LAU’s youngest recruits enroll
Maroun Daccache, associate professor at SArD, developed the architectural plans, and Maria Bahous adjunct faculty member from the Design Department worked on the visual identity for the mini LAU campus.
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March 17, 2014—
“I need to go to university to secure my future,” says 12-year-old Sophie Zahabi, when asked why she went to LAU at KidzMondo.
On March 10, LAU inaugurated its mini campus at KidzMondo, an innovative project that gives children a glimpse into their professional future and demonstrates the role higher education can play in their lives.
“Making a difference in the lives of young people is where LAU and KidzMondo come together,” stresses LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, “Providing the opportunity for young people to grow and become the leaders of tomorrow.”
“We need to instill in our youth a culture of giving, selflessly, and doing things for others,” pointed out Jabbra, “This is one of the main driving forces behind LAU’s mission: to do everything one can in order to open doors for others.”
The president praised the creators of KidzMondo for not only conceiving the idea but also having the determination to translate it into a reality. “Having our university be the educational role model of the project is an honor,” enthused KidzMondo co-founder, Ali Kazma.
The visionaries behind the venture, Hind Berri (R.C.D., ‘99, M.A.,’00) and Kazma (A.A.S., ‘99) are both LAU alumni, as is Mark Harb (B.E. ‘01), the project’s sponsorship, sales and business development officer.
On visiting LAU at KidzMondo budding scholars decide on a career path, be it architect, doctor, engineer or film director, and then complete a test to receive their B.A., which gives them extra spending points. They may go on to sit for their M.A. or Ph.D. and accumulate even more buying power.
“We developed a mini curriculum, in which “degrees” are offered, to introduce the future students to the importance of education in forging their prospective careers,” explained Dr. Rima Bahous, the Department of Education chairperson, who developed the academic component of the project.
Transforming the allocated space into a real life university was a challenge. A taskforce composed of representatives from the School of Architecture and Design (SArD), the Marketing and Communications department, the Alumni Relations office and the Department of Education spearheaded by Dr. Elie Badr, assistant to the president and strategic officer for external projects, set up and designed the premises.
The collaboration is an extension of LAU’s mission to nurture the leaders of tomorrow by illustrating how a university education is crucial in choosing a career that will allow them to excel. In addition by making education fun and rewarding, the children are drawn to learning.
“All we want, as parents, is for our children to have a degree so they may have better careers, and playing here at LAU enforces that,” says Sophie’s mom Roula.