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University of Balamand > Administration > Presidency > President Salem > President's Profile

President's Profile

Dr. Elie A. Salem
President Salem ProfileElie A. Salem was born in Bterram, al-Kurah, North Lebanon on March 5, 1930. He studied in the Kurah Schools, and in Tripoli. He graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with B.A. in Political Studies, in June 1950. He then travelled to the United States of America where he attended the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. and graduated with Ph.D. in International Affairs, with concentration on Middle Eastern Politics, in June 1953. 

Dr. Salem came back to Lebanon in 1954, where he spent two years at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at AUB, he then returned to the Johns Hopkins School, his Alma Mater, as Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies from 1956 to 1962. Upon the request of the new President of AUB at the time, he returned back to AUB as Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. In 1974, Dr. Salem was elected by the AUB Board of Trustees as the first Lebanese Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

Upon the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Dean Salem was invited by the President of Lebanon to serve as Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Foreign Affairs. He served as de jure Foreign Minister from 1982 to 1984, and as Advisor to the President of the Republic and de facto Foreign Minister from 1984 to 1988. In these capacities, he travelled extensively in regional and world capitals in an effort to rescue Lebanon from foreign occupation and internal divisions. During this period, he negotiated with world leaders including Pope John Paul II, the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emirs of the Gulf States, the presidents and Foreign Ministers of Arab and Middle Eastern Countries, as well as the Presidents and Foreign Ministers of leading Western powers. 

In 1987, upon the concurrence of President Hafez al-Asad of Syria and President Amine Gemayel, he led negotiations with Syrian counterparts, and with all relevant internal and external parties, leading to a Reform Document entitled “Main Principles for Solving the Lebanese Crisis” dated June 13th, 1987. This was the Document submitted to the Lebanese Deputies meeting in Ta ʹ if, Saudi Arabia to resolve the Lebanese crisis under Saudi supervision. The Document was debated, amended, and adopted as The National Conciliation Document (popularly known as the Ta ʹ if Agreement) on November 5th, 1989. 

Leaving politics in 1988, he formed the first Think Tank in Lebanon under title of Lebanese Center Policy studies (LCPS). 

In the fall of 1993, Dr. Elie Salem was elected President of the University of Balamand, a position he holds till this date. As President of the University, he is currently chronicling his history in the institution in a book yet to be published entitled Axios: Governing Academia, the Art of the Improbable, as he chronicled his experience in Government in a book entitled Violence and Diplomacy in Lebanon (London, 1995). 

Dr. Salem’s Books include:


  1. The political theory and institutions of the Khawarij
    (The Johns Hopkins University Press, (1956) Baltimore, Maryland)
    This was a PhD. Thesis, as he did work on Islamic studies within his academic discipline of political philosophy. 

  2. Modernization without Revolution 
    (Lebanon 1943-1970)
    (Indiana University Press, (1973) Bloomington, Indiana)
    The book was written when on sabbatical at Indiana University. The book showed the progress made in a democratic pluralistic country before the troubles of the mid-1970s. 

  3. The Rules and Regulations of the Abbasid Court
    (Translation, editing, annotation and introduction of an 11th Century. Arabic manuscript, The American University of Beirut Press, (1977) Beirut, Lebanon)
    This is an important Islamic manuscript that is annotated and translated over a 12-year period. 

  4. Violence and diplomacy in Lebanon 1982-1988
    (I.B. Tauris Press, (1995) London)
    This is the first scholarly account on Lebanon's foreign policy which became a major source for diplomats and journalists seeking background information on Lebanon and its regional connections. It was translated into Arabic as al-Khayarat al-Sa'bah (Difficult Options). ​ 

  5. My American Bride
    (Quartet Books Limited, (2008) London)
    A biographical novel, this book is a narrative, partially novelistic, describing the life of a young man between two radically different cultures, a new tale of two cities. 

  6. From Mhardi to the Throne of Antioch
    A biographical essay on the Life & Times of Patriarch Ignatius IV, this is a study of the rise of the young Habib from a relatively poor town in Syria, to the rank of Patriarch. 

  7. Editor of Ignatius IV, His Position on Religious and National Affairs (University of Balamand, 2002) 

  8. Jumping over Boundaries (University of Balamand, 2013) 
    This is a book based on speeches he gave on national and cultural issues, as President of the University of Balamand as of 1993 with an introduction by Professor Georges Dorlian. ​ 

  9. Editor of Patriarch John X, His Perspective on Christian Presence in the Region, and Priority of Christian- Muslim Understanding. 

  10. Governing Academia: the Art of the Improbable in MS format ready for publication in 2018. 

Dr. Salem published many articles in professional Journals on political thought, on Middle Eastern Issues, and on Islam. He also delivered many speeches at the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council, Universities in Lebanon, the region, and abroad.​

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University of Balamand,
Balamand Al Kurah,

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