A Global Health Institute in LebanonOn July 19, 2017, American University of Beirut (AUB) president Fadlo Khuri announced the development of AUB’s very own Global Health Institute, the first research and public health establishment in Lebanon and the wider region.

Under its “Health 2025 initiative,” AUB’s vision of contributing to national healthcare reform inspired the idea of establishing a Global Health Institute in Lebanon. An additional Health Sciences Complex will also be developed to complement the institute in its goal of empowering AUB’s footprint in health, for it to become a renowned medical center serving the clinical and surgical needs of the Arab population on a global scale. 

According to Khuri, the Global Health Institute in Lebanon will contribute positively to the development of a “sustainable future for health in the Arab World.” He also acknowledged his fellow board members, associate vice president for health affairs Shadi Saleh and executive vice president Dean Mohamed Sayegh. Their collaborative efforts over a period of 18 months have ultimately launched the institution. 

Donors & International Supporters

The Global Health Institute in Lebanon relies on the support of its generous donors. A five-year $1.35 million core foundational grant was given by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in recognition of the university’s ambitious healthcare mission. The IDRC leadership expressed its enthusiasm in collaborating with AUB to support new research leaders on current issues in healthcare, society, economics and the environment.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Currently, the Global Health Institute in Lebanon has launched three interdisciplinary programs directed by different health units within the university. The Conflict Medicine Program, the Refugee Health Program and the Nutrition, Obesity, and Related Disease Program have already exceeded expectations with their research projects, capacity-building events and outreach actions. New programs will be launched in the near future to broaden the range of activities and topics addressed by the institution.

Strategic Agreement with Humanitarian Leadership Academy

In August 2017, AUB’s Global Health Institute in Lebanon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA), a global learning initiative providing people the skills needed to effectively prepare for and respond to crises. The Global Health Institute will pilot research, develop new structured learning pathways and contextualize content through advanced learning tools such as online courses to deliver necessary humanitarian capacity-building assessments to HLA.

One of the first activities organized by both parties was a workshop offered to representatives of different local and international organizations in Lebanon. The one-day workshop was focused on supporting local stakeholders responding to the Syrian Crisis.

Director of the Middle East Centre Brigitte Khair-Mountain praised the workshop for being a great opportunity to validate gaps in humanitarian learning present in the Middle East. She added that the workshop will allow stakeholders to prioritize best practices based on the region’s previous experiences in humanitarian response.

– Lea Sacca

Photo: Flickr