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Honorary Doctorates Given to Leading Figures in Professional Services, Media and Development

Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Pierre Choueiri and Farah Daghistani to be honored at the 2018 commencement ceremonies.

By Louisa Ajami

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From left: Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Pierre Choueiri and Farah Daghistani.

LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra is thrilled to announce the recipients of LAU honorary doctorates for the year 2018.

All three recipients have had full, successful careers during which they bettered their organizations, expanded their reach, and, most importantly, instilled cultures of caring, generosity and service within.

The first recipient, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, is chairman of the Amman, Jordan-based Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org). Partially raised in Lebanon, he began his career in accounting and intellectual property rights. Over the decades since he began, he has set up 140 professional service firms in the fields of management, consulting, legal services, IT and more. TAG-Org itself is a unique organization, a hybrid firm that is for-profit but whose mission is to “contribute to the socioeconomic development of the Arab world.”

Abu-Ghazaleh believes that the Arab world is blooming in different and exciting ways. “Today, Middle Eastern startups are overcoming cultural and other barriers to lead in various industries – mainly those based on technology – and many are succeeding.”

Indeed, he as always stressed on “the need to embrace technology because it is the path to a better future. Our young generation is making amazing approaches toward technology, and we should focus on that and give them the opportunity,” he said.

Abu-Ghazaleh has received numerous awards and honors for this work, including being appointed a member of the Upper House by Royal Decree from King Abdullah II of Jordan, Abu-Ghazaleh’s country of residence. He is also on the boards of over 50 international committees and is a major patron of the arts.

Pierre Choueiri began his career in the media as a junior sales executive after graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1988. He moved to Dubai in the early 1990s to oversee the growth of the Choueiri Group, a media representation company started by his father. During this period, Choueiri accelerated the group’s expansion across the region and across new domains, such as print, digital, radio, TV, apps, cinemas and even exhibition spaces.

The Choueiri Group is a market leader in the MENA region, and prides itself on its vision of excellence and its ability to exceed the expectations of its partners and clients. Choueiri credits the family spirit of the company with its success over the decades.

Choueiri commented on how the media can attract the best minds in order to expand and innovate. “I believe that by nurturing a knowledge-based approach to human resources, the media industry can secure a steady stream of groomed talent on the global, as well as local levels,” he said. “Media organizations must commit themselves to providing ample opportunities for personal and professional development in order to make the industry a breeding ground for the brightest minds.”

And on some of the rapid changes in the media that are transforming the way society communicates, such as social media, he said, “The region’s media industry has developed into a comprehensive eco-system, working to promote greater interaction and dialogue. We can rest assured that web-based technologies will succeed in connecting more people around the region to their needs and aspirations.”

For her part, Her Excellency Farah Daghistani has dedicated her life to development in the Middle East, particularly her home country of Jordan, where she heads the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD). She began pursuing her interest in human rights and development during her education, which took her to Harvard, Oxford and the London School of Economics. Over the past 20 years, she has worked within multiple frameworks to promote sustainable, rights-based human development initiatives in Jordan. “Gender equality, good governance and a rights-based approach continue to be central components of my vision for sustainable development,” Daghistani said.

She uses tried-and-true academic, policy-related and people-based approaches to her work. She has published widely in academic journals as well as in leading newspapers, and has spoken at a number of top universities and institutes across the world.

Optimistic about the energy of today’s youth, she said, “Young people are definitely the force of change in our region, with tremendous potential, possibly never seen by any other previous generations in terms of opportunities to learn, travel and work.”  

Still, she notes the role of universities like LAU in shaping tomorrow’s leaders, as young people “also face challenges and complexities possibly never encountered by previous generations to their identity and the rapid pace of change that will affect their lives.”  

“We make sure that every member of the LAU family embraces our mission of excellence, innovation and community,” said Jabbra. “Our 2018 honorary doctorates are champions of our goals, and we are proud to invite them into our family and for them to represent us in their critical work.”

The entire LAU family wishes to congratulate the three future doctors who will uphold LAU’s mission of excellence as they continue their visionary work. 

 

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