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AUB Board of Trustees Announces New Leadership of its International Advisory Council
On its 140th Anniversary, AUB Celebrates Democracy, Hope and Achievement
Archaeologist Nina Jidejian Launches Book on Sidon
Reviews: NGOs and Governance in the Arab World
 

Winter 2007 Vol. V, No. 2

Inside the Gate

Views from Campus

On its 140th Anniversary AUB Celebrates Democracy, Hope, and Achievement

MP Ghassan Tueni, former Ministers Karam Karam, Samir Makdisi, and Adnan Mroue, Press Federation President Mohammed Baalbaki, former Ambassadors Nadim Dimashkiyyeh and Khalil Makkawi, several members of AUB’s Board of Trustees, and a large group of students, faculty, and staff gathered at Assembly Hall on December 4 to celebrate AUB’s 140th Founders Day.

Dr. Marwan Muasher, Jordanian diplomat and government official and a former AUB student (1972-75), President John Waterbury, and the student essay contest winner Sara Mourad, a junior majoring in political studies, all focused their remarks on this year’s theme: “AUB in National and Regional Crises: What is Its Role?” Dr. Muasher highlighted the empowering nature of an AUB education that enables students to think critically, accept truths as relative, and appreciate the power of diversity. He described it as a model of learning that should be applied to the Arab world. President John Waterbury said that despite the challenges the University has faced, it continues to develop and grow stronger. Sara Mourad’s winning essay reiterated the role AUB plays in strengthening democracy and weakening the concept of war.

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SRC Elections 2006

Elections for the Student Representative Committees (SRCs) of each of AUB’s six faculties took place as scheduled on Wednesday, November 15. According to the student newspaper Outlook, which conducted interviews with each of the 95 candidates, 39 of the 95 seats were won by March 14 supporters, 29 by the opposition, 23 by independents, and 4 by No Frontiers candidates. The March 14 alliance is made up of the Future Youth Organization, the Progressive Youth Organization, the Lebanese Forces, and the Democratic Left Movement. The opposition includes Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Amal Movement, and other groups on campus. Although tensions were high throughout Beirut and thousands gathered on Bliss Street on election day, students went to great lengths to ensure that there were no clashes on campus. The elections were democratic and peaceful as students voted in their respective faculties for class representatives.

A build-up of tension at the Main Gate after voting had ended signaled a potentially unstable situation, so the AUB administration adjourned the ballot tally until the next day. For the first time in the history of the University, elections took place over two days. Students gathered at West Hall, protested and chanted slogans, and asked for the ballot count to take place that same evening. Gradually, however, students left to return the next day to cheer their friends and political parties.

The second round of elections to elect 17 SRC representatives from all faculties to the University Student Faculty Committee (USFC), took place on Tuesday, November 28 and Thursday, November 30. Each SRC elects its own cabinet and USFC delegates. In the third and final phase of the elections, USFC members elect their cabinet and representatives to the USFC cabinet: a vice president, treasurer, and secretary. March 14 supporter Lama Andari was elected USFC vice president, the highest student representative office at AUB. Ahmad Nasser and Marie Josee Karam, both March 14 supporters, were elected treasurer and secretary, respectively. In addition to the 17 student representatives, the USFC includes seven faculty members; the president of the committee is President John Waterbury.

The most intense election battle took place in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. By contrast, there was very little competition in other AUB faculties: the Med II students even agreed on their representatives before the elections!

Maysam Ali (BA ’07)

From the Faculties

FAFS

AUB Hosts UNEP Post-war Environmental Assessment Workshop
The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences hosted a workshop on October 2 to assist the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in its post-war environmental damage assessment evaluation. During the training workshop, participants talked about how to collect and analyze environmental samples, organized the work to be done, and finalized the sampling plan. AUB will coordinate contact between UNEP and local experts that included AUB faculty and alumni and 12 representatives from UNEP who had been invited by the Lebanese Ministry of Environment. Once they are gathered, the samples will be divided into two sets; one will be sent abroad for analysis while the second set will be analyzed at AUB.

FAS

Following Melville and Twain to the Holy Land
Ideological questions of colonialism, self-identity, and “providential destiny” related to Israel, Palestine, and the United States were among the issues that Professor Hilton Obenzinger, associate director for Honors Writing and Undergraduate Research Programs and lecturer in the Department of English at Stanford University, addressed on October 31. The lecture entitled “American Palestine: Melville, Twain, and the Holy Land Mania” was hosted by the Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research. Obenzinger focused on Americans’ sense of identity following the Civil War and on how travel to the Holy Land was seen as a way to reaffirm Protestant religious identity.

