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Speech of the Lebanese University President Fouad Ayoub on the 68th Anniversary “The Lebanese University - the Heart of the Nation”

 

From “sustainable development”, to “industry of leadership”, we announce today the "Lebanese University - The Heart of the Nation".

 

On every anniversary of our national University, we try to raise the level of challenge in our sustainable development process. Through the years, we demonstrated levels of creativity and leadership, and we insisted to follow the development process in order to demonstrate the University's ability to occupy a vital place, which is the heart. We have been able to push and encourage skills capable of ensuring the continuity of a life that is appropriate to the sustainable growth of the University embraced by the country in all its varieties and societal differences.

 

In this context, I would like to identify the conceptual meaning of the slogan we select every year, through which we define the framework and the behavioral principle we will adopt, as a national educational institution. In addition, I would like to refer to the evolution of our annual slogans, which reflect, among other things, our constant ambition to achieve our mission of sustainable and strategic development.

 

When we selected this year’s slogan, we thought of our right to such title and we planned to achieve this mission, which comprises many ambitious challenges because:

 

We are confident and we have proven in numbers that we provided a democratic education for all students in Lebanon. Today, more than 80,000 students are enrolled in the University. Thus, by the adoption of the democratic education, we have achieved a long-standing goal advocated by UNESCO as a human right, without any religious, class or racial discrimination. We have also secured an active presence in all the Lebanese territories, namely the Campus in North Lebanon, in Bekaa (very soon), and the campuses in Hermel, Akkar and Jbeil, because our youth have the right to learn, and to obtain sustainable education;

 

We are aware of and ready for the academic and research developments and every new requirements arising thereof, with a large number of students and professors accessing the University. Thus, we have a challenge to maintain the quality of education, because we believe that our strategy must be adapted to each of the University’s activities and for each of its Faculties or Institutes.

 

The challenges we are facing are enormous, among which:

o   To pursue the promotion and dissemination of research-based knowledge, while constantly seeking to provide the appropriate expertise that ensures continuous creativity, thus serving science and society as well;

o   To ensure our national University becomes an advanced platform for teaching knowledge between the curricula in Lebanon and the region, while keeping pace with the great technological development;

o   To further activate partnerships between our University and local, regional and international institutions;

o   To ensure our national University becomes the primary adviser to the State;

o   To pursue the development of online video platforms and social networks in order to connect with the public, namely the students, professors and researchers in the future;

o   To protect the creations and innovations of our students and professors by providing an intellectual property protection for their achievements;

o   To encourage continuous reading and analysis of new local and worldwide social, economic, cultural and political trends, which helps to create an important space for prediction and prevention;

o   To graduate responsible citizens capable of integrating into all sectors of human activity by providing appropriate qualifications, including vocational training, and combining high-level knowledge and skills, in particular to raise their awareness of their responsibility and national belonging.

 

We have many programs set to achieve these challenges, especially through our specialized professional certificates, and the openness of each of our Faculties and Institutes to local and global partnerships, and attention not only to academic education but also to research and capacity building on the scientific, technological, environmental and societal challenges facing us locally and globally. Today, the universities are expected to produce academic research with social benefits. They are also expected to carry out activities that enhance researches in order to value the resulting knowledge, especially in an era, where knowledge and research production is accelerated in line with the development of information technology, biotechnology and all advanced materials.

 

The community role of our University comes in a new competitive environment between universities at both the national and global levels. Universities no longer monopolize knowledge production and transfer; they are now facing changing contexts for the research they are supposed to produce to play a new strategic role from the societal point of view, aiming to achieve comprehensive development and human well-being.

 

All our faculties and institutes are trying to pursue this strategic approach, namely the creative research. A simple reference to this year’s achievements of each of our Faculties and Institutes demonstrates that everyone is adopting this approach, starting with the self-assessment sought by each Faculty and Institute, up to achieving international accreditation. In this regard, there is a great awareness of the challenges facing our University and of the roles that it has now assumed.

 

To succeed in the scientific, research and creative ambition, and to overcome all these challenges we face, we need to adopt rational management capable of activating academic and research performance, and caring for the students and their creativity in the fields of knowledge, sports and arts.

 

In our academic system, the academics are responsible for tasks of scientific research, cultural and vocational nature in order to guarantee the quality of higher education in the Lebanese University departments. In this regard, I cannot overlook the administrative staff and employees responsible to maintain the service continuity on a regular basis - from the highest to the lowest level in hierarchy. Those people ensure the good order and regularity of the University and its uninterrupted implementation, thus transferring their expertise and knowledge from one generation to another.

 

The development of this sector has become a necessity because the empowerment of employees is essential to the development of the University at both the academic and research levels. Administrative work and career development are also implemented in technically complex, organizational and even legal environments, which necessitates redefining tasks and reallocating management responsibilities, in a way that contributes to their development. This matter requires overcoming many of our University traditions, culture and behavior, which may sometimes hinder this development. The abovementioned does not mean that we lack great expertise of the staff who have given and are still giving for the good functioning of the University, and to whom we wanted to draw attention this year to appreciate their career dedication, and to honor those who are a role model in their fields.

 

As always, we have not lost sight of the students and all their efforts, namely the achievers who represent the University's pillars and its actual success measures. Your University is always proud of your abilities and excellence, which you are still proving, whether in the fields of science, art, literature or in the various research production fields. We have confidence in you all and we are working to provide an environment suitable for further development and creativity.

 

Last but not least,

 

I realize that our capabilities, despite our ambitions are still limited, namely after the austerities that we are suffering and struggling to overcome, in order to continue the progress to which we are looking forward and for which, we are working. Thus, we began to rationalize on the financial, administrative and academic levels, and we tried to reform at a modern level and to rationalize spending. However, we also realize that the government must be aware of the value of the University and the importance of supporting it with all that is necessary for its development.

 

The universities in Lebanon, namely the Lebanese University are still aspiring to solve the basics of societal problems, while the challenges of the universities in the civilized world today address major topics. Such topics include sound resource management, adaptation to climate change, clean, safe and effective energy, health and well-being, food security and demographic challenge, information and communication society, innovative, complementary and adaptive societies, in addition to other future topics and suggestions. We are still a country that exports its “brains”, and the political approach is still not paying much attention to national and higher education.

 

In this ceremony, I will not conclude my speech with a pessimistic view. I believe that the heart will give life to our Lebanon, which will not fail in its turn to support the University of the Nation, which is employing all available means to the greatest possible.

 

Long live Lebanon and the Lebanese University!

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