LAU Chat: Monir Barakat

LAU Chat: Monir Barakat

BarakatEditWhere do you live and what do you do?

I live in Armonk in Westchester, New York. I also have an apartment in Manhattan, New York. I am an investment banker and President of Wafra Capital Partners, Inc., based in New York City. Wafra is an investment management company that operates mainly with institutional clients around the world.

How did you become involved with LAU?

I met Dr. Jabbra at a reception in the United States and we became friends. Through Dr. Jabbra, I learned a lot about LAU and fell in love with the institution. Every time I go to Lebanon, I visit the University and meet with Dr. Jabbra. During one visit, Dr. Jabbra asked me to join the LAU Health Foundation and I became one of the board members of the Foundation.

Why did you become involved with LAU and the LAU Health Foundation?

I joined the Health Foundation because I thought my experience in leasing medical equipment could help the foundation in finding available medical equipment in U.S. and other overseas markets.

LAU is a part of Lebanon’s future and I am very pleased to be part of that future. Lebanon’s place in the Middle East is through education and LAU plays a huge role in educating Lebanon’s and the region’s future leaders. LAU is lucky to have Dr. Jabbra as it’s president because educational institutions are measured by their leaders. Under the stewardship of Dr. Jabbra, LAU has a bright future ahead of it. My overall involvement with LAU is due to my drive to give back to Lebanon and help make it the center for education and medical health in the Middle East.

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Annual donations to LAU from our alumni and friends are vital to the University, and many of you respond generously each year to our annual fund appeals. However, you may be less aware of the importance of another form of giving – endowed gifts.

Endowment funds are similar to a savings account. In LAU’s case, we invest endowment funds and only spend the interest a portion of the investment returns earned from these funds. As per LAU’s Investment Policy, up to 4% of the three year moving average of the Endowment Fund can be disbursed according to the donor’s restriction. An example would be a three year average of an endowment gift of $25,000 received by a donor who wishes to create a student scholarship. LAU invests these funds and, each year, applies the above formula amounting to $1,000 to assist a student with financial need (according to the donor’s restriction). Endowments exist permanently and can be created by donors for many different purposes at LAU. They are some of the most important gifts we receive.

“Endowments enable LAU to sustain its programs, advance the quality and the standards of education and help needy and qualified students to achieve their ambition of higher education,” said Emile Lamah, CPA, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer of LAU.

Endowments are an essential component of the “Fulfilling the Promise” campaign. Goals and initiatives of this campaign give donors many opportunities to fund an endowment. “Some of the endowments connected to the campaign include chairs, scholarships, lecture series, annual fine arts performances, research funds, and conferences. Almost anything that LAU funds on an ongoing basis can be endowed,” said Bob Hollback, Assistant Vice President for Development. Moreover, donors can specify how and where they want the donation to be used. Endowments can be established in the donor’s name or be used by the donor to honor someone else. “Endowments exist in perpetuity.  They are a wonderful way to permanently honor a loved one because the named endowment will always exist at LAU,” Bob said.

Individuals interested in creating an endowment can contact the LAU Development Offices in either New York or Beirut to inquire about endowing projects or programs that are of interest to them.

“Creating an endowment at LAU is a noble gesture that helps the University subsidize the costs of education. It creates a unique feeling of self-satisfaction because one is giving back to society,” said Mr. Lamah.

This article is not intended, nor should it be used, as legal or professional advice. Before making any gift described in this article, you should consult with a professional financial advisor.

Celebrating Lebanese Literature

Celebrating Lebanese Literature

GroupEditOn March 2 the San Francisco Alumni Chapter, in association with LAU, hosted a special lecture, “The Book of Khalid” at the San Francisco Towers. Dr. Todd Fine, Director of Project Khalid, discussed Ameen Rihani’s background and life in the “Little Syria” section of New York City. Dr. Fine also talked about how Rihani’s writing related to his actual life in New York City, how he struggled to make a living, and his political activism. Dr. Fine explained his current project with “Little Syria” and hopes to establish a monument in the area. The event brought together 50 alumni, family and friends, and a reception and book signing followed the lecture.

If you are interested in purchasing “The Book of Khalid,” please visit More information about Project Khalid and Little Syria can be found at:

Our Roadmap to Success

Our Roadmap to Success

Our “Fulfilling the Promise” campaign is rooted in the University’s five-year Strategic Plan. The purpose of the campaign is to secure the financial resources needed for us to achieve the goals of this Plan.



