Lebanon Education: Beirut Arab University

Beirut Arab University is well established in the forty school market and most schools aren’t as old as ours.  Beirut Arab University developed our curriculum every two or three years to match the requirement of the market to enable students to enter the job market with ease as well.  Further, I think it might be time to open another campus in Beirut.  I believe Beirut Arab University is doing quite well.

Nehale-Mostapha-Beirut-Arab-University.jpgInterview with Nehale Mostapha, Dean – Faculty of Commerce & Business Administration of Beirut Arab University

Dubai is trying to build a regional education hub and Abu Dhabi attracted some of the leading universities from Europe.  How is Lebanon special and what are the prospects of Lebanon becoming a regional hub for education?

Dubai and Qatar have been attracting a lot of big names in the world of education, for example, Cornell is in Qatar and American University is in Dubai.  But the difference is that Lebanon is a very old country that has had universities since the nineteenth century and Beirut Arab University is fifty years old as of this year and this is why it is different.

“Universities in Lebanon are deeply rooted in the

country and match the culture and recognize the

needs of the students and society.”

What would you say to anyone interested in education in Lebanon?

I would tell them that they are coming to a country where most of the people are highly educated.  I don’t think any other country can compete with our education rate and our intellectual capital and richness of the people is unique.  Lebanese people find a good market in all Gulf markets due to the quality of our people.  This is due to our old universities and the fact that most of the young people go to university.

How does Beirut Arab University maintain close relationships with companies and how important is business education for you?

We organize a lot of roundtables and conferences where different sectors collaborate with us to develop the skills of our students.  For example, we had a big conference sponsored by Bank Al Baraqa speaking about Islamic banking.  The purpose of this was to transfer knowledge from the banking sector to our students to prepare them to enter the sector.   We also organize lectures sponsored by the business sector related to communication skills, writing CVS, and interviews.  These skills are much more important than technical knowledge from books.  Banks also offer training courses for our students in the summer and this is very important to gain experience for their CV when they enter the job market.beirut-arab-university.jpg

What makes you unique and what advantages do you offer over your competitors in the market?

We are not the only school in the market but we are one of the oldest.  We have cooperations with Alexandria University in Egypt and this is a unique partnership in the Middle East.  We have professors cooperating to teach Lebanese and Egyptian students.  We have an alumni club too that has a vast network and a strong link to the community as well.  To cope with the market we moved from a traditional curriculum to a credit hour system and we offer ten faculties to chose from.

Can you tell us about the human rights center?

Its brand new and the launching was only two days ago. 

“The UN office for human rights is in Lebanon

and they coordinated the opening with us.”

It will spread the concept of human rights throughout Lebanese society and we introduced the human rights topic as a university requirement for all of our students. 

In terms of student enrollment are you full satisfied or do you feel like more can be done to attract students?

“We are actually attracting more students than

we can accommodate and because of this we have tests.

The school of business has 3500 students, for example.”

A lot of students apply to our university and we have opening a new campus in Beya and we are opening a branch in tripoli that will start in next fall as well.  Beirut Arab University of well established in the forty school market and most schools aren’t as old as ours.  We develop our curriculum every two or three years to match the requirement of the market to enable students to enter the job market with ease as well.  Further, I think it might be time to open another campus in Beirut.  I believe we are doing quite well.

Is international expansion something you are thinking about?

We will apply a new policy starting in the next academic year to attract foreign professors from developed countries to teach some courses here.  This year we had a Slovenian architecture professor and it was a very good experience for the students in terms of benefits. In the business school we are looking to open a tourism program in French and English to accommodate the market and we will find professors from French universities to help teach the program. 

Do you feel it is challenging to get these professors here?

No, many people welcome coming to Lebanon to teach our students.  Especially now that we have entered a period of political stability it makes things much easier due to increased tourism.

In the business school are you attracting corporate students?

In our MBA program we are trying to attract post-graduate students with professional experience.  Our program is only one year old but we have sixty students and most are Lebanese. Perhaps foreign students will come on an exchange but I believe the program will mostly cater to Lebanese and perhaps other Arab states. 

Which countries in the Arab market would you like to target?

I hope that I will be able to send my students to work in the Gulf area because there is a high demand on Lebanese students in banking and tourism.  My students are my product and I want to give them all of the skills needed to work in the banking sector and tourism sector in the Gulf.

How do you develop links with GCC companies?

There are some companies here in Lebanon working on this.  They prepare students and send them to the Gulf by working as the middleman to help fill the demand in the GCC with Lebanese graduates. 

What is your final message for the audience?

“At Beirut Arab University we are very proud that

are celebrating our fiftieth anniversary as one of the

most important universities in Lebanon with a good image.”

I believe we are serving the Lebanese community like we should be.

How would you like to values conveyed to the world and how would you like to improve this image?

We are working on accreditation and quality assurance.  All ten faculties are working on these two issues and once most of our programs are accredited and we meet our quality goals I think Beirut Arab University will be an international university.

Are you satisfied with the level of communication you do and the image you convey to the media?

Yes, I believe we need more media coverage because this is very important for the image of the whole country.  The strong the universities are then the country looks more favorable due to excellent human capital.

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