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LAU officials visit Washington to enhance support for Middle East education

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LAU President Joseph Jabbra with South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson and members of his staff.

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Dr. Jabbra met with George Like, division chief of The Office of American Schools & Hospitals Abroad, an organization that has helped with infrastructure projects on both LAU campuses.

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Dr. Jabbra and Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison talking about the value of LAU and American higher education in the Middle East.

Click on any photo above to view all three images

June 26, 2009—

LAU President Joseph Jabbra and the University Advancement team successfully visited the center of America’s political establishment — Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. — during the week of June 22 as part of their efforts to lobby and gain support from various elected officials and other government members on behalf of the university.

The LAU delegation, consisting of Vice President for University Advancement Richard Rumsey and LAU Government Relations Consultant Graeme Bannerman in addition to President Jabbra, met with several members of Congress who had signed an important letter to be sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, advocating strong support for the funding of vital scholarship programs at American educational institutions in the Middle East.

The letter is a joint effort between LAU, the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, and other American institutions of higher learning in the region.

Displaying a remarkable show of support within the halls of power of the American political system — and a testament to how much U.S. policymakers support the ideals of LAU and its sister institutions in the Middle East, the letter was signed by 31 Members of Congress.

“If you want to project American values you do it through education,” said Congressman William D. Delahunt from Massachusetts in his meeting with the LAU officials.

Many of the congressmen, including Gary Ackerman (New York) and Russ Carnahan (Missouri), had closely followed the recent Lebanese elections and expressed to the LAU delegation their enthusiasm over the success of the political process in Lebanon. The election results strengthened optimism for the future of the country, they stated. This helped bolster the LAU delegation’s mission to gain more support for LAU and American education in the region.

Such efforts are particularly important for American universities that operate outside the United States as it is often easier for such institutions to be forgotten among the power brokers back home in the States.

Luckily for LAU, support for the university and its mission is strong in Washington, a fact that was fully reinforced during the weeklong visit with Representatives, Senators, and U.S. government officials in the American capital.

A visit by LAU officials to Washington usually involves back-to-back meetings and often last-minute schedule changes that can result in the university’s delegation racing through the cavernous Rayburn or Longworth office buildings, two of the massive structures that house offices of members of the legislative branch of the U.S. government.  


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