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An unfolding dream: Alf Mabrouk!

LAU Beirut students celebrate the 89th annual commencement exercises with style and sentiment.

“I don’t see 700 graduates in front of me, I see 700 revolutionaries!” remarked valedictorian Toni Joe Gerius Lebbos in a high-voltage speech to fellow business graduates on July 12.

With a near perfect GPA and many extracurricular activities and volunteer experience under his belt, Lebbos spoke about the human values he acquired during his time at LAU. “When I first came to this university, all that mattered to me was graduating and earning money, but since then I have come to realize that we, those privileged enough to stand here today, have a responsibility to confront the challenges that await our generation,” he said. “Winter is coming to this part of the world and what our society needs is revolutions of philosophy and ideas. But before we do that, first let me take a selfie,” he joked to a laughing crowd, lifting the gravitas of the moment.

There was certainly plenty of laughing and celebration on July 11 as well, when LAU Beirut conferred degrees to graduates from the School of Architecture and Design and the School of Arts and Sciences.

Valedictorian Sarah Hussein Abou Alaiwi underscored the importance of creating change in the world. “We are so fortunate to be here tonight, sometimes we take what we have for granted, but right now our dreams are coming true—we stand here as the harvest of the seeds our parents planted years ago.” She concluded her impassioned address with a quote from Gandhi: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ 

With palpable pride, LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra described LAU’s ascension as a top regional university as an “unfolding dream.” In line with the university’s spirit of continuous improvement, Jabbra said that LAU refuses to sit on its laurels and constantly embarks on ambitious goals to reach increasingly higher levels of academic excellence. Ever the indefatigable advocate for community service, Jabbra left the students with a heartfelt appeal: “May you be the Godsent healers to begin lovingly fixing our seriously broken, damaged and bleeding Lebanese society.”

Named as one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine, Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE minister of International Cooperation and Development and president of Sheikh Zayed University, was granted an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters in absentia. Addressing the crowd through a video message, she offered the following advice - mined from her own career as a global philanthropist: “Strive to build a better and brighter future. We expect no less from all of you. The formidable challenges are well known, but with the blessings of God, the vitality of youth and the advantages of quality education we will look to you to lead the way.”

For political science graduate Diala AlMasri, the years at LAU were truly transformative. “Three years ago I was blessed to get in with a merit scholarship and this institution has given me the best of the best—most importantly it gave me self-growth.”

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Students jumping for joy before the ceremony starts.

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The newly minted graduates pose on the Beirut campus.

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Students celebrate their success and friendship.

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The valedictorian speech set the celebratory tone of the evening.

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LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra surrounded by proud university officials and faculty members.

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More than 700 students, with the support of their families and friends, gathered at LAU Beirut to receive their diplomas.

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LAU Beirut graduates its Arts and Sciences, Architecture and Business students.

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Students get ready to throw their caps in the air.

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The traditional display of fireworks lit up Beirut’s sky.

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