Prime Minister Saad Hariri held this evening at the Grand Serail a dinner in honor of the Board of Trustees and the administration of the American University of Beirut, to launch “Boldly AUB the Campaign to Lead, Innovate, and Serve”.
The dinner was attended by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Ministers Ghassan Hasbani, Marwan Hamade, Jamal Jarrah, Yaacoub Sarraf, Jean Oghassabian, Ayman Choucair, Ghattas Khoury, Inaya Ezzedine, Mouin Al-merhebi and , Raed Khoury, MP Bahia Hariri, US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard, Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdel Aal Qinai, a number of MPs, Arab ambassadors and friends of the American University of Beirut, including Mr. Maroun Semaan as well as academic figures.
Hariri said: “I praise the slogan you chose yesterday “Boldly AUB” and I hope that this will be a motto for all of us Lebanese, “Boldly Lebanon”.
He added: “It is my pleasure to welcome you to this evening dedicated to supporting one of the most prestigious universities in Lebanon, the American University of Beirut.
As we say in Lebanon, my testimony about this University cannot be objective.
I am proud of being among its Board of trustees, as was my father Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri before me.
Our support for AUB has been firm for more than 30 years, on both the personal and national levels. This support stems from our strong belief that higher education in Lebanon is one of the secrets of the magic recipe, which makes our small country a model of coexistence, freedom and democracy, and makes the Lebanese human capital a resource for excellence, creativity, initiative and achievement in the region and the world.
The American University of Beirut is the largest employer in the private sector in Lebanon, and from its faculties graduate each year the students who are mostly demanded by the private sector in Lebanon and the Arab world. As such, it is one of our precious Lebanese economic resources and a source of pride for our country and for the Arabs.
When asking employers, in a region stretching from South Africa to Russia, and from India to Greece, they categorize this university as being among the best 100 universities in the world, in terms of graduates’ competencies.
The board of Trustees has been committed since the end of the ill-fated civil war to ensure the best international level in education, research and services at the American University in Beirut. In 2010, the Board of Trustees adopted the Vision 2020 for the medical center, which is developing a university medical center, chaired by Dean Dr. Mohamed Sayegh. In 2015, the Board of Trustees elected one of its members, Dr. Fadlo Khoury, to be the sixteenth president of the university, and the first Lebanese to assume the highest position at the American University in Beirut, in order to develop a new vision for the university.
He began to elaborate an unprecedented project in the Arab world that includes medicine, public health, bio-medical engineering, nutrition, agriculture, and others. As we all witnessed yesterday, the university launched a financing campaign, based on a strategic vision that stretches to 2030 and consecrates AUB among the best 100 universities in the world.
The best starting point for this campaign was to name the best engineering schools in the Arab world, thanks to a grant from the Mr. Maroun Semaan, a graduate and an example of the Lebanese success in the world, who granted his university the largest individual donation in its history.
The new strategic vision of the American University in Beirut includes new job opportunities, expanding the agricultural university center in the Bekaa Valley, in addition to a financial aid program that attracts the best students of the University and other prestigious universities in Lebanon, regardless of their financial capacities. The Lebanese government is determined to have a partnership with the university, because it is the best research center in the country, to stimulate the new economy, which provides work opportunities for young men and women in Lebanon. This is a commitment, from me personally as well as in my capacity as president of the Council of Ministers, for the American University of Beirut to remain a source of ideas, brains and initiatives that will improve the standard of living in Lebanon and the entire Arab world.
In return, the university should engage in partnership with all of Lebanon’s universities to develop university education in general and support the Lebanese University in particular. It also should engage in a partnership with universities throughout the Arab world to consolidate its role of producing new generations of Arab scientists and leaders.
I thank my colleagues in the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and all the staff of the university. I thank President Dr. Fadlo Khoury for his successful leadership of the University and I thank Dean Mohamed Sayegh for his efforts to gather us all this evening”.
Dean Sayegh, Dr Khoury and the chairman of the Board of trustees Dr Philip Khoury each gave a speech underlining the importance of the role of AUB.
Hariri met earlier with the ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states: Kuwaiti Ambassador Abdel Aal Al- Qinai, Qatari Ambassador Ali bin Mohammed Al Marri, UAE Ambassador Mohammed Al Shamsi, Saudi charge d’affaires Walid al-Bukhari and Oman charge d’affaires Khaled ben Ali Hardan. The meeting focused on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region as well as the relations between Lebanon and the Gulf states.