On the 144thAmerican University of Beirut (AUB) Founder’s Day, Thursday, December 9, 2010, the university alumni commemorated the event in a reception held at the Bristol Hotel in Beirut. In collaboration with Nelson House for publishing, the alumni celebrated the launching of a new book on the most distinguished 25 professors of the university over its life span of 144 years. These faculty members excelled in academia and many of them served in extremely important posts at the university or outside it. Of the 25 faculty members depicted in the book, only 5 are still alive and they are Salim El-Hoss, Kamal Salibi, Elie Salem, Tarif Khalidi and Philip Salem.
The ceremony started with Mr. Ibrahim Khoury of AUB press and information department speaking on the meaning of the Founder’s Day. The president of the alumni, Mr. Muraby welcomed the audience and in particular Mr. El-Hoss who was the only one of the 25 faculty members able to attend the ceremony. Mr. Bakhti , the president of Nelson House for Publishing said “it is very befitting that we are here to remember and celebrate the genius of these faculty members and to remember the message of AUB. We are celebrating their contributions as they were responsible for the educational, cultural and scientific renaissance at AUB, Lebanon, and the Arab world”. At the end, the president of the press syndicate in Lebanon, Mohammed Baalbaki, spoke about the role of AUB and how AUB survived the war in Lebanon, and how important the message of AUB is, not only to the Arab world, but also to the whole world. Mr. Baalbaki said “contrary to the dark state of politics in this part of the world, these graduates and faculty members of AUB have contributed immensely for the advancement of mankind”. He spoke about “Mr. El Hoss and the other scholars in politics who refined the art of political debate” and he also spoke about “the Khalil Hawis who transformed Arabic literature, and the Philip Salems who transformed medicine and who alleviate human suffering every day.”
The book is authored by Mr. Michel Jeha, a professor of Arabic literature, and a graduate of AUB.
The above piece was published in Arabic in Annahar newspaper of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, December 11, 2010.