American University of Beirut

American University of Beirut

name = American University of Beirut
الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت

motto = "That they may have life and have it more abundantly."
established = 1866
type = Private
president = Peter F. Dorman
provost = Peter Heath
city =
country = Lebanon
students = 7,036 (2006-07)
undergrad = 5,725
postgrad = 1,311
staff = 522 full-time instructional faculty
campus = Urban, 73 acre
website = []
The American University of Beirut (AUB; _ar. الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت) is a private, independent university in Beirut, Lebanon. It was founded as the "Syrian Protestant College" by American missionary Daniel Bliss in 1866. The name was changed to the "American University of Beirut" on November 18, 1920. The university is popularly known as AUB.

The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools granted AUB institutional accreditation in June 2004. Degrees awarded by AUB are officially registered with the Ministry of Higher Education in Lebanon and with the Board of Education in the State of New York. Many professional degrees are also accredited by the respective accrediting bodies in the United States, Lebanon, and and other nations.

On March 21, 2008, the Board of Trustees selected Peter F. Dorman to be AUB's 15th president effective July 1, 2008. He succeeds Dr. John Waterbury who was president of AUB from 1998 to 2008. Dr. Dorman is an international scholar in the field of Egyptology and presently chairs the University of Chicago's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

In June 2006, the number of degrees and diplomas awarded since June 1870 totaled 72,838. [AUB Undergraduate Catalogue 2007-08, page 25.]


In 1862, American missionaries in Syria, under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, asked Dr. Daniel Bliss to withdraw from evangelistic work and missions in Syria, (under Ottoman rule, modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine were part of Greater Syria) to found a college of higher learning with an American educational character, self-maintained and administered independently from the Mission, that would include medical training. Bliss, like other American missionaries active in the Middle East at the time, recognized the need for a secular institution to impart notions of patriotism, republicanism, and the preservation of individual liberties. Growing numbers of graduates from the Syrian Protestant College would embrace the American paradigm of nationalism and declare themselves devotees of Arabism. The college, according to Arab historian George Antonius, had provided the "intellectual effervescence" for an Arab revival, one that would transform the region's politics.Michael Oren (2007). "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present" (New York: W.W. Norton & Company) p. 218.]

Dr. Bliss traveled to the United States in the summer of 1862 to solicit funds for this new enterprise. By August, 1864, he had raised $100,000 by soliciting contributions from a number of British and American donors, including Mrs. Franklin H. Delano, great-aunt of the thirty-second president.Michael Oren (2007). "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present" (New York: W.W. Norton & Company) p. 217.] However, because of inflation during the Civil War, he raised a sterling fund in England to start the operations of the college, leaving the dollar fund to appreciate. After collecting £4,000 in England, he traveled to Beirut in March, 1866.

On April 24, 1863, while Dr. Bliss was raising money for the new school, the State of New York granted a charter under the name of the Syrian Protestant College. The college opened with its first class of 16 students on December 3, 1866. [Kaplan, Robert D. "The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite." New York: The Free Press, 1993. ISBN 0-02-916785-X p. 35.]

The cornerstone of College Hall, the first building on the present campus in Ras Beirut, was laid on December 7, 1871, by the Honorable William E. Dodge, Sr., then Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. At this ceremony, President Daniel Bliss expressed the guiding principle of the college in these words:

College Hall and the first medical building were completed and put to use in 1873, and the bell in the tower of College Hall pealed for the first time in March, 1874. However, College Hall was extensively damaged by an explosion in the early morning of November 8, 1991, and the building had to be demolished. It was later rebuilt, and the new College Hall was inaugurated in the spring of 1999.Since its earliest years the University has continually expanded and developed new faculties and programs. In 1867, the University started the School of Medicine. Four years later, in 1871, both the school of pharmacy and a preparatory school were added. The latter became independent in 1960 and is currently known as International College. In 1900, the University established a school of commerce which was later incorporated into the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. When the hospital (currently the AUB Medical Center) opened in 1905, a school of nursing was also established. In 1910 the University opened a school of dentistry, which operated for thirty years. In the early 1950s, several new programs were established: The School of Agriculture was established in 1950 and renamed the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences in 1979; the School of Engineering was founded in 1951 and renamed the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture in 1966; the School of Health Sciences was established in 1954 and renamed the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1978.

On November 18, 1920, the Board of Regents of the State University of New York changed the name of the institution from the Syrian Protestant College to the American University of Beirut after the establishment of the state of Greater Lebanon in August 1920; other charter amendments expanded the functions of the University. The University became completely coeducational in 1924. Except for a brief period during the Lebanese civil war, all AUB presidents have lived on campus at Marquand House, which was completed in 1879.