AMPL Hosts “Comparative Perspectives on Near Eastern Literatures”
“Europe in the Middle East—the Middle East in Europe”—a Berlin-based research program—and the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature held an international summer academy October 2–13 at AUB on the theme of “Traveling Traditions: Comparative Perspectives on Near Eastern Literatures.” The academy supports scholarly research activities in Europe and the Middle East and promotes interdisciplinary research in areas that are likely to benefit from intercultural cooperation.

Shared Rules and Trust Determine Terrorism
On October 19, Yale University Professor Matthew Smith spoke on “Terrorism, Shared Rules and Trust: A Moral Framework for an American Response to Terrorism.” Organized by the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR), the talk presented a moral and ethical analysis of terrorism and rules of conduct during war. Terrorism, said Smith, occurs when opposing parties transgress shared rules of war.

Bush Versus Bin Laden, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism?
On November 9, Victoria Fontan, director of Academic Development and assistant professor of peace studies at the University for Peace, a United Nations mandated institution in Costa Rica, was hosted by CASAR. She spoke on the controversial issue of George Bush versus Osama Bin Laden, terrorism and counter-terrorism.

In her talk, entitled “Back to the Think-Tank: Humiliation Awareness, Non-Violence, and Counter-Terrorism,” she examined the Bin Laden and Muslim world’s retaliatory reactions to the Bush administration's counter-terrorism policies.

CASAR lectures now on-line
All of CASAR’s fall 2006 lectures are now available in audio format on the CASAR website or at: http://staff.aub.edu.lb/~webcasar/Activities/PastEvents/Fall06-07.html

FEA

George Khoury Traces History of Arab Comics

On November 8, the Department of Architecture and Design invited George Khoury to speak on the history of Arab comics in the Arab Middle East and North Africa. Khoury, who is commonly known by his artistic alias Jad, said that there are two generally accepted interpretations of Arab comics. The first sees the Arab comic as a local product with its own development and major periods of evolution. The second stresses the international influences that have shaped the development of Arab comics since the early 1950s.

FHS

Examining Lebanese Mental Health
The Faculty of Health Sciences invited mental health practitioner and AUB alumnus Dr. Elie Karam to talk on “Mental Health in War Time: The L.E.B.A.N.O.N. Study,” on November 8. The L.E.B.A.N.O.N. Study (Lebanese Evaluation of the Burden and Needs of the Nation) analyzed the occurrence of mental disorders in Lebanon in 2002-03 and their relation to previous wartime events that traumatized the nation.

AUB Museum

Groundbreaking Findings at the City of Urkesh
Archaeologist and UCLA Professor Emeritus Giorgio Buccellati presented a lecture entitled “Urkesh, the Royal City, at the Beginning of the Hurrian Civilization” on October 17 at the AUB Museum of Archaeology. In the lecture, he discussed what he had found while excavating the ancient city of Urkesh, when it was active during the time of the Hurrian Dynasty, which dates to 2500 BC. The ancient city is located in the village of Kameshli in northern Syria.

Archaeologist Nina Jidejian Launches Book on Sidon
Nina Jidejian gave an illustrated lecture on the Phoenician necropolises of Sidon, in which she discussed the three necropolises at Magharat Abloun, Aya’a, and Ain el-Helwé on November 15 at the Archaeology Museum. Following the lecture, she signed copies of her book, Sidon Through the Ages (Aleph, ed.), 2006, which was first published in 1972. The new edition includes information on recent discoveries and research results.

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CAMS

The Landau Problem on Bergman Ball
The Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS) hosted a seminar on November 10 by Dr. Ahmed Jellal, CAMS Arab Fellow and member of the Theoretical Physics Group, Chouaib Doukkali University, Morocco. During his talk, “Effective Weiss-Zumino-Witten Action for Edge States of Quantum Hall Systems on Bergman Ball,” Jellal presented his use of a group theory approach that investigates the basic features of the Landau problem on the Bergman Ball.

Students

Step Up and Serve
The Community Service Program at the Office of Student Affairs got AUB students involved in various community service projects during fall 2006. AUB students volunteered with a number of NGOs including Nouveaux Droits de l’Homme, Children and Youth Center, Caritas Lebanon, Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union, and Ayadina. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the Community Service Program web site that is regularly updated with new opportunities: http://staff.aub.edu.lb/~websao/csp/list.html

Best of Beirut: Saj 2007
Outside the Main Gate steps, students can find every kind of gastronomic pleasure they might want, mostly of the grab-and-grin variety. The trendiest and fastest choices these days seem to involve the traditional Lebanese grill, the saj.

The saj is Lebanon’s equivalent of pizza Napolitano, the English fish ‘n’ chips, and the New York hot dog. Although saj manoushee is quite popular, with its different permutations of local thyme blends, cheese, and fresh vegetables, the saj is adapting. There is now pizza saj, ham-and-cheese saj, salami saj, and the chimera of chimeras: the hamburger saj.

