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Class Notes


Hasan M. Pharaon (MD ‘43) recently wrote to share the story of his life with MainGate. He tells us that he is a Palestinian who graduated in 1936 from College des Frères (St. Joseph) in Jaffa before moving to Beirut to pursue his medical studies at AUB. On the personal level, we also learn that in 1957 he married a Danish woman, Hildur Bech Jensen and that they have three sons—Ali, Omar, and Tareq. Today, in looking back on his accomplishments in the medical professional during the past six decades of his life, Dr. Pharaon is pleased to say that he has enjoyed a long and successful career. In 1943, with his valued AUB medical degree in hand, the young doctor went back home to Palestine and began working as a clinical assistant at the Government Hospital in Jaffa. In 1945, he completed a residency at the Children's Hospital of Cairo University that earned him a diploma in child health. Again, he returned to Palestine, where in 1947 he established the city’s first pediatric clinic, as well as the Jaffa Arab Medical Society. But then the 1948 war in Palestine intervened and dramatically changed everything. During that period of violent upheaval and human displacement, Dr. Pharaon served as a liaison officer with the International Red Cross. In 1955, he left for Paris, where he spent two years in residency at the Paris University Pediatric Hospital. In 1957, after his marriage in Paris, he and his wife left Paris to live permanently in Amman. A short year later, he established the first pediatric hospital in Jordan for the Ministry of Health, which remained under his charge for the next 14 years. In 1972, he helped establish the Jordan University Hospital and later served as its first general director. Throughout the years, Dr. Pharaon remained active in pediatric medical research and was also instrumentally involved in a number of medical societies and organizations in Jordan. He has received several awards for his work in Jordan, among them those from the Ministry of Health and the Jordan Pediatric Society.

Elias Srouji
(MD ’44; former faculty 1968–76), whose wife ‘Effat Osseriran (RN ’48) is also an AUB graduate, writes that after leaving the faculty of AUB in 1976 he joined the faculty of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma. He retired in 1998 and in the years since then concentrated on writing a book about his life. Entitled Cyclamens from Galilee: Memoirs of a Physician from Nazareth, the book was published in December 2003. For those alumni and friends interested in learning more about his memoirs, click on:


Naomi Topalian (RN ’52) was the author featured on a program organized by the Armenian International Women’s Association, New England affiliate, on November 5 in Arlington, Massachusetts. She read passages from her latest book, entitled Breaking the Rock of Tradition—an autobiography that records her life as the child of parents who escaped the Armenian massacre in Turkey and describes growing up in an Armenian refugee camp in Beirut and later in the Nor Marash Bourj Hammoud neighborhood. It is a straightforward, engrossing account of her life and spirit. Naomi’s books can be ordered by emailing her at ngtopalian[at]


Van Coufoudakis
(BA ’62) has been appointed president of the Cyprus Chapter of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI). A long-time member, supporter, and AHI advisory board member, he was recently appointed rector of the Intercollege in Cyprus and is also dean emeritus of the School of Arts and Sciences of Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Van received his PhD in Political Science and his MPA from the University of Michigan and has written extensively on post-World War II US foreign policy and on the politics and foreign and defense policies of Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus.

Hal Herzog
(BA ’68) is professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, a small institution located in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina. His wife, Mary Jean, is also a faculty member there and they are the proud parents of a son and two daughters. Hal writes that his research and publications generally concern comparative psychology, ethical issues in science, and the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Albert Matta (BCE ’62) of Abu Dhabi received an honorable recognition citation from the Republic of France in fall 2003 for his distinguished record of public and community service.

Sami Nseiri (BBA ’61) has been elected as governor of the 351st Lions District of Lebanon and Jordan.

Henry Nasrallah (BS ’68, MD ’72) and Amelia Tebcherani Nasrallah (BS ’68, MD ’70), writing from their home in Cincinnati, Ohio, want us to know what’s new in their lives. After serving as the chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Ohio State University for 12 years, Henry is now associate dean and professor of psychiatry, neurology, and neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Amelia is also on the faculty of the Psychiatry Department and serves as the administrator of the GCRC at the university’s medical center. They have two children, a son, Ramzy and a daughter, Rima, who is currently a second-year pediatrics resident at the UC Children’s Hospital. Henry just published his tenth book on schizophrenia and keeps busy as an editor of two journals, Schizophrenia Research and The Journal of Psychotic Disorders. Amelia and Henry are overjoyed with the birth of their new grandchild, Madeline Rose Nasrallah. Calls or visits from their many AUB friends and classmates are welcome! E-mails can be sent to henry.nasrallah[at] or amelia.nasrallah[at]

John Youssef (BS ’60) and wife Aniseh Sowan (BA ’62) live in Woodland Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. After receiving his MS from Ohio State University, John spent most of his career in advertising and marketing research. He worked for several advertising agencies, including Ketchum and Young & Rubicum, and is now publishing a magazine for advertising and special promotions in the San Fernando Valley, California. John and Aniseh have two daughters, Joumana and Nadine, who both graduated from UCLA and pursued graduate work at USC. Joumana received an MA from USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and is now a client relations manager at Digital Insight, in Westlake Village, California. Nadine received her law degree from USC and is practicing law at Pillsbury Winthrop L.L.P. in downtown Los Angeles. On their last trip to Beirut, Joumana and Nadine wanted to get a taste of AUB and Professor Nabil Dajani was gracious enough to invite them to attend one of his classes. It was a very rewarding experience for the girls. John and Aniseh would love to hear from old friends and classmates and can be reached at couponcollt[at]



Hamad A. Al-Zamil
(MS ’75) recently received an honorable recognition citation from the Republic of France for his distinguished record of public and professional service.

