Honorary Doctorates 2023

Mr. Antoine Frem, Dr. Mona Nemer, and Dr. Ogarit Younan will be honored at the 2023 commencement ceremonies for their contributions to innovation, knowledge and human rights.

By Dana K. Haffar

From left: Dr. Mona Nemer, Dr. Ogarit Younan and Mr. Antoine Frem.

In recognition of their outstanding achievements and service to society, LAU has awarded the Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters 2023 to entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr. Antoine Frem, accomplished molecular cardiologist Dr. Mona Nemer and human rights pioneer figure Dr. Ogarit Younan. The degrees will be conferred at the commencements on the Beirut and the Byblos campuses.   

“It is my utmost pleasure to bestow honorary doctorates upon these three exceptional individuals whose unwavering commitment to excellence aligns with the values we hold dear,” said LAU President Michel E. Mawad. “Their remarkable contributions embody the essence of knowledge, compassion, and innovation. We honor their enduring dedication to our shared pursuit of a brighter future.”

Antoine Frem

Mr. Antoine Frem is a long-standing member of LAU’s Board of Trustees (1991-2022) having served as chairman for four years and secretary for the same duration. He remains a member of the Advisory Board of the university’s Institute for Family and Entrepreneurial Business.

He is co-founder and vice-chairman of INDEVCO Group, an enterprise specializing in raw materials, packaging and consumer disposables and providing diversified manufacturing and industrial consultancy services in eco-friendly solutions. The company is dedicated to integrating environmental sustainability into its operations, engaging communities and launching social initiatives to address key UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2019, INDEVCO received the UN Global Compact SDG Milestones Award 2019.

Mr. Frem is also the Chairman of the board at Unipak – INDEVCO Group – and was for several years a former chairman of the board of Interstate Resources Inc. USA, previously affiliated with INDEVCO. With more than 45 years’ experience in the packaging and paperboard industry, he has wide exposure to consumer products and flexible packaging industries worldwide.

Mr. Frem has given generously to LAU in donations and in support of its students through internships. He is a member of the Board of Directors of AMIDEAST in Washington and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon, among others.

From 2010-2026 he served as mayor of the City of Jounieh.

Mr. Frem is a Chemical Engineer from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Mona Nemer

An expert in the field of molecular cardiology, Dr. Mona Nemer has been Canada’s Chief Science Advisor since 2017.

Prior to that, Dr. Nemer was a professor and vice-president of research at the University of Ottawa and director of the Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology. Under her leadership, the university experienced unprecedented research growth, renewed research facilities and the deployment of university-wide research and technology platforms.

She is the author of over 200 highly cited scientific publications, and her work has contributed to the development of diagnostic tests for heart failure and the genetics of cardiac birth defects. She has trained more than 100 students from various countries.

Dr. Nemer has served on several national and international advisory committees and executive boards and received many national and international honors. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the Ordre National du Québec, a Knight of the French National Order of Merit and a Knight of the French Legion of Honour. She is an elected fellow of four national science academies, among which the Academy of Sciences of Lebanon. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from universities in France, Finland, Lebanon and the US.

Dr. Nemer obtained a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University and completed post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the Montréal Clinical Research Institute and Columbia University. Before joining the University of Ottawa, she was a professor of pharmacology at the Université de Montréal, an adjunct professor of medicine at McGill University and the director of the Cardiac Genetics Unit at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute.

Ogarit Younan

A pioneer of the Culture of Non-Violence in the Arab world, sociologist, writer, lecturer, and daily activist Dr. Ogarit Younan devoted her life to humane issues. She is a co-founder of the innovative Academic University for Non-Violence and Human Rights in the Arab World (AUNOHR), which earned an award from the Chirac Foundation in 2019.

Dr. Younan is the founder and/or co-founder of the first human rights and nonviolent organizations in Lebanon and the Arab region, and a member of the first international network of expert trainers and pioneers in peace and conflict resolution with UNESCO and other international organizations.

She launched the first bulletins on human rights in Lebanon in 1986 and has since published several others on the rights of workers, teachers, students, communities and youth which have had extensive impact on the national level.

In addition to tens of articles, hundreds of lectures and seminars, short stories and poems, she has more than 20 research and published titles in education, political socialization, personal status and civil marriage, the death penalty, compulsory military service, women’s empowerment and the culture of nonviolence, among others.

She is also the author of two books: How Are We Raised on Sectarianism, and How Can We Avoid Being Raised on Sectarianism, both of which were translated into English. In 2005, she produced a training manual titled Women’s Empowerment and 61 short stories for Women consisting of 12 booklets targeted at half-illiterate women for LAU’s Arab Institute for Women.

In the nineties after the civil war, she initiated two exemplary civil campaigns in Lebanon, for personal status and civil marriage law, and the abolition of the death penalty. In 2003, she and Non-Violence thinker, the late Walid Slaiby who passed away in May 2023, founded the Lebanese Association for Civil Rights (LACR) and were awarded the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic in 2005 for their fight against the death penalty.

In 2022, the couple received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India. Dr. Younan is considered a resource for issues related to Lebanon’s sectarian system/secular state.

The honorary doctorates will be conferred on Mr. Antoine Frem during the commencement ceremony on June 13 (Byblos campus), Dr. Mona Nemer on June 16 (Beirut campus), and Dr. Ogarit Younan on June 17 (Beirut campus).