The American University of Beirut’s Mediterranean campus, known as AUB – Mediterraneo, was officially inaugurated at the Paphos Innovation Centre.
The event was attended by the Ministers of Education of Cyprus and Lebanon, The US Ambassador, and the Paphos Mayor.
“The establishment of AUB – Mediterraneo in Paphos is a significant step forward in our collective pursuit of excellence in education”, said Education Minister Athena Michaelidou.
“It will empower our students to explore, question and contribute to advancing knowledge and understanding.”
She argued that higher education in Cyprus has made tremendous progress over the recent years and continues to develop with the establishment of new higher education institutions.
“Our commitment to academic excellence and the provision of high-quality higher education leads to establishing more universities, establishing Cyprus as a regional and an international educational, technological and research centre of excellence”.
She added that the opening of new universities contributes to the further enhancement of the economy.
“This momentous occasion marks a culmination of dedication, collaboration and a shared vision for education that transcends borders”.
The AUB-Mediterraneo is the first satellite campus of the University outside Lebanon.
“A rich legacy spanning over 157 years has influenced the life of thousands of students and left its mark based on its global reputation as an academic institution,” Michaelidou.
US Ambassador Julie D. Fisher expressed the United States “deep pride in the exceptional bilateral relationship” with Cyprus, characterising it as a cornerstone for stability, prosperity, and democracy in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader global context.
The Ambassador underscored the significance of people-to-people connections between the United States and Cyprus, highlighting their foundational role in achieving shared security and prosperity and promoting common values.
She reaffirmed the enduring partnership between the United States and the AUB, praising the university as a regional model and a beacon of American values and educational standards.
President of AUB Fadlo R. Khuri reflected on the significance of this new chapter in AUB’s history.
“The steps we took 17 months ago to sign the agreement with the Municipality of Paphos, to lay the foundation stone in the presence of the current and previous Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus, and to inaugurate today our university with our first cohort of 45 undergraduate and eight graduate students, are steps that I am confident will stand the test of time”.
Khuri highlighted the pursuit of “Arête,” a concept representing excellence in ancient Greece, as a central theme for AUB Mediterraneo.
He noted that excellence, driven by a commitment to the greater good, is deeply rooted in AUB’s history and culture.
As he said, the university has consistently sought to positively impact society, noting the “heroic performance” of its medical centre staff during crises.
He cited research indicating that a strong university presence is associated with pro-democratic attitudes and the diversification of economies.
He also referred to the common challenges facing Lebanon, Cyprus, and neighbouring nations in retaining their best and brightest youth and addressing societal and economic imbalances and elements of social strife that endanger the region’s stability.
“The establishment of the American University of Beirut Mediterraneo is considered an opportunity to advance the educational level of our wider region,” Paphos Mayor, Phedon Phedonos.
He noted that university education has always been considered “vital to our progress and even existence” in this “troubled region” where many people have been forced to migrate over the past century.
“The lesson of this timeless reality is that we must invest much more in education and training.”
“The aim is to turn Paphos into a regional hub of university education and business activity.”
Phedonos said four major technology companies have moved to Paphos this year.