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April 28, 2009
Beirut’s American University preaches tolerance, democracy

The American University of Beirut is an oasis in the Middle East, a place where diversity of opinion and freedom of thought is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Worldfocus correspondent Kristen Gillespie reports from a college campus that promotes a radical idea in the Middle East: free speech and democracy.




It is great seeing a week long series of reports about a wonderful place on Earth. Lebanon is my birth place and I miss it dearly. Living far from home, as do many who have been displaced over the years, I always remember the best of my experiences there. If you show ‘life goes on’ in your reports it will help many in your viewing audience see how Lebanese are recovering and looking forward to a better future and achieving higher. The people have loved life and existed there with high religious tolerence for aged. If the reports cover more of the ancient history of Lebanon, it will convey far more the relavant role that Lebanese have in the region and the world. Dr Raed Fawaz, President of the Orange County Dental Society, California


Thank you for reporting on this story. I am an AUB Alumna. AUB is a true a microcosm of the Lebanese society with the religious diversity and all its implications. You have captured that through the stories of these students.


An “oasis”?


But what is tne nature and history of
the “desert” surrounding the “oasis”?

Yet it is true that there are many people here who will make varying exemplary differences in their own lives and this will be and remain well and the history of this university may continue to provide examples which will continue to serve as exempla…but to make permanent or even long enduring changes in the minds and hearts of others may, though well worth the effort in trying: never see full completion in one’s own lifetime (except, perhaps, at the incipient stages of periodic completions which would resemble plateaus by nature for further developments in thinking later on)…an idea which might remind one of the word “history (externally and internally) ” as I have used it here.

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