Dear Members of our LAU Community,Much has happened in the period since my last communication on October 1 when I assumed the presidency, and I hope this to be the first of many updates on developments at our university. The past few months have been mar
  President’s Forum: Notes from Dr. Mawad  
Michel E. Mawad, M.D.

Dear Members of our LAU Community,

Much has happened in the period since my last communication on October 1 when I assumed the presidency, and I hope this to be the first of many updates on developments at our university. 

The past few months have been marked by uplifting successes, unavoidable measures, and devastating losses. Within weeks, the LAU community was struck by the passing of three of its esteemed members: Dr. Assaad Toufic Rizk, long-time owner and overseer of Rizk hospital and friend of LAU, our long-serving alumna Mrs. Leila Al Saleeby Dagher and Associate Professor at the English Department Dr. Kristiaan Aercke. They will forever be remembered as dedicated advocates of LAU’s mission.

The persistent crises, furthermore, have demanded that we redouble our efforts to shore up our institution, our faculty and the right to an education for our students.

Faced with the gravest crisis in LAU’s existence, our priority has been to formulate a Survival Plan while ensuring fairness to our faculty, staff and students in a way that is sustainable. 

The plan, in broad strokes, has entailed a fee adjustment in the Lebanese pound along with an increase in financial aid to approximately $80 million; an unprecedented use of returns on the endowment; a halt on all postponable projects by way of capex management; a dynamic strategy to retain our faculty; and a drive to achieve a competitive advantage in online delivery. 

We initially foresee this survival phase lasting around 24 months, after which a recovery/revival mode will follow with a transition of 18-24 months to surge on with enrollment, replace vacant positions, pursue new opportunities aggressively, and establish our standing firmly at the top of the higher education scene in the region.

It has been a hard battle in a drawn-out struggle as the crises in the country show no signs of abating. But I have every reason to believe that we possess the resilience and the power to fight on, as the extraordinary achievements realized by our hard-working faculty and staff have demonstrated. After all, this is not the first time the LAU family rallies in unity and determination to face an adversity and prevail.

Regardless of untold challenges that have paralyzed the country and the world at large, LAU not only maintained its second ranking in Lebanon in the QS Arab Region Rankings 2021 but also remarkably placed as no. 1 in Business & Economics and no. 2 in Clinical & Health in the country in the 2021 Times Higher Education by Subject Rankings. I cannot sufficiently commend all faculty and staff at our Adnan Kassar School of Business and at our relatively young schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing and our nutrition programs whose hard work made this recognition possible. 

I would also like to congratulate our three electrical engineering faculty members, Dean Lina Karam and GSR Dean Samer Saab for placing no. 1 in their specialties in a study of the top 2 percent scientists worldwide conducted by Stanford researchers, and Professor Chadi Abou Rjeily for being listed in his field. 

Clearly, the quality of the university’s research output is gaining traction and recognition, as also evidenced by our very own Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies Jad Melki who received the 2020 Abdul Hameed Shoman Arab Researchers Award for his research on the impact of social media in the Arab World.

In these turbulent and trying times, a quote by the political activist Thomas Paine comes to mind: “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” 

However true that may be, I am sure you share my wish for the crises to be resolved and our triumphs to be no less glorious.


Michel E. Mawad, M.D.
Lebanese American University