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Dreams shake hands with high standards


By the end of the scholastic year 2013, Lebanese American University (LAU) will graduate the first promotion of medical doctors forty years after the admittance of the first male into the college that started as the American School for Girls (ASG) in Beirut in 1835. Few days before the official inauguration ceremony of the “medical” building that cost about ten million dollars, Dr. Jabra, president of LAU, spoke to Podcast Journal about how unthinkable dreams could come true.


The sky is a limit! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
The sky is a limit! Photo (C) Ibrahim Chalhoub
podcast_lau_dreams_standards.mp3 Podcast_LAU_Dreams_Standards.mp3  (515.93 Ko)

Dr. Joseph Jabra came running into the president office on the sixth floor of the Science Building in LAU Byblos. He was trying to insure the necessary balance in time between his recurrent visits to the building under final preparations for the great day and his interview with Podcast Journal. We’re talking about a huge construction that started as a dream back in 1997 when Dr. Michael Debakey and Dr. Philip Salem came to the Byblos campus of LAU to contribute to the launch of the medical school. By that time, the amount of the combined contribution of the internationally renowned professors formed a symbolic instigator for a dream, the medical school.

In 2004, Dr. Jabra became the president of LAU. He asked for an analysis of the feasibility of a medical school in LAU by Harvard experts who were clearly positive about the issue. By that time, I started raising funds and I was able to get five million dollars, clarified Dr. Jabra. The other five millions were provided by a friend ambassador who was also able to get us three and a half million dollars for the nursing school named by his mother as a tribute for his extraordinary help for LAU, added the president. The Alice Ramez Chaghoury nursing school will also be hosted in LAU new building, which is also supposed to provide sufficient space for the pharmacy school.

In this respect, the eight-year president of LAU considers the university a dream. LAU is a dream unfolding and in every time it unfolds there is something new which indicates the dream will never die as long as it is in the head of people filled with passion to the task of translating the dream to reality, Dr. Jabra stated while forming a firm fist with his right hand as a gesture of his commitment to the powerful mission of LAU. Indicating that the university is a student centered institution pleading for academic excellence in everything it does, the president spoke of a well knit ‘family’ believing in the education of the whole person. On the academic level, our standards rose dramatically after the accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), thus we serve the society by graduating leaders with strong ethics at high standards, added Dr. Jabra.

What the president of LAU was alluding at in his statements on educating the whole person and strong ethics could be explained in an example about nineteen students who once caused some troubles on campus because of difference in political views in an institution that is completely out of politics. Those students were sent out of the university. Their return was conditioned by four obligatory workshops on anger management, accepting others, addressing differences peacefully, and a work of hundred fifty hours of community work followed by an exam. Eighteen succeeded and became role models, said the president with a smile on his face.

Refusing elitism, Dr. Jabra said that LAU believes that what is important is not just who to admit because there are some people who can simply not afford studying in this private university. He raised fifteen million dollars for the university students who usually come from private schools. This amount is to be provided to about twenty eight percent of LAU students who need financial help in grants, loans, and remunerated student work. But what is actually special with the presidency of Dr. Jabra is the inclusion of students from public schools into the study at LAU. Those are students who cannot afford getting there even with a financial aid like that provided to other students. LAU got three major grants of a total of about twenty four million dollars to incorporate about hundred ninety students from Lebanese public schools, in three groups. The funds are supposed to cover tuition, housing, food, as well as pocket money for those particular students who are educationally capable, but financially deficient.

Podcast Journal: What is LAU trying to do regarding the market needs of Lebanon?
Dr. Jabra: LAU is trying to best to ensure the needs of Lebanon as well as the MENA region filling labor and intellectual needs of the private as well as the public sector.

Podcast Journal: With all what LAU is aiming at achieving, where do you consider you could take LAU?
Dr. Jabra: The sky is a limit!

Ibrahim Chalhoub
Correspondant - Photographe En savoir plus sur cet auteur
06/10/2012




1.Posté par Combot Jérémy le 05/01/2013 20:59 | Alerter
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