In order to provide our students with a learning environment equal to the quality of instruction they receive, we must build several key facilities. These projects include: a new Arts & Sciences complex on the Beirut campus and a new Library and Engineering laboratory building on the Byblos campus. A unique opportunity exists for donors to name buildings and key spaces that will change the face of LAU.


Endowed Chairs

LAU needs to retain outstanding faculty while also recruiting new distinguished professors to provide a world-class education to our students. Endowed chairs are a key element in this effort and can be created across the university with the name of the donor at $2 million each.


Student Support

LAU is dedicated to providing every qualified student access to an LAU education, regardless of their financial circumstances. An endowed scholarship with a donor’s name can be created starting at $25,000.  Larger gifts can create scholarships that fully pay the tuition of an undergraduate student on an annual basis. Donors can specify which school the scholarship will be directed to and participate in setting criteria that must be met by the recipient.



Young faculty members face difficulties in obtaining outside sources of funding for their research since they compete with senior faculty. In order for young faculty members to stay current in their fields, LAU must offer them research funds. Donors can create “seed grant” funds for junior faculty members with donations of $10,000 or more, or named research endowments for gifts of $200,000.


Special Initiatives

Gender Studies: LAU is in the process of integrating gender-related studies throughout the undergraduate curriculum and instituting a Master’s in Women & Gender Studies. We welcome donor support for an annual conference, a guest speaker series and research funds.

Green Curriculum: LAU offers courses addressing environmental issues, but our larger hope is to create a “green curriculum” across the University, offer a degree in Environmental Studies, and build a “green campus.” Donors can contribute by providing scholarship support for students and funds for endowed chairs and research.

Peace Building: LAU currently has two institutes promoting peace: the Institute for Peace and Justice Education and the Institute for Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation. Our goal is to offer a graduate-level program and faculty/student research that takes advantage of our existing strength in this area. Donor support is needed to provide research funds and scholarship support.

Community Outreach: More than 800 students are involved in the Office of Civic Engagement and its community outreach program. Endowment opportunities exist for donors who want to help LAU increase its efforts to build meaningful and lasting partnerships in our community.


To read the entire Case Statement, please visit:

Continuing Excellence

Continuing Excellence

DrJElieSaabOn March 16 over 900 people, including Lebanese politicians, celebrities, LAU alumni and board members, gathered at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure Center for the University’s second annual fundraising Gala. This event marked the public launch of LAU’s new comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Fulfilling the Promise.” The event raised over $500,000 and went toward the campaign goal of scholarships for needy and deserving students.

This five-year campaign continues along the path set out by “The Legacy and the Promise.” The new campaign includes five areas focusing on financial aid, facilities, endowed professorships, research, and special initiatives that will help LAU become a world-class institution.

At the Gala, the campaign video was shown to the audience. The presentation highlighted the goals and plans for the campaign and featured students, faculty, board members and donors discussing the importance of the campaign not only to the university but to Lebanon and region. “Perhaps the best gift in life is the gift of giving because it reveals an unshakable commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of society. It reveals our obligation to our beloved sons and daughters who are the only beacon of hope in a region that is becoming more and more bereft of hope. Because of your generosity, LAU is responding in a very positive way,” said Dr. Joseph Jabbra, President of LAU.

In addition to the launch of the new campaign, Dr. Jabbra used the Gala to announce LAU’s new degree, the Elie Saab Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Design, in recognition of the world-renowned Lebanese fashion designer. The program will offer courses in fashion design, marketing, management, journalism and retail. According to Dr. Jabbra, the inception of this program displays LAU’s commitment to providing students with a first-rate, innovative education while at the same time responding to the changes and demands in the Middle East and world economies.

“It’s a dream come true that by the end of this year, we will graduate our first class of nursing students and our first class of medical students. LAU is a vibrant part of society and we always respond to society’s needs by providing programs and opportunities. I am so proud to declare the inauguration of this new program, the Elie Saab Bachelor Degree in Fashion Design, which will commence this coming fall,” said Dr. Jabbra.

The public launch of the campaign will be continued in North America as well. LAU’s Annual U.S. Gala will take place in New York City on September 13 at the Pierre Hotel. This event will also inaugurate LAU’s new North American Headquarters in New York City.