On a friend’s enthusiastic recommendation, I decided to try the hamburger saj. The street-corner chef cheerfully slapped a piece of frozen ground beef that looked alarmingly pink and synthetic onto the saj. It started dripping, sputtered, and hissed loudly. After a while, it was upended, and left to sputter some more. Finally, it was shredded into several pieces and mixed with generous dollops of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, and pickle. The combination was then ladled onto a piece of previously made flat bread, wrapped up tight like an enormous bizarre cigar, and handed over to me to eat.

Books tucked under my arm, I leaned over and took a big bite. It was actually pretty good! It had the flavor of grilled meat, spices, warmth, friendliness, street bustle, end-of-exam starvation, fast food without corporate connections, Lebanese cuisine modernizing, and modern Lebanese cuisine going back to its roots.
Emile M. Moacdieh (BS ’08)

Faculty News

Nawwaf Salam Appointed UN Representative
The chair of the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration Nawwaf Salam was recently appointed Lebanon’s representative to the United Nations, succeeding AUB Professor Charles Malek and AUB Trustee Ghassan Tueni. In addition to his interest in international relations, Islam and modernity, and international law, Salam has extensive experience in international law and Lebanese politics.

Leila Musfy Exhibits Her Collection at Centre de Graphisme d’Echirolles
The chair of the Department of Architecture and Design Leila Musfy presented her design collection at the Centre de Graphisme d’Echirolles’ Month of Graphic Design—biennale in France, one of the most prestigious graphic design events in the world. The event incorporates thematic exhibitions, meetings, and discussions among students, academicians, and professionals.

AUB professor awarded major NIH grant to study thalassemia
AUB Professor Ali Taher, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine has been awarded $480,000 by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to conduct a two-year clinical study on thalassemia. Taher is the principal investigator of the study, as well as a consultant at the Chronic Care Center where some 600 thalassemia patients are being treated.

This is the first major NIH-sponsored clinical trial to be funded at AUBMC. Thalassemia is a common genetic disorder resulting from a mutation that causes low red blood cell counts. In Lebanon, three percent of the population is afflicted with thalas semia, which is considered a high prevalence rate for this disease.

“This is the largest study that has been done on thalassemia,” said Taher. “NIH chose us because we have access to a large number of thalassemia patients through the Chronic Care Center and because of the availability of good labs and radiology machines at the AUB Medical Center.” He added that he was grateful to both AUB and the CCC for their support of the study. “It could not have happened without them,” he said.

Sawsan Abdulrahim,
FHS assistant professor, Department of Health Behavior and Education, delivered her paper, “Social Capital and Adolescent Health in the Outer City: Beirut and Beyond” at the 134th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Boston, Massachusetts, November 4-8, 2006.

John Lash Meloy,
FAS associate professor, Department of History and Archaeology, presented his paper, “Fifteenth Century ‘Interlopers’ in the Red Sea” at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Boston, Massachusetts, November 18-21, 2006.

Robert Myers,
FAS associate professor of English and creative writing, received a Platten Grant to attend a reading and workshop of his stage play “Mesopotamia” about Gertrude Bell and the British occupation of Iraq, at the New York Theatre Workshop, October 20-28, 2006.

Karim S. Rebeiz,

OSB assistant professor of accounting, finance, and managerial economics, participated in the 2006 Conference of the International Academy of Business and Economics, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 15-18, 2006. Professor Rebeiz presented three papers: “Derivative Securities in an Islamic Environment: Some Questions and Answers,” “The Cultural Aspect of Corporate Governance: A Study of Six Countries,” and with co-author Rania Uwayda-Mardini, CPA and full-time AUB instructor, “US GAAP Versus IFRS: The Challenges in Global Reporting Issues.”

Helen Sader,

chair, Department of History and Archaeology, delivered her paper, “A Middle Bronze Age Palace with Wall Paintings from Tell el-Burak, Lebanon” in the session entitled “The Archaeology of Lebanon” presided over by Jessica Nietschke at the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) Conference, Washington, DC, November 15-18, 2006.

David Wrisley,
FAS assistant professor, Civilization Sequence Program, recently presented papers at the Spaces of War: France and the Francophone World International Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 26-28, 2006; the Francophone Lecture Series, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, October 31, 2006; and at the International Conference of Poetry, Knowledge and Community in Late Medieval France, Department of French and Italian, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, November 1-4, 2006.

Sui-Kwong Yau,
FAFS professor of plant sciences, delivered two papers at the 2006 International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science of American, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 12-16, 2006.

Arts:

UNacceptable:

AUB Instructor Sharif Abdunnur (Fine Arts and Art History Department) recently produced and directed a political play at the Monnot Theater in Achrafieh. His play UNacceptable attacked the incompetence and abusive nature of some agencies within the United Nations.