The 73 acre AUB campus is on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on one side and bordering Bliss Street on the other. Bliss Street has many restaurants and is popular among university students. Since AUB has a closed campus, it is only possible to enter the university through gates, namely Main Gate (middle of Bliss Street), Medical Gate (near the American University Hospital), Sea Gate (at the foot of the hill), and the Peripheral Gate (near the men's residence buildings), and another small gate near the women's residence.

The Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences' Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC), a convert|247|acre|km2|sing=on research farm and educational facility, is located in the Beqaa Valley.

Famous landmarks on campus include Main Gate, College Hall, West Hall, Green Oval, Nicely Hall, Assembly Hall (originally a chapel), Green Field, and the Charles Holster Center.

Faculties and schools

* [ Faculty of Agricultural & Food Sciences (FAFS)]
* [ Faculty of Arts & Sciences (FAS)]
* [ Faculty of Engineering & Architecture (FEA)]
* [ Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)]
* [ Faculty of Medicine (FM)]
* [ Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB)]
* [ School of Nursing (SoN)]


In October 2002, AUB launched a five-year $140 million fund raising campaign - the Campaign for Excellence - to celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2006-07. The campaign , which ended on December 31, 2007, raised more than $171 million. While relatively modest by US standards, the campaign was the largest educational fund raising campaign in the Arab Middle East.

In 2002, former US Diplomat and AUB Alumnus Charles Hostler donated US$ 11.7 million to build the Charles W. Hostler Student Center, a state-of-the-art sports facility.

In 2003, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal donated US$ 5.5 million to help establish the Center for American Studies and Research (CASAR). The center holds lectures and workshops on American issues and offers, as of September 2004, a minor in American Studies.

Also under construction is the new home of the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business on the lower campus of the university. It is slated for completion in 2009.

The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs which was made possible by a US$ 5.2 million donation from Issam Fares, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon, will be built on middle campus replacing the Gulbenkian Infirmary. The building was designed by AUB alumnus and world renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

In 2007, AUB re-introduced PhD programs in Arab and Middle Eastern History, Arabic Language and Literature, Cell and Molecular Biology, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Theoretical Physics. Its master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies which is offered by the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) is considered one of the best in the world.

In February 2008, AUB launched its YouTube Educational Channel, following in the footsteps of universities such as UC Berkeley and MIT [ AUB Channel] .

Violence on campus

*On June 19, 1982, "the president of the American University in Beirut, David S. Dodge was kidnapped. Foreign special services are believed to be behind this abduction and that of most of the other 30 Westerners seized over the next 10 years."Ini, Gilead. "Timeline of Hezbollah Violence." "On Campus" Fall 2006: 13-14]
*Dr. Malcolm Kerr, the ninth president and father of Steve Kerr, was assassinated on January 18, 1984.
*On November 8, 1991, AUB's main administration building, College Hall, was badly damaged by a bomb that toppled its famous clock tower. The building had to be demolished. It was later rebuilt, and the new College Hall was inaugurated in the spring of 1999. [ [ History of the American University of Beirut, AUB, Lebanon ] ]
*Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (Raymond Ghosn) and the Dean of Student Affairs (Robert Najemy) were assassinated on February 17, 1976 by an irate student, Najim Najim. The Engineering building now carries the name of Dean Ghosn.Fact|date=December 2007


AUB graduates have attained prominent positions in many fields including government, science, economics, business, and medicine. AUB graduates are prominent in Lebanese politics: Former Prime Minister Saeb Salam and former Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Adil Osseiran, who were leaders of the independence movement after the French mandate, were AUB graduates. Other famous politicians include Prime Ministers Selim al-Hoss, Najib Mikati, and Fouad Siniora, in addition to many ministers and members of parliament. AUB also played an important role as the breeding ground for Arab thinkers such as Syrian scholar Constantin Zurayk, and founder of the Syrian Social Nationalist PartyAntun Saadeh. Famous politicians include former Palestinian minister Hanan Ashrawi, Syrian anti-French nationalist of the 1920s and 1930s Abdul Rahman Shahbandar, former Syrian president Nazim al-Kudsi, and Syrian prime minister Faris al-Khoury, who was also an instructor at AUB. The Syrian poet Omar Abu Risheh is an AUB graduate, and so is the Syrian novelist Ghada al-Samman.

