Three out of seven recipients of this year’s Research Excellence Award presented by the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) were AUB faculty: Dr. Dima Jamali, Dr. Najat Saliba, and Dr. Ali Taher.
On its sixth year, the national award honored distinguished scientists for their scientific research in an official ceremony held at the Grand Serail in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Fouad Fleifel, representing Prime Minister Tamam Salam; Mrs. Mona Hrawi; UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag , representatives of embassies, General Security, Lebanese Armed forces; presidents and deans of universities in Lebanon; heads of academic and government institutions, and families and friends of the awardees.
“Today, we celebrate with presidents of distinguished universities that have produced pioneer researchers in various fields to honor top researchers who with their work have honored Lebanon, the CNRS, their families, as well as the academic and scientific societies in Lebanon,” said Dr. Mouin Hamzeh, Secretary General of CNRS.
Three academics were awarded from AUB, two from Université Saint-Joseph (USJ), one from the Lebanese University, and one from CNRS.
Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology, Dr. Ali Taher was presented with the award for achievement in the medical, biological, and public health sciences for his contribution in the field of hematology/oncology and blood diseases, especially inherited diseases and what the CNRS said was “outstanding contribution in improving patients’ quality of life.”
Dr. Taher is also the Vice Chair for Research at the Department of Internal Medicine, the Director of the Fellowship Resident Research Program (FRRP) at AUBMC, Deputy Director of the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at AUBMC and a consultant at the Thalassemia Department of the Chronic Care Center (CCC).
“This award is a scientific distinction and a national pride,” said Dr. Taher who thanked his mentors over the years that guided him to success; his patients, especially his thalassemia patients, who trusted him to relieve their pain; and AUB, among others.
“I have been lucky to spend a major part of my life in a university that is 150 years old. AUB trains and graduates youth for the future, youth that will serve Lebanon and the region and it does so by instilling values such as leadership, tolerance, and co-existence as it educates its students. Thanks to all who educated me and guided me. Thanks to everyone who values and champions education.”
The award for contribution to the agricultural and environmental sciences went to Dr. Najat Saliba for her fundamental contribution to the understanding of the levels, sources, and transformation of particulate matter in the atmosphere.
“This award is not for me, it goes to my students and researchers in my lab,” said Dr. Saliba who started her speech by naming and thanking each member of her team. “We agreed to work together but we would not have been able to achieve much were it not for the support we received from our University. AUB believed in our duties toward Lebanon and the world.”
Dr. Saliba is a well-recognized scientist at the local, regional, and international levels. She is the director of the Nature Conservation Center and a lead investigator of the Air Quality-Associated Research Unit and head of the AUB Waste Management Taskforce.
The human and social sciences award was presented to Dr. Dima Jamali for her vital contribution towards the advancement and understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR), governance, and ethics in the private sector and in administration and development.
Dr. Jamali is Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the Olayan school of Business (OSB). She currently also holds the Kamal Shair Chair in Responsible Leadership and has won several awards including the 2015 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer Award, the Shield of Excellence for the Arab Region, and the 2010 Shoman Prize.
She was designated as Personality of the Year for CSR by the Arab Organization for Social Responsibility in 2015. In September she was appointed in the new role of Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships at AUB.
“AUB continues to raise the bar in terms of research expectations and creates a cohesive environment where we as faculty can excel,” said Dr. Jamali in her acceptance speech. “I really feel honored and humbled to be a recipient of this award today.”
President Fadlo R. Khuri thanked the Government of Lebanon “for acknowledging seven stellar scholars who are examples of research excellence and of servant-leadership in our society,” and spoke of the achievements of each AUB award recipient.
“I can speak with some expertise about the three outstanding awardees from AUB’s faculty they are all tremendous scholars and they are campaigners and champions for a better tomorrow,” said President Khuri. “Indeed, these three scholars are exemplars of that hope for a better future.”
“I congratulate the distinguished awardees and I urge them to continue their path toward more achievement and success,” said Dr. Fouad Fleifel. “May they continue to be a national pride and treasure that puts Lebanon on par with more advanced countries.”