The Toronto Chapter gathered for its Annual Gala Dinner at Mazza Garden in Ajax, Ontario on April 5. Around 100 alumni, family, and friends attended the Gala and the event also featuered live music, and belly dancer, and argileh.
The South Florida Alumni Chapter gathered at the home of former LAU Board of Trustees member Ron Cruikshank in Fort Lauderdale for a cocktail reception on March 9.
The Southern California Alumni Chapter met at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in La Cañada Flintridge on March 1. The chapter and friends had a tour of the laboratory led by former LAU Chairman of the Board and Director of JPL, Dr. Charles Elachi. Around 30 people attended the event.
On February 27, 14 alumni, family and friends traveled from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida for LAU’s first Alumni Cruise.
The group sailed on Celebrity Cruises’ Constellation ship which had extensive entertainment and relaxation options such as a casino, swimming pools, health spa and many bars. The alumni, family and friends went on fun, one-day excursions at Nassau, Bahamas and Paradise Island, as well as a very enjoyable day in Key West. There were almost 2,000 passengers on board. Everyone ate and drank very well, experiencing spectacular cuisine and exceptional service. All were pleasantly surprised at the spacious and well-appointed staterooms.
In addition, the cost of the cruise was quite affordable. Prices started at $404 per person and covered ship accommodations, ocean transportation, most meals, some alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and most entertainment onboard ship. If you are intersted in going on a future cruise with LAU, please contact:
Ed Shiner, Director of Alumni and Special Projects
(646) 255-1099, or email@example.com
Where do you live and what do you do?
I Live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and am the owner and Principal at s2h Inc., an application software company. s2h specializes in Software development and implementation and our flagship product is D2R-Collect.com, which is getting listed on Google and Salesforce. We are Google, Microsoft and Salesforce partners and we implement Microsoft products such as MS-CRM and MS-Sharepoint and MS-Dynamics.
When did you start getting involved with the Toronto Chapter?
I was one of the founding members of the Toronto Chapter in 2001 when we first met as a group before the official chapter was created. I was President of the Toronto Chapter from 2002-2008. We started a local chapter to catch up with other alums and form a community that provides a network to LAU graduates and their families. The Toronto Chapter is an important unit for its members since it acts as an extended support group and family to them. It connects and forms long-lasting relationships between alums and their families. We have watched children grow together and form life long bonds. The chapter gives them an understanding of who we are, where we came from and our relationship with LAU and homeland. Most importantly, the Toronto Chapter provides friendly and familiar faces that one misses away from home. That atmosphere has spilled over to non-LAU members and they form an important extended family to the chapter.
What are some of the future events the Toronto chapter will hold this year?
On yearly basis the Toronto chapter holds a Breakfast in the Park and this year it is on June 8, 2014. The chapter also holds and Annual Family Picnic and it will be on September 7, 2014. We also hold a Gala and this year’s was on April 5, 2014.
In addition to the generous assistance LAU receives from its alumni and friends, the University also receives a significant amount of funding from the U.S. Federal Government to support student scholarships and academic programs. Dr. Jabbra visits Washington, D.C. regularly and works with Jay Ghazal, LAU’s representative in Washington, to meet with members of Congress and committees. His goal on each visit is to reiterate to members of Congress the importance of U.S. support for American institutions of higher education in the Middle East.
LAU receives funding from a variety of federal programs. One important source of support is from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program. This program helps institutions like LAU maintain American educational standards and also offers local communities access to high quality medical care and assistance. LAU also receives funding from the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which provides much-needed academic scholarships to deserving students from across the MENA region. MEPI currently works in 18 countries and has been active in the Middle East since 2002. Finally, LAU also receives funding from the Economic Support Fund to provide scholarship assistance for Lebanese students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards required for American accreditation.
LAU’s and Dr. Jabbra’s presence in Washington, D.C. is incredibly important to both the University community and Lebanon, according to Ghazal. “Dr. Jabbra provides members of Congress, including committee leadership in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and State Department and Department of Education officials with crucial information about the importance of supporting access to higher education throughout the region,” Ghazal emphasized.
Dr. Jabbra’s regular visits to Washington, D.C. ensure that Congress understands the important impact that U.S. support for higher education is having in the region. Federal funds help LAU provide an indispensable, high quality education to future leaders in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East which help instill universal values in our students including seeking truth, respecting human dignity, promoting gender equality, being inclusive and advocating for social justice.