Dean Nadia El Cheikh, Dean Nahla Hwalla, and Interim Associate Provost Hala Muhtasib have been honored as women leaders in Lebanese universities and research pioneers at a ceremony held in the Lebanese Parliament.
The trio were recognized by the National Initiative for the Centennial of Greater Lebanon, “Lebanon the State for Knowledge”, founded by Mrs. Bahia Hariri, MP, President of the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development, to mark the 96th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Greater Lebanon in September 1920.
“This ceremony comes as a renewal of confidence in Lebanese women who have carried the banner of education for many decades in the country’s history and had a great impact in the preservation of ‘Lebanon as the State for Knowledge’, prompting the Lebanese Women 2020 program to honor distinguished women leaders in all fields,” said Mrs. Hariri, who represented the patron of the ceremony, Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon Nabih Berri.
“This was a timely and welcome gesture from the Speaker of the Parliament and Mrs. Hariri to recognize the achievements and merit of women not only at AUB but also within the larger educational and administrative spheres,” newly appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Nadia El Cheikh, told us. “In this regard, I would like to thank President Fadlo Khuri for his initiatives and efforts to promote gender equity within our institution.”
A total of 31 Lebanese women in research and education were honored at the ceremony, in addition to leaders in state public departments, international organizations, ambassadors in Lebanon, and this year’s top achieving women in the Lebanese Baccalaureate.
Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Dr. Nahla Hwalla, said that excellence in research goes beyond publication in journals and attaining good funding. “Research should also respond to a societal need and contribute ethically to improving the lives of people,” she told us. “It is the goal of every academician to contribute to society through teaching, research, and outreach. Attention to all three endeavors is bound to be recognized and it fulfils their mission.”
Interim Associate Provost Hala Muhtasib spoke to us about the significance of this honoring award that recognized her leadership in scientific research. “This award signifies hope and encouragement for women researchers in Lebanon,” she said. “We, women scientists at the American University of Beirut are fortunate to be part of an institution that promotes excellence in research and to be working under a leadership that provides full support for women scholars. It is truly a tremendous privilege to be acknowledged in such a prestigious national initiative… This award is a boost for me to continue to wholeheartedly serve my University and country.”
The honoring ceremony was attended by Lebanese ministers, including Minister for Displaced Persons Alice Shabtini who represented Prime Minister Tammam Salam, and Members of the Lebanese Parliament.