AAA Member HE Nadim Dimechkié
has made a career of promoting strong ties between Lebanon
and AUB and the world
After stepping into His Excellency Nadim Dimechkié’s
beautiful salon, with its view stretching from St. George’s
Bay across to Jounieh Bay and on to snow covered Mt. Sannine beyond,
it is easy to understand why this distinguished AUB alumnus (BA
’40, MA ’55) and longtime diplomat returned home to
Lebanon for his retirement.
Ambassador Dimechkié described
how his launch into the world of international diplomacy came when
his regular morning swim off Ras Beirut was interrupted by a police
officer, who led him unceremoniously to the office of Camille Chamoun.
Soon he was on his way to London as economic counselor to the Lebanese
Legation afterward, in 1945, and he later attended the first session
of the United Nations.
diplomatic career took him to such varied locales as Egypt, Switzerland,
Czechoslovakia, the United States, and the United Kingdom from 1952-78.
Throughout, he participated in numerous international economic and
trade conferences, UN sessions, and Arab League summit meetings.
On stepping down in 1979, Dimechkié worked as a business
consultant and devoted his energies to promoting Arab-Anglo and
then Arab-European relationships while based in Geneva.
Having grown up in a traditional Arab
house located on Bliss Street, just opposite Fisk Hall, HE Dimechkié
has maintained strong and committed ties to AUB. In 1995, he was
elected president of the AUB Alumni Association (AAA), conditional
on his serving only one term. During his tenure, he reunited divided
factions among the alumni and strengthened relationships between
the Alumni Association and AUB.
As an ex officio member, he continues
to attend meetings of the AAA Council. “I remain in close
contact and contribute as much as I can. I am very interested in
the activities of the Alumni Association,” he said. In recent
years HE Dimechkié has continued to serve AUB directly as
chairman of the College Hall Fundraising Committee and, more recently,
as head of the Scholarship Aid Fundraising Committee, which is planning
a number of events for 2003.
Ambassador Dimechkié has warm
memories of AUB. “When I was a student,” he reminisced,
“we were such a small group that we knew our professors intimately.
Several of them remained my friends long after graduation.”
Expressing concern over the opening of so many new universities
in Lebanon, he emphasized the benefits of low student-professor
ratios and the intimacies of campus life. “AUB should not
get too much larger,” he said. “I like the campus life.
It keeps links among students and close ties between students and
An Active Agenda
AANA President Ara Tekian shares
his thoughts on the importance of alumni leadership in North America
and his plans for increasing participation.
“When you have the support of
the group, it is a good feeling,” said Ara Tekian on being
unanimously elected president of the Alumni Association of North
America (AANA) in 2002. Indeed, he earned the support of his fellow
alumni with plenty of hard work: volunteering his expertise to the
University on academic programs, chairing the 2001 Chicago alumni
convention, actively participating in the Midwest Chapter, and for
his sheer love of all things AUB. Tekian, who is a prime example
of alumni commitment to the alma mater, has serious plans for his
His ambitions are many: reactivating lapsed chapters;
increasing fundraising efforts of alumni; bringing North American
alumni back to campus; creating a mentorship program; and fine-tuning
the working relationship between AUB and North American alumni.
Tekian realizes that increasing alumni involvement
can be a challenge, “People
always ask how they can help AUB,” he says. “We need
programs that make it easy for alumni to get on board.” Tekian
believes offering organized trips to campus is one sure way of getting
more North American alumni engaged. “Parents can share memories
with their children. Academics, medical professionals, and business
people can lecture on campus,” he says enthusiastically. “Once
alumni see what is happening on campus, they will make commitments—both
financial and personal—to AUB.”
Fundraising is a top priority for Tekian. “With
the Campaign for Excellence underway, it is especially important
for chapters to be active and supportive,” he stresses. Accordingly,
in coordination with AUB’s New York development office, he
organized a successful fundraising retreat for AANA leadership on
November 15 following the New York AANA Gala. He would also like
to see alumni become more active in identifying potential donors
and bringing them into the AUB community.
Likewise, he believes the University has
an important obligation in keeping North American alumni up-to-date
to bolster their role as AUB ambassadors. “Institutional
visibility is a must especially today,” he stressed. “Alumni
volunteers need to know what’s going on at AUB so they can
better serve the University.”
Tekian, who is associate professor of medical education
and director of international affairs at the College of Medicine,
University of Illinois, Chicago, continues to lend his expertise
to AUB’s academic programs. In the fall of 2002 he traveled
to campus to work closely with Raja N. Khuri Dean of Medicine Nadim
Cortas on curriculum planning for the Medical School.
Clearly, Tekian not only has impressive goals as
AANA president—he also has
the energy to put them in place.