Lebanese American University


Back to the roots

Seven LAU Latin students earn diplomas from the University of Cambridge.

The students surrounded by Prescott-Decie (left), Dr. Frossard (center) and Dr. Behmardi (right).

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Just two years after LAU started a beginner’s course in Latin as an elective, seven students earned a diploma from the Department of Classics at Cambridge University with flying colors. Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Philippe Frossard personally congratulated the students in a small ceremony held on April 10 at LAU Beirut.

“You make us proud,” Frossard started by saying. “LAU is trying to shape renaissance men and women and your achievement shows us that we are on the right track.”

After completing the Latin course offered at LAU, some students wished to take an exam beyond their LAU grades to confirm their level of proficiency. “Since the course textbook comes from the Cambridge School Classics Project, and since they offer moderated examinations for their texts, we decided to try this out,” says Brian Prescott-Decie, instructor of English and cultural studies, who was at the origin of the initiative.

According to the instructor, the Cambridge diplomas “aim to encourage students to continue their studies, giving them a target to work to, but also have value as part of a student’s portfolio when applying for further studies.”

Psychology student Georges Salem is no stranger to classical languages as he is already a master of Aramaic. “I liked the idea of taking Latin as an elective course. Knowing Latin has helped me improve my English writing skills and has enriched my vocabulary.”

Reading and understanding Virgil was the aim of comparative literature student Mounawar Abbouchi. “But it is not only about the language, it is also a new approach to things, a new way of thinking.”

Also present at the ceremony, Dr. Vahid Behmardi, chair of the Humanities Department, thanked his colleagues and the students for their enthusiasm. “It is a great accomplishment for our department,” he said reminding the audience that no less than 70 students have enrolled in the course since it has started.

Given the success of the initiative, a proposal has been put forth to automatically use Cambridge examinations for all students who complete the Latin course, integrating it into the final exam process.

The seven students who earned the diplomas are Georges Salem, Mounawar Abbouchi, Farah Dakhlallah, Roshana Ismail Faraj, Patricia Prudhomme, Melissa Sahyoun and Antoin Saffaye.


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