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Social justice center stage at IFI Princeton conference
2/3/2017
 |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri has argued strongly for the urgency and necessity of universities to strive for social justice in the Arab region, primarily by producing socially responsible citizens and leaders of tomorrow who would change their communities for the better.

His keynote speech was a centerpiece of a major conference organized by AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University.

Dr. Khuri pulled together several dominant themes of his 18-month presidency at AUB in wide-ranging address that covered student activism, the importance of the humanities, fashioning new sustainable and equitable economic circumstances, modeling equality and fairness on campus, and commitment to engaged citizenship and outreach.

“We cannot continue the trend of wealth redistribution such that today the world's eight richest multi-billionaires own the equivalent of the poorest 50% of citizens of the planet," Dr. Khuri said. “This is not just an affront to social justice; it threatens our entire culture and civilization."

He asserted that AUB stands for “affordability, excellence, elimination of gender disparities, ensuring accessibility for all people, education for sustainable development, and embracing and enhancing diversity."

“I am convinced that it is only through the perpetuation and propagation of these principles that we can build a truly fair and just society."

Distinguished lectures

The two-day conference commenced with introductory speeches by Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of AUB's Issam Fares Institute, Dr. Amaney Jamal, Director of the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University, and Ms. Leila Kabalan, Program Coordinator of the Social Justice and Development Policy in the Arab World Program at the Issam Fares Institute.

They highlighted the opportunities emerging from the collaboration of AUB's Issam Fares Institute and Princeton University in facilitating dialogue.

Dr. Stephen Macedo, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics at Princeton delivered a distinguished lecture discussing the traditions of thought about social justice and democracy in creating a legitimate and cooperative social order.

In particular, he interrogated Western models of constitutional democracy and the extent to which they furnish standards for political legitimacy globally.

Dr. Jamal concluded the first conference day with a distinguished lecture entitled “Trump's Presidency: Islamophobia and the Middle East". She noted that the new US president appears to be “unhinged" by being “occupied in fighting battles" rather than working on or according to long-term strategies.

In giving an outlook on the role of US policies, she concluded that the United States was and would remain a “key fundamental player" in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. Moreover, she stressed that the inclusion of Muslim communities was​ the key for tackling populist movements, both in the US and Europe.

There were also panels on polls and data from the Arab region and the attitudes which they revealed, gender activism, and the complexion of recent mass uprisings. 

In his address Dr. Mitri identified “a real deficit in forward-looking thinking" about social justice issues and expressed his hope the conference would facilitate more of it in future.
Story Highlights
  • ​​​AUB President Fadlo R. Khuri has argued strongly for the urgency and necessary of universities to strive for social justice in the Arab region, primarily by producing socially responsible citizens and leaders of tomorrow who would change their communities for the better. 
  • His keynote speech was a centerpiece of a major conference organized by AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University. 
 
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