The gala provides LAU with a valuable opportunity to connect with its vast community of supporters from around the world
Lebanese American University (LAU) will honor a humanitarian and educator, and a business giant at its second annual gala in New York City on April 15th. LAU's guests of honor, Suad Juffali, the managing director of the Ahmed Juffali Benevolent Foundation, and Ray Irani, chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, will each be recognized for their public service with the Sarah Award (named after Sarah Lanman Huntington Smith, the American woman who founded the school in the 1830s that eventually became LAU).
Suad Juffali, a 1954 graduate of Beirut College for Women (as LAU was then known), has spent nearly sixty years committed to issues related to social welfare in the Middle East and beyond. In Saudi Arabia, she established and organized the Women Welfare Society and the Al-Faisaliyah Women Society, both dedicated to helping women and children, as well as the Help Center, an organization designed to help children with special needs.
"My alma mater was the guiding star of my life," Juffali said. "It prepared me to pursue my dreams, my aspirations…it taught me the value of education and how to invest in human beings. The university provided me with a passion to make things happen and to never give up."
Ray Irani is best known for his role at Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), transforming the chemical producer during his time at the company. Irani helped turn the company around as a director in the 1980s and became chairman and CEO in 1990. Under his leadership, Oxy has become the fourth-largest oil and gas company in America. Irani, who has also been active in strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Lebanon, as well as the fight against cancer, said, "I am thrilled to be honored by Lebanese American University. Under the remarkable leadership of Dr. Joseph Jabbra, LAU continues to be a beacon of educational excellence in Lebanon by providing a world-class curriculum and outstanding cultural programs for all of its students."
The gala provides LAU with a valuable opportunity to connect with its vast community of supporters from around the world, as well as to celebrate the recent achievements of the university. It also serves as an opportunity to introduce the university to a broader network of new people.
"Our goal is to build this gala into something more than just an event," says Richard Rumsey, LAU's Vice President for University Advancement. "We want to use this gala as an opportunity to let the widest possible audience know about the good work that LAU does and how we've become an important part of the landscape of Lebanon and the Middle East."
Lebanese American University is a leading private higher education institution in Lebanon that operates under a charter from the Board of Regents of the State University of New York and is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. LAU has seven schools of study offering a dynamic range of academic programs taught on two campuses in Beirut and Byblos, Lebanon.