Fadi El Jardali
(MPH ’95) was appointed in fall 2003 as senior policy adviser for the Health Policy and Communications Branch of Health Canada in Ottawa. Congratulations!

Kifah Fakhoury
(MA ’76) has been reelected as director of the International Music Council of UNESCO for another two-year term.

Tarek Kettaneh
(BE ’70) writes that thirty years after graduation, having spent the intervening time working in the United States, Iran, Egypt and Jordan, he has bid farewell to the corporate world to become a full time lecturer at AUB’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. Happily married, he and his wife Marina have three boys and have been residing in Lebanon since 1997.

Azzam D. Saad
(BE ’79) graduated in May 2003 from the Whittier Law School in Southern California with a Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the State of California Bar in December 2003. Azzam also earned a Certificate of Intellectual Property from Whittier.

Thelma Tajirian
(BA ’78), who is the executive director and founder of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program in Armenia, was asked to speak at the United Nations Annual NGO Conference in New York in September 2003 about her successful launch of the program in Armenia. The Women’s Entrepreneurship Program is implemented through a partnership between the Armenian International Women’s Association and the American University of Armenia.


Reem Acra (BBA ’82), acclaimed New York fashion designer, returned to AUB on November 5 to give a talk at the invitation of the students of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. Reem recalled that her first fashion show took place at AUB on the Green Oval and that she realized then how much she wanted to pursue a career in fashion design. Her bridal and evening gowns are sold by the top retailers in the United States, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and can also be purchased in her boutique off Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Reem told the students that she believes her educational background in marketing and business management at AUB helped her successfully expand and manage her company.

Ghassan Alayli
(BS ’83, MD ’86), a rheumatologist at the Weirton Medical Center in West Virginia, presented a public lecture, “Arthritis: Fact or Fiction,” on November 11 at the medical center. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has a joint practice at the WMC Medical Office Building. Ghassan served his medical residency at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and completed a fellowship in rheumatology at Emory University in Atlanta. He is a member of the American College of Rheumatologists, American College of Physicians, and the American Medical Association.

Rana Hajjeh
(BS ’84, MD ’88) has been assigned by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, to the Navy Medical Research Unit (NAMRU-3) in Cairo, Egypt. She will serve as the director of the Disease Surveillance Program of NAMRU-3, and will be working with the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of the World Health Organization, also located in Cairo, as the CDC regional contact for infectious diseases.

Bassem Hassan
(BS ’89) was awarded the European Molecular Biology Organization’s Young Investigator Programme (YIP) Award for 2003 for his seminal work in neuronal development. Congratulations!

Nabil Saad
(BS ’89) happily writes that he and Reem Yunis were married on August 8, 2003, in Tiburon, California. Reem is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Animal Physiology Department of the University of California at Davis. Nabil, who received his BS in food technology and nutrition and holds a PhD in analytical toxicology from Cornell University, is a scientific instrumentation design engineer at Stanford Research Systems in Sunnyvale, California. The couple resides in the San Francisco Bay area.

Wafaa Safaoui (CCE ’89) married Hussein Sbeity on August 29, 2003, in San Francisco. Among the friends and family attending the happy occasion was her sister Lina Safaoui, development officer at AUB’s Development Office in Beirut. Wafaa is currently the vice president of the Northern California Chapter of AANA.

Nicolas W. Shammas (BS ’83, MS ’87, MD ’87), a consultant and interventional cardiologist with the Genesis Heart Institute and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, has recently launched a regional educational and clinical research foundation, the Midwest Cardiovascular Research Foundation. MCRF is a non-profit organization composed of research sites from across the Midwest. Its mission is to prolong and improve the quality of life in the communities it serves by conducting high-quality cardiovascular clinical research and disseminating its findings. The MCRF' website ( gives detailed information about the foundation and its affiliates, including educational programs, a newsroom, and an event room that describes the foundation’s activities. Cardiac Interventions and Practice Guidelines (CIPG 2004), the annual conference of MCRF, will be held August 5-6, 2004, at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort in Chicago and is co-sponsored by the University of Illinois. Shammas, the chairman of CIPG 2004, looks forward to seeing AUBites at the conference who specialize in the care of the cardiovascular patients and are interested in heart disease prevention.


Hassan Said Bazzi (MS ’98) recently received his PhD in chemistry from McGill University in Montreal.

Ghada Issa (BS ’92) writes from New Jersey that the best years of her life were spent at AUB. She recently visited Lebanon and had
a chance to stop by at AUB again. She says that it is really the most beautiful campus—and added she would like to see a few more photos of it on the university website.


Ali Saleh Itani (BA 2000) was appointed adviser on Middle Eastern affairs to Japan’s House of Representatives.