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The American University of Beirut (AUB; ) is a secular, private, independent, university in Beirutmarker, Lebanonmarker. It was founded as the Syrian Protestant College by Americanmarker missionary Daniel Bliss in 1866. The name was changed to the American University of Beirut on November 18, 1920. The university is popularly known as AUB.

Although AUB’s student body is primarily Lebanese, almost one-fifth of its students attended secondary school or university outside of Lebanon before coming to AUB.

AUB launched its YouTube Educational Channel in February 2008, following in the footsteps of universities such as UC Berkeley and MIT AUB Channel.

On March 21, 2008, the Board of Trustees selected Peter Dorman to be AUB's 15th president. He succeeded Dr. John Waterbury who was president of AUB from 1998 to 2008. Dr. Dorman is an international scholar in the field of Egyptology and formerly chaired the University of Chicago's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizationsmarker.

As of June 2008, the total number of degrees and diplomas awarded totaled 76,439.

AUB enjoys a rich student activism. Many clubs have gained popularity not only in AUB, but on the national level, among them the Secular Club at AUB which now is well known in Lebanon. Many political movements in Lebanon and the Arab countries have started from AUB, such as the Arab Nationalists Movement.


In 1862 American missionaries in Lebanon and Syria, under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, asked Dr. Daniel Bliss to establish a college of higher learning that would include medical training. On April 24, 1863, while Dr. Bliss was raising money for the new college in the United States and England, the State of New York granted a charter for the Syrian Protestant College. The college, which was renamed the American University of Beirut in 1920, opened with a class of 16 students on December 3, 1866. Dr. Bliss served as its first president, from 1866 until 1902.

AUB alumni have had a broad and significant impact on the region and the world for many years. For example, 19 AUB alumni were delegates to the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945 – more than any other university in the world. AUB graduates continue to serve in leadership positions as presidents of their countries, prime ministers, members of parliament, ambassadors, governors of central banks, presidents and deans of colleges and universities, businesspeople, engineers, doctors, teachers, and nurses. They work in governments, the private sector, and in nongovernmental organizations.

The University is governed by a private, autonomous Board of Trustees and offers programs leading to the bachelor’s, master’s, MD, and PhD degrees.


Part of the upper campus as seen from Penrose dormitory
The 73 acre AUB campus is on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Seamarker on one side and bordering Bliss Street on the other.

Faculties and Schools


In 2007, AUB re-introduced PhD programs in Arab and Middle Eastern History, Arabic Language and Literature, Cell and Molecular Biology, Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Mechanical Engineering as well as Theoretical Physics.

Medical Center

The AUB Medical Center (AUBMC) is the private, all-for-profit teaching center of the Faculty of Medicine. AUBMC, which is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCIA) on hospital accreditation, includes a 420-bed hospital and offers comprehensive tertiary/quaternary medical care and referral services in a wide range of specialties and medical, nursing and paramedical training programs at undergraduate and post-graduate level. Since 1905, AUB’s medical services have included a nursing school. In 2008, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) invited AUB’s Rafic Hariri School of Nursing to become a full member, making it the first member of the AACN outside the United States. The American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Magnet Recognition ProgramR awarded AUBMC its prestigious Magnet designation on June 23, 2009. AUBMC is the first healthcare institution in the Middle East and the third in the world outside the United States to receive this award.


In October 2002, AUB launched a five-year $150 million fund raising campaign called the Campaign for Excellence to celebrate its 140th anniversary in 2006–07. The University raised more than $171 million during the campaign, which ended in December 2007, to upgrade its facilities, strengthen academic programs, enhance faculty recruitment, and increase its financial aid budget.

