AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

AUB's Engagements: Civil and Foreign


Lebanese Village, ca. 1930s

Archives & Special Collections, Jafet Library, American University of Beirut

Conscious of its mission and its place in the region, the University engaged in sustained public service in rural areas across the region, mostly through the Civic Welfare League and the Institute for Rural Life:

"The Civic Welfare League interests large numbers of teachers and students in social work at Beirut. Not only are conditions studied, but a great deal of practical work for adults and children is also accomplished... During the summer vacations the Village Welfare work is carried on. In 1938 intensive work was done in fifteen villages near four main centers of Lebanon and Syria. 7,300 cases of sickness were given care, 240 children were enrolled in classes, adult education was provided for 85 people, and 37 girls were taught sewing and dressmaking. Twenty-five students also provided classes for 520 villagers in the region of Jaffa and Ramallah, in spite of the troubled state of the Plain of Sharon..."

Report of the President of the American University of Beirut for the Seventy-Third Year, 1938-1939: P. 11-12

The University also extended its services to the Foreign Consular Services of various nations which had a presence in the region, in particular for the teaching of Arabic to their civil servants:

"In reciprocal fashion the University has offered its facilities to foreign governments for the training of their consultative representatives in the Arabic language. Especially pleasant relations of this sort have been enjoyed with the British Consular Service, which by the end of the academic year 1938-1939, had sent some thirteen probationer Vice-Consuls to the University."

That They May Have Life; The story of the American University of Beirut 1866-1941. Published by the American University of Beirut: p. 284