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University of Balamand > Administration > Presidency > President Salem > Message25-07-06

Message from the President
to Members of the University Community


25 July 2006

For the second, third, and fourth time, Lebanon is thrust in the raging vortex of the Middle East conflict.  Again and again, we Lebanese attempt building a nation with national loyalties and civic consciousness, and again and again our attempts are thwarted. 

And yet, we lift ourselves from our defeat, we rebuild, we open up, and the world rushes to us admiring our achievements.  A Phoenix , we are called.  We celebrate our rebirth, we attract a crowd, and we savor the applause.

And then.

A word, a gesture, a challenge from inside our shores, from the depth of our frustration, and the military might of the neighboring Goliath, armed to the teeth with the latest of military technology, is unleashed on us.  Planes, that no eye can detect, rain rockets and death on men, women, and children in the midst of the dance, on ancient villages, on quaint bridges built with love and patience over our valleys, on roads and highways that connect our towns and hamlets aesthetically sprinkled, as if by Providence , on and about our majestic mountains.

The storm shattered the peace, and we froze in place.  The University of Balamand had just started its summer program and had to halt it.  The Board of Trustees that was to meet on July 19th could not do so.  The Graduation Ceremony that was to launch 718 graduates into the regional working place was cancelled.

Yet the University, in a deeper sense, is very much open.  We meet and dream new dreams; we plan with confidence goaded by the Phoenix within us.  Should the storm abate, the summer school will start and the program will be completed through August – September.  The new year will hopefully start on schedule.  Some of the new faculty recruits may hesitate, but we will manage.  If we stop construction for a few weeks, we do not stop the logistics needed to start, once the moment permits.

Our faculty and students, now dispersed throughout the country, are doing their duty as Balamandians in helping the sick, in aiding the refugees, and in manning the civic organizations at the front line.

The University of Balamand , as a private institution with a strong national identity, prides itself in its role of promoting a free, democratic, and pluralistic Lebanon .  The University is as committed to nation building as it is to knowledge.  To us, knowledge not harnessed to human and national ends, is no knowledge at all.

As Lebanon is a special country, it deserves special attention.    We have paid our dues many times over, and now deserve admission to the realm of peace, stability, and progress.

The University is in good shape, and is ready and eager to start afresh, and to share in the challenge that now faces us namely: to have confidence in Lebanon , faith in a bright future, and commitment to realize it.

Elie A. Salem

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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

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