AUB announces 2008 honorary doctoral degree recipients

Published June 2nd, 2008 - 11:46 GMT

AUB announces 2008 honorary doctoral degree recipients



The American University of Beirut announced on June 2, the five recipients of the 2008 honorary doctoral degrees. The award ceremony, to be held on June 28 at 12 noon in Assembly Hall, coincides with the University’s 139th Commencement.


Honorary degree recipients will be introduced by outgoing AUB president John Waterbury, who reestablished the tradition in 2003, after it was suspended for several years due to the 1975-1990 war.


This year's recipients are:

Hanan M. Ashrawi, official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation during the Middle East Peace Processes from 1991 to 1993, earned BA and MA degrees at AUB and a PhD from the University of Virginia (USA). A tireless peace activist for the independence of Palestine and promoter of Palestinian culture, she is also an author and an academic. She established the English Department at Palestine’s Birzeit University in 1973, taught and chaired the department, and then served as dean of the Faculty of Arts 1986-90.  Known as one of the most influential women in the Arab world, she remains active in Palestinian economic, social, and cultural organizations to this day.


Mona Hatoum’s avant garde art installations are known throughout the modern art scene today. Born in Beirut in 1952 of Palestinian parents, Hatoum settled at the outset of the Lebanese civil war in London, where she studied art from 1975 to 1981. She now lives in London and Berlin. Since her first successes in the mid-eighties, her unconventional art work (performance, photography, video, sculpture, and installation) has appeared to enthusiastic acclaim in solo and group exhibitions in many countries around the world. Having long ago abandoned figurative art, Hatoum shows a marked tendency in her work to disturb, discomfort, and dislocate her viewers. 


Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International (AI) since August 2001, has worked tirelessly to promote human rights for individuals (with special emphasis on women’s rights), to mitigate the infringement on human rights caused by “the war on terror,” and to regulate impunity for human rights abuses. Educated at Manchester University and Harvard Law School, she spent 20 years with the UN High Commission for Refugees before taking the helm at Amnesty. She has received many fellowships, prizes, and awards, including the Sydney Peace Foundation Prize in 2006.


Georges Tohme, president of the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research since 1993, is a dedicated champion of the flora and fauna of Lebanon. Frequently working with his wife, Henriette A. Sabbagh, he has written about Lebanese mammals, birds, and flowers—and about the Lebanese University, where he taught for many years and served as head of three departments. From 1977 to 1980 he was dean of the Faculty of Science, and in 1980-88, he was president of the University. For many years he has been devoted to the preservation of the “wonderful and irreplaceable diversity” of Lebanese flora and fauna. (104)


Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, is Turkey’s best known author. While still officially studying journalism, Pamuk immersed himself in the writing of novels, the best known of which are Snow and  My Name is Red. Although he avoids direct confrontation with political issues in his work, in 2005 Pamuk was indicted on the charge of “insulting Turkishness” and faced imprisonment.  In January 2006 the case was abruptly dropped on a technicality. Pamuk, who has received many prizes for his novels, has taught at Columbia University, been a fellow at the University of Iowa, and is currently writer in residence at Bard College.


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