better way to spend a summer’s evening than watching a world-class concert in an evocative historical setting? With music festivals taking place this year in Baalbek, Beiteddine, and Byblos, a number of AUB students are taking the opportunity to do just that.

9. Get to know Beirut
For those who never venture out of Hamra, Walk Beirut, a new company run by AUB students, is offering five-hour walking tours of the city three times a week.

10. Take a summer course
For some dedicated students, school does not stop when term ends. Instead, they will be staying in AUB for the summer semester to take more classes. Hats off to them.


Beirutis Set One Fine Table

While Outdoors took on an eastern flair this year, an archaeological team presenting work from the AUB Beirut Souks excavations was looking decidedly west—to the Roman Empire. Ceramic expert Paul Reynolds (University of Barcelona) explained to MainGate how the souk’s pottery finds illustrate Beirut´s extensive regional and long distance trade connections with the provinces of the Roman Empire:

For more than 800 years (from the late 2nd century BC to the 7th century AD), Beirut had its own amphora type for local wine, but wines—and their distinctive vessels—were also a major import from the Aegean, Asia Minor, southern Anatolia, northern Italy, Egypt, Gaza, Tyre, and Akko-Acre, and from the northern coast. The archaeologists found a much smaller, carrot-shaped locally produced amphora that was designed to carry dried fruit to the Roman West: Gallia, Germania, and Britannia. Distinctive wide-mouthed amphorae supplied Beirut with fruit from Naples and Libya.

The Roman world cargo ships transported goods to Berytus from all over the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Sea. More than just the inhabitants of the Augustan veteran colony in Beirut loved fish sauce (garum), shipped in heavy amphorae from Cádiz in Spain and the fish salteries of Roman Portugal. Black Sea fisheries supplied additional fish products, tuna fish and probably sturgeon, in amphorae marked in red with their weight and merchant names.`

During the first two centuries frying pans arrived from western Turkey and baking dishes and delicate Italian red tableware were imported from Naples. After the 4th century, Beirut imported all its tableware from Tunisia (African Red Slip Ware), Cyprus and Phocea. After the fatal earthquake and tsunami of AD 551, amphora imports were reduced to Levantine forms with wine from Gaza, Caesarea, Antioch and Cyprus, on the only long distance vessels now coming from the Black Sea, perhaps returning with Phocean Red Slip Ware on ships carrying state cargoes to Constantinople and the armies of the lower Danube.

Special thanks to the co-directors of the AUB Beirut Souks excavations, Helga Seeden (AUB) and London University's Dominic Perring and Tim Williams.

American Education, Global Leaders

Bushra Abdul Halim Jabre
(BA ’65, MPH UNC Chapel Hill ’69)
Vienna, Virginia, United States

Senior Communication Advisor
at the Johns Hopkins Center
for Communication Programs (CCP)

Although Bushra Jabre has trained hundreds of development professionals in the Arab world on effective strategies for advocacy and behavior change, she has had an even greater impact with a project she led to empower and encourage women to participate more fully in civic life. In 2002, Jabre and her colleague Carol Underwood were honored with the Gold Quill Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators for Arab Women Speak Out, a documentary self-empowerment training project that has been implemented by dozens of non-governmental organizations around the world. By 2008, the project had already reached one million women in the Arab world. Day to day, Jabre works on communications programs that influence political dialogue, enhance access to information that improves health and health care, and conducts research to improve health communication. She trains professionals across the Middle East to implement social development interventions ranging from gender equity to reproductive health to literacy education. “AUB gave me the educational base to build my career,” says Jabre. “And as an alumnus, one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had over the years is sharing what I’ve learned with faculty and current AUB students. It’s something we all should do.”

Giving makes a difference. Contact to learn more.