From the President’s DeskMore in this issue
As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19 and its repercussions, it is my hope that you are keeping well and staying safe wherever you are.
I am delighted to bring you this issue of the LAU Magazine & Alumni Bulletin, which is to be my last as I will be handing the Presidential Baton to our esteemed Dean of the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine, President-Elect Dr. Michel E. Mawad, on October 1, 2020.
A physician, academic, researcher and visionary, Dr. Mawad joined LAU in 2017 and has since transformed the school of medicine into one of the leading medical schools in Lebanon. In addition to an impressive clinical and academic career, he has held a number of high-level professional appointments in prestigious hospitals in North America. Although he has spent close to 40 years away, he is a son of Lebanon at heart who is passionate about his country and invested in its future and that of its people.
Our President-Elect will be taking up the position during the most challenging period in Lebanon’s living history, one fraught with every conceivable crisis, culminating with the humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of the devastating explosion at Beirut’s port on August 4. I am confident, however, that with his experience and knowledge of the university, he will navigate LAU through these difficulties with fortitude and clarity of vision. I am honored to introduce you to your new president in the feature Meet President-Elect Dr. Michel E. Mawad.
Since the October 17 uprising, our treasured country has been oscillating between hope and despair and relentlessly confronted with a string of unforeseen adversities. The COVID-19 pandemic had upended lives, while the August 4 blast brought misery and death to scores of Lebanese and destroyed large swaths of our beloved Beirut. In the current unpredictable climate and ever-changing challenges, Transition, the theme of this issue, most aptly describes the transformation we are witnessing. As we embrace the adage that change is the only constant, Transition reminds us all that the survival and future prosperity of our country can only be achieved with active engagement from all of us.
One would have thought that closures and lockdowns would hamper our efforts and derail our mission, but quite the opposite has happened, as this issue will reveal. Any disruption to the academic year by the imposed lockdown was averted by our resourceful faculty and staff. Classes were shifted online, university operations were coordinated from homes, and help on the ground provided to mitigate the spread of the disease. Our COVID-19 section highlights LAU’s efforts on all fronts: research, community, learning and initiatives. Our features tackle questions raised by the pandemic on the looming food crisis, and the future of education.
In closing, allow me to express my deepest gratitude to you all, faculty, staff, students, administration, physicians, nurses, medical staff, alumni, and in particular, our Board of Trustees, for accompanying me on my journey at LAU, and for making our beloved university the powerhouse that it is in American higher education in Lebanon, the MENA region and beyond. It has been an honor and a joy to serve this great institution and our remarkable family.
I have urged you all, time and again, in my speeches not to forget LAU. And now it is my turn to make that pledge.
I will always remember you and carry you in my heart.
Joseph G. Jabbra