Tomorrow’s Leaders Bid LAU Farewell

The MEPI-TL program celebrates its newest graduates.

By Hoda Hilal

Students, faculty members, LAU officials, and the US ambassador to Lebanon convened last week to celebrate graduates of the LAU-Middle East Partnership Initiative-Tomorrow’s Leaders (MEPI-TL) program. With pride and excitement, the young leaders received their certificates and rings and recalled some unforgettable memories from their journeys.

“Today is the day we celebrate together the culmination of your journey at LAU through a program that has challenged you to do more and be more,” said MEPI-TL Program Director Dina Abdul Rahman. Highlighting the diversity of the TL community, with students coming from 10 different Arab countries, she added, “I commend you all for learning the big lesson of acceptance, tolerance and communication. This is the biggest strength of any leader, and leaders you are!”

LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra thanked the American people for the MEPI-TL funding and congratulated the students on their hard work. “The hope in Lebanon and the entire region comes back to me, knowing that you are going to reform your communities and participate in nation building,” he told the graduates. He also highlighted LAU’s mission, which is inspired by service to its students and based on the pursuit of truth, respect for human dignity and gender equality. “Our students are judged by the caliber of their achievements, academic prowess, personal growth, individual maturity, and, above all, the content of their characters.”

US Ambassador Elizabeth H. Richard took the stage next to congratulate the graduates and ask them to constantly recommit themselves to being leaders. “Leadership is the ability to create a vision, the talent for motivating others, and the dedication to doing good in your communities, country and the world,” she said, urging the graduates to look back and see the progress they’ve made throughout the years spent at LAU.

Next, it was time for TL valedictorian Nouran Ben Moussa to give her testimony. She recalled how she fought difficult circumstances to make it to Lebanon from Libya, urging her fellow graduates to inspire positive and long-lasting change in our region. “One of the most important lessons that I have learned is to say ‘yes’ whenever the circumstances are pushing you to say ‘no,’” she said. “This experience has united us and allowed us to emphasize our commonalities rather than fight over the differences.”

Welcoming the graduates to LAU’s extended alumni family, Associate Director of Alumni Relations Ghada Majed enthused, “Your journey ends as students but starts as alumni. We’re here to serve you and keep you connected with each other.”

The bond between the young leaders is an unbreakable one, the graduating students agreed, held together by a passion for leadership and knowledge, and years of memories on both LAU’s campuses.