Officials at Lebanese American University (LAU) have just wrapped up a nearly 10,000-mile journey across North America this month as a way to invigorate the university’s alumni and create awareness of LAU in the United States and Canada.
This sojourn, known as Yalla! 2010 (“Yalla” is an Arabic word meaning “let’s go”), took LAU’s Vice President for University Advancement Richard Rumsey and Director of Alumni for North America Edward Shiner, to LAU alumni-sponsored events in ten cities across the continent in just over two weeks.
“We had a genuine opportunity to connect with hundreds of alumni and friends of LAU from all over North America and truly understand and respect what a global institution we are,” Rumsey said. “That really was our main goal for Yalla and by every measure it turned out to be an overwhelming success.”
Yalla! 2010 was such a galvanizing event, in fact, that that it sparked New York-based LAU alum Khalil Kanaan to provide a generous gift that he is using as a “challenge grant” to help spur on other alumni of the university to give in support of scholarship programs during the rest of the year.
Kanaan said that he was impressed with the Yalla campaign and wanted to continue its momentum while investing in education. “It is something that I truly believe in and I hope others will join me,” he said.
Yalla! 2010 was extensively chronicled on its own blog (www.yalla2010.com) as well as the university’s various social media platforms where visitors could see photos, watch videos and read entries to keep up with each event. Additionally, some of the events were attended by LAU’s Beirut-based Director of Alumni Abdullah Al-Khal and university president Dr. Joseph Jabbra.
Rumsey said that he was pleased with the level of excitement and awareness LAU and its alumni and friends in North America were able to generate with this series of events.
“We’re looking forward to that energy carrying over into the campaign for the rest of the year,” he noted.
Lebanese American University (LAU) dates back to 1835 when it was established in Beirut as the American School for Girls. Today LAU is a non-profit, co-educational, private university accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges offering graduate and undergraduate degrees of study in seven academic schools housed on two campuses in Beirut and Byblos, Lebanon.