On February 24th, 2019, LebNet hosted Dr. Fadlo Khuri, President of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Dr. Alan Shihadeh, AUB Dean of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture over a dinner event in Palo Alto, California.

A Trustee since 2014 and AUB former student, Dr. Khuri is AUB’s 16th President. He was a Professor and Chair of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University where he held the Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair for Cancer Research. He also served as Deputy Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Executive Associate Dean for Research of the Emory University School of Medicine.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Dr. Shihadeh was appointed as AUB Dean of the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) in September 2017. He earned his doctorate in sciences in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the field of combustion in 1998. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 refereed journal publications, reports, and conference abstracts that are primarily concerned with the chemistry, physics, and exposure science of particle pollutants. He serves as an advisor to the FDA, a scientific expert to the WHO, and a Project Director and Executive Leadership Committee member of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University.

After dinner, Abdo George Kadifa, Chairman of LebNet, AUB trustee and Managing Director of Sumeru Equity Partners moderated the fireside chat and asked Dr. Khuri to share AUB’s new vision and strategy with an audience of 30 LebNet members.

Following that, Dr. Shihadeh shared what his faculty was driving to enhance entrepreneurship in Lebanon as well as develop design process skills and multidisciplinary programs like the  Humanitarian Engineering Initiative, which focuses on the design of engineering solutions for health challenges in crises.

The ensuing Q&A session was very lively and addressed areas where LebNet, as a tech diaspora group, could play its part and extend its members’ collective expertise to help enhance the learning journey of future AUB engineering students.

Dean Shihadeh promised to list the 5 areas where LebNet members could get involved. Follow-on discussions will help create tangible actions to operationalize the members’ engagement. Several ideas were explored like for example ‘Silicon Channel’ as a vehicle for LebNeters to deliver remote and in-person seminars and talks to AUB students, a quick and low friction way to share experiences.

You can check the event’s gallery on our Flickr account here.