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The College's Vision

Howard Bliss Photo Collection 2.jpg

Portrait of Howard Bliss, ca. 1919, Archives and Special Collections, Jafet Library, AUB

In an address given in 1914, entitled "Our College and the War", President Howard Bliss had already summarized the path the College chose for itself during the war. By the end of the War, his words could not ring more truly, describing the overall stand that the College had adopted throughout the war: "The attitude of the College towards war that is now raging in Europe should be determined by two considerations: in the first place, while the College has been established to provide a sound and useful education to the youth of the Near East without respect to nationality, race or religion, and is thus an institution international in its sympathies and the range of its activities, it is nevertheless American in its origin and in its support. As such, the College is in honor bound to observe, both in spirit and in the letter, in this war the strict neutrality which President Wilson, as the Chief Magistrate of the US of America, has enjoined in his special Message to his fellow citizens. [...] But the observance of such neutrality does not comprise the whole, or indeed, the chief duty of a college like ours in this crisis in the world's history. For there is something negative and cold, something aloof and irresponsible in this word neutrality and indeed in the thing itself."."[...] But in view of these unparalleled events that are plunging the world into suffering and loss, the times impose a still more difficult task, the obligation to study more profoundly than before the structure of society, the foundations of government, the basis of patriotism, the meaning of civilization. And not only must the precepts of philosophy and the teachings of history be reviewed, more time must be spent on these teachigns and precepts. Moreover, all this study and all this reflection must be in the interest not of an academic formula, but of a vital apprehension of truth that leads to wise and energetic action."

Howard Bliss, "Our College and the War", Al Kulliyah, November 1914 , v.6, no. 1, 1, AUB Archives.