AUB head says Paphos campus key to global outlook

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Cyprus beat 15 other countries as the most suitable to host the American University of Beirut’s first overseas campus, the president of the world-renowned institution said.

It’s part of the university’s expansion plan initiated in 2018 but expedited following the catastrophic Beirut port explosion in August 2020.

President Fadlo R. Khuri told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that Cyprus came out on top because of a string of comparative advantages, including European Union membership, a high degree of academic freedom, political and economic stability and close proximity to Lebanon.

Khuri was on hand last week in Paphos for a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the 158-year-old university’s twin campus that will be called the American University of Beirut – Mediterraneo.

Khuri said the university’s westward expansion was less about Lebanon’s deeply-rooted instability that threatens the country with collapse and more with its vision to extend the institution’s outreach to the “many who desire the unique educational experience.”

“I cannot stress enough that the American University of Beirut, which has a long history of offering our finest service to Lebanon in the most profound crises, will remain deeply rooted in Lebanon and continue operating its flagship Beirut campus, no matter what happens,” Khuri said.

Despite the disasters and wars that have befallen Lebanon in recent decades, Khuri said the university has persevered, “and no one with even a casual knowledge of our history and legacy of service should doubt that we will continue to do so.”

“Our plan is exactly that, to flourish globally while staying in Beirut for many centuries to come.”

The Paphos campus will be built in three phases, with the first being completed early next year for €32 mln.

The campus will initially host 800-1,200 students and eventually as many as 2,500 when all three construction phases are completed.

It will initially offer five undergraduate degrees and two M.A. programs in philosophy, politics, economics, psychology, computer science, business administration and industrial engineering.

Classes will begin this autumn in accommodation offered by Paphos municipality before the first phase of the campus is finished.

So far, 500 applicants from countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Poland, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Germany have applied.

The deadline is June 30. Khuri said tuition would be on par with that of the Beirut campus.

“Going global is the main objective for expanding to Cyprus”. (source AP)