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Enrollment Rises at a Cost: inflation and regional Unrest

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Statistics of Students 1940-1942

Annual Report of the President of the American University of Beirut, 1942-1943, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library


Record enrollment

"It was impossible to limit the enrollment by a system of preliminary registration, as the posts and telegraphs were naturally upset by the Summer's campaign. Furthermore, the arrival of the British army created a desire for Anglo-Saxon education, so that the institution was flooded by applicants at registration time. The enrollment for the seventy-fifth anniversary was therefore a record breaking one."

"President Bayard Dodge reported in a letter dated February 10, that the total registration of the American University and International College was then 1,992."

Reports of 1941-1942, Near East Service Quarterly, V3, NO 3, October, 1941. In AA2. DODGE/BOX 4



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Statistics for the school of Medicine showing rising expenses and inflation

Annual Report of the President of the American University of Beirut, 1942-1943, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library


No books! Making do with what we have!

"We are opening next Wednesday, and it looks as though there would be a large enrollment. However, in spite of all the optimistic talk last July, none of the American orders were confirmed, so we shall have to get along as best we can without books and other essential materials. That, of course, is a matter of no importance to the President or the Treasurer, so long as tuition fees are paid."

William West Collection, Letter to his family, dated September 28, 1941





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Refugees flock to the region and to campus: "Defense Passive" Report:

Sundry Reports and Minutes, 1919-194, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

Social unrest: strikes and Turmoil in Damascus and Beirut

"The bottom fell out of Puaux’s tenuous social order upon the arrival of his successor, the pro-Vichy General Henri Dentz, in December 1940. More than fifty thousand workers were unemployed in Damascus alone, and breadlines grew long. The cost of living had doubled since the war’s start, without comparable pay raises. The first hunger marches took place in January 1941, in Damascus and Aleppo. In February, the Syrian nationalist leader Shukri Quwwatli seized leadership of protests against unemployment, high prices, and shortages, and organized a shopkeepers’ strike that spread to all of Syria’s major cities. In the face of French tanks and mass arrests, the strikes spread to Lebanon’s cities in March, some of them organized by the few labor leaders not yet jailed. Nationalist leaders used the threat of continued strikes to oust Vichy’s puppet governments and lower bread prices."

Thompson, Elizabeth, and Steven Heydemann. “The Climax and Crisis of the Colonial Welfare State in Syria and Lebanon during World War II.” War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East, 1st ed., University of California Press, 2000, pp. 59–99,