Honoring Lebanon’s Hospitality Industry Leaders

AKSOB’s Hospitality and Tourism Management department honors the accomplishments and contributions of twelve of Lebanon’s hospitality industry leaders.

By Chirine El-Mchantaf

On behalf of the scholars, senior student and President of LAU’s Hospitality Club Johnny Salamani presented Dr. Jabbra with a token of appreciation.
Dr. Wassim Shahin, AKSOB’s Interim Dean.
Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Hospitality and Tourism Management Rania El Haddad.
Pierre Achkar, President of the Lebanese Hotel Federation for Tourism Industries.
Nicolas Audi, founder of Audi Catering.
Nouhad Dammous, owner of Hospitality News Services.
Andreas Iliovits, owner of The Bridge.
Pamela Mehanna and Ramzi Mattar, co-owners of MINE Wedding and Events.
Elie Nakhal, CEO of Nakhal Travel.
Tony Ramy, President of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries.
Mazen Najib Salha, owner of Phoenicia Hotel.
Zena Frem, President of Jounieh Festival.
Marwan Najib Salha, owner of Phoenicia Hotel.
The hospitality and Tourism Management seniors who organized and catered for the event.
Nizar Choucair, CEO and Founder of Patchi Chocolates.

In an enchanting setting, more than 300 guests including hotel owners and managers, restaurant owners and executives from the entertainment industry, along with the university’s faculty and staff, basked in the splendors of LAU’s first Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner in honor of distinguished leaders in hospitality.

Themed From Lebanon to the World, the event honored the successes of 12 of Lebanon’s hospitality leaders who have significantly impacted the business, while showcasing the skills and high standards of students from LAU’s robust hospitality and tourism management program.

“We take pride in recognizing and honoring role models in our society who contribute to the well-being of our culture despite all the problems it’s facing,” LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra said in his welcome speech. “Through them, we gain optimism and a ray of hope.”

The list of honorees comprised President of the Lebanese Hotel Federation for Tourism Industries Pierre Achkar, founder of Audi Catering Nicolas Audi, CEO and Founder of Patchi Chocolates Nizar Choucair, Owner of Hospitality News Services Nouhad Dammous, President of Jounieh Festival Zena Frem, Owner of The Bridge Andreas Iliovits, co-owners of MINE Wedding and Events Pamela Mehanna and Ramzi Mattar, CEO of Nakhal Travel Elie Nakhal, President of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs & Pastries Tony Ramy as well as owners of Phoenicia Hotel Mazen Najib Salha and Marwan Najib Salha.

In addition to paying tribute to the distinguished guests, the event aimed to engage hospitality and tourism management students at the Adnan Kassar School of Business (AKSOB) with the hospitality community. Hence, and as part of their senior project, they were in charge of the organization, catering and servicing.

“As faculty members, we are being innovative to ensure that our students are active learners rather than passive apprentices in the classroom,” Dr. Jabbra said. “This helps them create jobs instead of look for ones.”

On another note, Dr. Jabbra thanked Phoenicia Hotel for their generous donation.

Together with the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, “the school has been greatly thinking of introducing another graduate degree in event management,” revealed AKSOB’s Interim Dean Wassim Shahin in the course of his speech. 

The program is also in the process of acquiring the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). “The work has effectively begun in the presence of the prestigious organization here today,” Dr. Shahin said.

For Dr. Rania El Haddad, associate professor and associate chair of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the students made all this possible.

“Here at LAU, the students acquired the right knowledge and attitude while building the foundations that will help them become the future leaders of the hospitality industry,” she said in her opening speech. “We could not have done it without them.”

She also specially thanked AKSOB Instructor Bassem Slim, Hospitality Lab Supervisor Georges Tamer, Chef Ibrahim Haddad, and Senior Executive Assistant Faten Dabboussi.

At the end of the ceremony, the scholars honored Dr. Jabbra in a kind gesture of appreciation and recognition for all his contributions that reshaped LAU into a premiere institution.

“For 15 years, Dr. Jabbra gave all he has learned to our university and country, pushing LAU forward as a spearhead to success and innovation,” concluded senior student and President of LAU’s Hospitality Club Johnny Salamani.