Outreach and Civic Engagement
In its 2011-2016 Strategic Plan, the Lebanese American University identified six strategic priorities, one of which is Outreach. Its main goal is to “Extend LAU’s academic, professional and social services beyond the confines of its campuses and provide opportunities for students and faculty to expand their university experience to the community and abroad.” Civic engagement quickly became a priority for LAU’s School of Arts and Sciences. The many departments and programs of the School provide prefect opportunities to reach out to the community in two-way learning experiences, benefiting the public as well as LAU faculty and students.
Here’s an overview of the School of Arts and Sciences’ contribution.
Public National Speaking Competition
LAU has been hosting this event for the last 10 years. The competition is an annual event organized by the English-Speaking Union (ESU) of which LAU faculties Dr. Nabelah Haraty, Associate Professor of English, and Ms. Mona Shahine, Senior Instructor of English, are executive members. The competition is conducted in the presence of high-profile jury members and comprises university students from all over Lebanon.
National Public Speaking Competition 2016. The designated theme was: “Peace is not the absence of War.” (Jury: Zaven Kouyoumdjian, Nidal Ashkar, Donna McGowen, Pierre Merdalli, Anas Ghaibi)
Annual Arts and Sciences Fair
This is an annual event held on both Byblos and Beirut campuses for secondary school students from all over Lebanon (grades 10 & 11). Competitions range from Physics and Chemistry contests, to creating low calories dishes and health awareness, web development and mathematical games. Students can also take part in short story/essay writing, a visual arts exhibition, community service, and a talent show. This experience provides them with a full spectrum of what the School of Arts and Sciences has to offer, and a glimpse into the liberal arts core of LAU.
TED is an annual event that brings together the world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter in any discipline. In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
Under the patronage of the School of Arts and Sciences, TEDxLAU organized the first TEDx university event in Lebanon in 2012, officially licensed by TED International.
Image from TedxLAU 2016.
The School of Arts and Sciences at LAU conducts several summer camps: Computing, English Creative Writing, Arabic Creative Writing and Chemistry.
The camps provide an opportunity for high school students to develop their knowledge in their respective fields of preference. All winners receive scholarships to join the relevant Program at LAU.
Computing Summer Camp
The Computing Summer Camp is a one-week annual event that targets Grade 10 and 11 students. The activity usually consists of a short course that aims to give students an appreciation of university-level Computer Science such as mobile applications and web programming.
Computing Summer Camp participants in Beirut, Summer 2016
The camp culminates in a project, and prizes are distributed to the top three winners. Prizes include scholarships to the Computer Science Program at LAU.
In summer 2016, the computing summer camp was held for the first time also in Sidon, at the OLA headquarters (Outreach and Leadership Academy). [Picture to the right: Setting up the computer center at OLA to welcome computing camp participants from the South, Summer 2016.]
Creative Writing Summer Camp
In June 2016, the Department of English, as part of an initiative by the School of Arts and Sciences, organized its second annual English Creative Writing Summer Camp, targeting Grade 11 students. The camp focused on speechwriting skills along with professional writing skills.
During the camp, students received guidance and practice in basic skills and techniques in speechwriting.
The participants learned how to write organized speeches and communicate their ideas effectively. By the end of the camp, each participant presented a 3-5 min speech on the topic they had worked on during the workshops and 3 winners were selected.
Other activities include:
- The International Dance Day Festival in Lebanon
- Creative Writing Workshop
- Creative Writing Competition - a writing competition for all LAU undergraduate students, in collaboration with the Writing Center. English Department.International Theatre Festival - Communication Arts Department
LAU is shaped and inspired by the cities in which its campuses are located. From the vibrant capital city of Beirut to the historic city of Byblos, the School of Arts and Sciences is working to make a difference in the lives of its communities, promoting life-long learners, active citizenship, and socially responsible students. Outreach and civic engagement activities in the School of Arts and Sciences are the results of collective (and sometimes individual) initiatives designed to promote civic awareness, engaged and culturally cognizant citizens. The School’s rich resources and dynamic faculty body are behind the success of its activities