LAU unveils Executive Center at Solidere

University joins hands with Solidere to offer students a chance to take classes in the heart of the Lebanese capital.

Sep 12, 2013

LAU students will now be able to take classes in the heart of downtown Beirut, thanks to a partnership with Solidere, the Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District.

The company has generously offered LAU a major facility, which will be known as The LAU Executive Center at Solidere, at 1301 Marfaa, Beyhum Street.

“In the darkest moments of a country’s history, there is always a glimmer of hope,” said LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 23, referring to recent unrest in Lebanon.

“What is happening at this Center here today represents hope for a better future. We are part and parcel of society, and as such we have a responsibility to serve Lebanon, the region, and the Beirut community, together with Solidere.” Jabbra thanked the company for helping turn “a dream into a reality.”

Just a few steps from Riad al-Solh, the state-of-the-art Executive Center comprises several classrooms, a design studio for the School of Architecture and Design (SArD), a student lounge and faculty offices, spread across 600 square meters. Housed in the same building as Solidere’s Beirut Broadband Network office and service center, the facility also boasts high speed Internet.

The Center, whose renovation was completely financed by Solidere, will provide LAU students with an unrivalled opportunity to be close to Lebanon’s financial, political and commercial decision-making. The space will initially be used for EMBA and MBA courses, classes for Architecture and Design students, workshops and conferences.

LAU and Solidere “share identical values on the development of community,” said Mounir Douaidy, general manager at Solidere, noting both institutions were committed to advancing excellence and to fostering a culture of civic engagement. The Center was “the crown jewel enhancing Solidere’s interaction with education, entrepreneurship and professional life,” he added. Solidere is offering the LAU Executive Center rent-free until August 2019.

The expansive and interactive spaces were designed to reflect LAU’s openness to the community, said Dr. Maroun Daccache, chair of the Architecture and Interior Design department at SArD and who designed the new space. He said students from SArD should find the facility inspiring. “Many students choose to focus their final year projects on Beirut’s urban and social complexity. Use of the LAU Executive Center in Solidere as a laboratory will help our students be in direct contact with society and to develop their ideas.”

The opening of the Center is part of a strategic decision by LAU to “outgrow the traditional campus model,” said Dr. Elie Badr, assistant provost for Academic Programs, assistant to the president and strategic officer for External Projects and Related Entities.

He noted the event comes as LAU also prepares to inaugurate its New York Headquarters and Academic Center in the heart of Manhattan on September 13. “The opening of these centers demonstrate LAU’s dedication to bringing itself closer to the communities it serves,” Badr said.

The Center in New York will enable students there to take classes in such fields as Islamic banking and finance, gender studies in the Arab world, peace education, and Arabic language.