The New York/New Jersey Alumni Chapter met for “Have U-Bin to the Rubin” on February 7. The group met for happy hour at the K2 Lounge in the Rubin Museum. They then went on a tour of Buddhist art and artifacts, including an authentic shrine. Tony Faddoul, alumus and artist, led the tour. A small group went to dinner afterwards at Rosa Mexicana.
The Houston Alumni Chapter gathered on January 5 at the home of alumna Tania Shahine and her husband Wissam El-Tayssoun in Houston. This is the second annual alumni gathering hosted by Tania and Wissam. In January 2013, Tania and Wissam hosted an alumni welcome reception for LAU President Joseph Jabbra.
Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in New York City and I am an architect, artist, and futurist. I work in design and construction management. In addition to my day job, I am involved in projects of scientific, cultural, art and literature aspects.
What are your scientific, cultural, art and literature projects?
I have written and edited dozens of books, papers and articles on astronomy, space architecture, archaeology, ancient mythology, education, linguistics and history.
I have lectured on science, culture, sociology and linguistics at universities and cultural venues such as The New School in New York City, the University of Florida, and the One Hundred Year Starship (100 YSS) Symposium.
As a visual artist I have done over a hundred paintings and drawings. My artwork has been featured in art publications and exhibited in cities worldwide including New York, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Tampa and Beirut.
I am also the co-founder and Chairman of the Lebanese Language Institute, established in 2007. The institute focuses its research on the Lebanese language and its history, etymology and teaching practices. I co-developed the Lebanese Latin Letters System and am also the co-founder of the Lebanese Language center, established in 2003, that concentrates on teaching Lebanese to English speakers.
How did you become involved with LAU in North America?
I got involved with LAU alumni when I was living in Florida about six years ago. I worked with Ed Shiner, Director of Alumni and Special Projects, to help reach out to alumni. When I moved to New York City about three years ago, I started getting involved with the New York/New Jersey Alumni Chapter.
What future plans and programs are you involved in with the New York/New Jersey Alumni Chapter?
We’ve been working on spreading the New York/New Jersey Alumni Chapter, having more socio-cultural events, developing our outreach to alumni and creating events that attract non-alumni. We are also working on a series of seminars and educational sessions dealing with current topics and advanced scientific matters.
When most people think of making a tax-deductible gift to a school or charity, they think of writing a check. In fact, many organizations receive highly valuable gifts through tax-deductible in-kind donations.
In-kind gifts are contributions of goods or services for which a value can be established. Examples of in-kind gifts LAU has received include artwork, books, wine, and most recently a large donation of medical supplies from Medical Bridges to the free clinic that LAU staffs in the Shatila Refugee Camp as part of the University’s social medicine and global health program.
In 2013, LAU received medical supplies including stethoscopes, bandages, exam tables and a vital signs monitor from Medical Bridges through a connection with Anan Anabtawi and Eos Health. These supplies gave medical, pharmacy and nursing students the opportunity to help patients and apply the skills they learned in the classroom to patients in the field.
“During 2013 Medical Bridges received a donation from an anonymous donor to ship a Container of Hope to LAU in Beirut. In conjunction with the LAU staff in New York and on the ground in Beirut, we were able to assemble and provide more than 1,000 boxes of medical supplies and essential equipment,” said George Bolettieri, Business Development Manager at Medical Bridges.
In-kind gifts can provide students an opportunity to fully utilize and understand the material they learn in the classroom in real-world settings. In addition, gifts can be auctioned at fundraising events to raise money for university scholarships, programs and buildings. In-kind gifts may be a prime giving opportunity for donors with connections to businesses, or corporations with supplies that can be donated to the university. Individuals who are artists, photographers, or have estates with valuable items can also donate those items. Donations of rare books and art collections are a frequent type of in-kind gift made to universities. The value of these in-kind gifts can be established through an appraisal and, just like a cash donation, in-kind gifts are normally tax deductible. Because certain IRS restrictions apply to in-kind gifts, interested donors should discuss their gift with the LAU Development Office and their tax advisor in each case.