Student Activism

AUB enjoys a very strong and popular student activism and student organizations, which is missing in most of the other Lebanese universities. AUB now is witnessing a strong reprisal of the Secular and non-sectarian independent movements, which dragged the attention of the Lebanese media. Some of these secular movements have a social background, such as the "Secular Club" and "No Frontiers"; others have a mere intellectual backgrounds, such as the Freethoughts Society. AUB Secular student movements and clubs have been pioneering in launching many campaigns and activities concentrating on the importance of non-sectarian political and social thinking. AUB is one of very few universities in Lebanon where secular independent student movements succeeded in gaining a considerable number of seats in the Student Representative Counsels. Secular Club and No Frontiers -the two major secular organizations in AUB- succeeded through the electoral democratic process in gaining attention to the existence of a wide secular base in the university. In 2009 elections the alliance of the Secular Club and No Frontiers won the majority of seats in the Faculty of Health Sciences and all Graduate seats in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which reflected their strong existence in the university.

Nevertheless, notable moderate religious movements are also uprising, mainly the Insight Club, thereby portraying the open environment AUB advocates. The Insight Club launched many campaigns that raised intellectual thinking, civic welfare, and sincere companionship.

Many movements in Lebanon and the Arab World have started mainly from AUB before being political movements later, such as the Arab Nationalists Movement.


Degrees awarded by the American University of Beirut are officially registered with the Ministry of Higher Education in Lebanon and with the Board of Education in the State of New York. AUB was granted institutional accreditation in June 2004 by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

In September 2006, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) acted to accredit the University’s Graduate Public Health Program in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). The AUB Graduate Public Health Program is the first CEPH accredited public health program outside the North American continent.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited AUB’s School of Nursing for five years beginning October 13, 2007.

The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture has been preparing for accreditation from the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Between November 28 and December 2, 2009, the ABET team is visiting the university to decide whether it is eligible for the accreditation.

In April 2009, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) granted the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business initial accreditation. AACSB is the leading international accrediting agency for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting. Less than five percent of business schools worldwide have earned AACSB International accreditation.

The reconstructed College Hall at AUB


AUB graduates have attained prominent positions in many fields including government, science, economics, business and medicine. AUB graduates are prominent in Lebanese politics: former Prime Minister Saeb Salam and former Speaker of the Lebanese Parliamentmarker, Adil Osseiran, who were leaders of the independence movement after the French mandate, were AUB graduates. Other famous politicians include Prime Ministers Selim al-Hoss, Najib Mikati and Fouad Siniora, in addition to many ministers and members of parliament. AUB also played an important role as the breeding ground for Arab thinkers such as Syrian scholar Constantin Zurayk and founder of the Syrian Social Nationalist PartyAntun Saadeh. Famous politicians include former Palestinian minister Hanan Ashrawi, Syrian anti-French nationalist of the 1920s and 1930s Abdul Rahman Shahbandar, former Syrian president Nazim al-Kudsi and Syrian prime minister Faris al-Khoury, who was also an instructor at AUB. The Syrian poet Omar Abu Risheh is an AUB graduate and so is the Syrian novelist Ghada al-Samman.

Notable alumni (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Tarek Jerjawi, Palestinian entrepreneur and activist and occupied several leadership positions during his study at AUB
  • Vahe Hovaguimian, Armenian-Syrian entrepreneur in electricity and lighting

Notable Faculty

  • Albert Hourani, one of the most prominent scholars of Middle Eastern history for much of the second half of the 20th century
  • Charles Malik, diplomat and scholar, major intellectual contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • John Waterbury, former president of the university and professor of Political Science, former chairman of the department of Political Science at Princeton University
  • Malcolm Kerr, political scientist
  • Elias Khoury, novelist and historian, author of Gate of the Sun
  • Tarif Khalidi, author and renowned Islamic Studies scholar, holder of Sheikh Zaid Chair of the Center for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES)
  • Lina Choueiri, linguist
  • Peter Dorman, president of the university
  • Samir Seikaly
  • Sadek el Azem
  • Mounir Bashshour
  • Nawaf Salam, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations [54952]

Former Students

Nineteen former AUB students were delegates to the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

Among former students are Elias Furzeli, member of the Lebanese Parliament and former Deputy Parliamentary Speaker as well as Ismael al-Azahari, a former Prime Minister of Sudan.


  1. OSB joins ranks of 5 percent of business schools in the world with AACSB accreditation, AUB News Highlights (Official Press Release)

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