Nineteen former AUB students were delegates to the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945. []

"Notable Alumni" (in Alphabetical order)
*Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar, Syrian anti-French nationalist.
*Abdulrahman Mohammed Jamsheer, businessman, and chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security of the Shura Council in Bahrain.
*Abdulsalam Haykal, Syrian serial-entrepreneur and activist.
*Adel Osseiran, Parliamentary speaker.
*Afif Ayyub, Ambassador.
*Akram Miknas, Chairman of Fortune Promoseven.
*Barakat Ahmad, Indian diplomat and Muslim scholar.
*Basil Fuleihan, World Bank economist, minister of economy and trade, killed in the Hariri assassination.
*Charles Hostler, Ambassador
*Charles Malik, Philosopher, diplomat, Ambassador to the US & UN, co-drafted the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
*Costantine Zurayk, Syrian historian, former AUB Professor and President
*Elias Saba, Lebanese cabinet minister.
*Emile Bustani, businessman, entrepreneur, politician, philanthropist.
*Emile Haddad, CIO of Lennar, largest homebuilder in the US.
*Faris al-Khoury, a former teacher at AUB and the former prime minister of Syria from 1944 to 1945 and from 1954 to 1958
*Fawwaz Ulaby, Syrian electrical engineer, and winner IEEE Edison Medal. Provost of KAUST.
*George Habash, Palestinian activist.
*George Makhoul, Regional Head, Middle East and North Africa, Morgan Stanley
*Ghada al-Samman, Syrian novelist.
*Ghassan Tueni, journalist, politician, ambassador, editor of the Lebanese daily, An-Nahar.
*Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian legislator (Honorary Doctorate from AUB).
*Hasib Sabbagh, co-founder of Consolidated Contractors Company.
*Hassan Kamel Al-Sabbah, Inventor and holder of 43 US Patents.
*Hrayr K. Shahinian, world-renowned Skull Base Surgeon & Director of Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, California U.S.A.
*Ja'afar Touqan, architect.
*Kamal Salibi, Lebanese historian, Honorary President of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies in Jordan.
*Kamal Shair, founder of Dar Al-Handasah.
*Lea Rustom, founder of the Alba Tayeb charity organization
*Leila Fawaz, director of the Fares Center of Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, Professor of History and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
*Mahmoud Hessaby, Scientist.
*Mohamad Noah bin Omar, first speaker of Malaysian Parliament (Dewan Rakyat).
*Mounir Aoun, famous story teller.
*Nabeel Jabbour, author, professor and lecturer.
*Nabil Matar, distinguished professor, and world authority on Anglo-Islamic studies
*Nabil W. Nassar, Nassar Engineering (Former Senior Partner and No.2 of Dar Al-Handasah Consultants)
*Najib Mikati, billionaire co-founder of Investcom, a former prime minister of Lebanon.
*Nazih Taleb, founder of Dar Al Handasah which later split into Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair & Partners) and Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Nazih Taleb)
*Nazim al-Kudsi, a former President of Syria.
*Nicola Khuri, world-renowned physicist and professor at Rockefeller University.
*Philip S. Khoury, MIT Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History.
*Ray R. Irani, CEO of Occidental Petroleum.
*Raymond Khoury, novelist
*Riad al Khouri - development economist; Senior Fellow of the William Davidson Institute, University of Michigan; member of the International Council, Questscope; co-founder and principal, KryosAdvisors, Amman and Beirut
*Riad Salameh, governor of the Lebanese Central Bank.
*Saeb Salam, a former prime minister of Lebanon.
*Said Khoury, co-founder of Consolidated Contractors Company
*Salah D. Salman, former head of the ENT department at AUH, former minister, authority on Sinus Surgery
*Selim al-Hoss, economist, a former prime minister of Lebanon.
*Serene Husseini Shahid, Palestinian writer.
*Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
*Taha Mikati, investor and billionaire, founder of Investcom. Personal friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
*Walid Chammah, co-president of Morgan Stanley.
*Walid Jumblatt, Progressive Socialist Party Leader.
*Widad Kawar, internationally renowned collector of ethnic and cultural arts
*Zaha Hadid, world-renowned Iraqi architect.
*Zalmay Khalilzad, American diplomat, US ambassador to the UN, former ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq.
*Ziad Matar Lebanese civil engineer and founder of Binaa Engineering.
*Ziad Zaatari, mechanical engineer.

Notable Faculty

*Albert Hourani, one of the most prominent scholars of Middle Eastern history for much of the second half of the 20th century.
*John Waterbury, president of the university and Professor of Political Science, former chairman of the department of Political Science at Princeton University
*Malcolm Kerr, political scientist
*Elias Khoury, novelist and historian, author of "Gate of the Sun"
* Tarif Khalidi, author and renowned Islamic Studies scholar, holder of Sheikh Zaid Chair of the Center for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES)
* Peter Dorman
* Samir Seikaly
* Sadek el Azem
* Mounir Bashshour

Former Students

*Elias Furzeli Member of the Lebanese Parliament and former Deputy Parliamentary Speaker



External links

* [ American University of Beirut]
* [ AUB Medical Center]
* [ Middle States Commission on Higher Education]
* [ Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs]
* [ Center for American Studies and Research]
* [ AUB Accreditation]
* [ "Washington Post" correspondent Amar Bakshi interviews students at AUB]
* [ AUB student discusses her conflicted feelings about America after the July War of 2006 with "Washington Post" correspondent Amar Bakshi]
* []

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