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.
For more information about in-kind gifts and ways to plan donating an in-kind gift, please contact the Development Office at the New York Headquarters and Academic Center at (212) 203-4333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York Headquarters and Academic Center began offering its first courses in January, the first time an American/Middle Eastern institution has offered regularly scheduled courses in the United States. The Center has five levels of Modern Standard Arabic and Levantine dialect courses this semester. These classes are held on evenings and weekends, providing working professionals and students at other universities in the area convenient times and options that fit their schedules.
“I have a full time job and am also a graduate student at the City University of New York Graduate Center Middle Eastern Studies program. I chose to take Arabic at LAU because these courses are more accommodating to my schedule than other Arabic courses offered in New York City.” said Justin Tessier, Intermediate Arabic II student.
Professor Firas Sulaiman currently teaches all of the Arabic courses offered at the Center. He has 13 years of experience teaching Arabic in New York City universities and teaches both Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect. “Teaching is always exciting, especially when you start out with new students. It is exciting to help students achieve their goals in a foreign language whether it be in business, culture or politics,” Professor Sulaiman said.
In addition to the Arabic courses taught at the Center, LAU plans to offer additional courses in the summer and fall semesters including Arab cultural studies, religion, peace and development and Arab economics. These courses will be geared toward students and working professionals interested in expanding their knowledge of the Middle East who also need flexible course schedules.
LAU began its social media endeavors in 2009 at the New York Office to help raise the profile of the university. In the months following the initial launch, LAU added a page specifically for alumni, and then, with the help of the New York communications manager, a variety of other groups developed pages for their interests. Today, LAU has almost 50,000 likes on Facebook, over 8,000 followers on Twitter and more than 3,500 followers on LinkedIn. LAU has some of the largest social media presence among universities in the Middle East, thanks to the efforts of both the New York and Beirut social media teams.
“More people know about LAU because when you have Facebook and Twitter followers in the tens of thousands liking, commenting or re-tweeting your posts, word gets out. Seeing students, alumni and friends posting, liking and tweeting on a regular basis and establishing virtual communication is very gratifying,” said Marge Pfleiderer, Executive Director of Operations at the New York Headquarters and Academic Center.
LAU has been successful in its social media efforts because it directly responds to and is in constant contact with its audience, mainly current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, potential donors and friends of the university. “We have a vast network of students, alumni, faculty members and programs. It made perfect sense to use these networks to highlight the content LAU produces and share alumni achievements, employment opportunities, events, academic information, student accomplishments and campus related activities. We use our social media networks to promote our content,” said Hasan Trosclair, social media consultant at the New York Headquarters and Academic Center.
To assess the impact LAU’s social media has on its community, the social media teams spend time reviewing data provided by Facebook Insights to see what kind of content the community responds best to. Posts focusing on real time events, videos, quotes, and photos normally do very well on Facebook resulting in multiple shares and commentary. “Students, alumni, faculty and staff members have embraced our efforts by expressing new ideas and suggestions. LAU’s online activity restored our alumni’s sense of belonging and they can reconnect with old friends and attend events on campus,” said Bert Makadessi, Executive Public Relations Officer at the Beirut Office.
In addition to the work the New York and Beirut offices have dedicated to enhancing LAU’s social media presence, alumni in North America joined this effort and are utilizing Facebook to promote events, post photos and establish connections with fellow alumni.
LAU is also looking at ways to utilize social media platforms to highlight fundraising efforts, connect with potential donors and boost awareness of existing campaigns. “During the holiday season we ran our first Facebook ad to promote the Fulfilling the Promise website in North America. The ad helped generate almost 5,000 views to the website. We hope to build a closer connection with our existing community members and attract new members. By building personal relationships, it makes it easier for the university to stay in touch with alumni, attract new students and influence potential donors,” said Hasan.