Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) hosted Dr. Siva Kumari, Director General of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), and Dr. Mary Tadros, Development and Recognition Manager for the IBO in the Middle East, for a day meeting with various schools and IB alums on NDU’s campus. Representatives from over 50 schools across Lebanon met with the IBO members to discuss how to add the IB to their curriculum, along with the benefits and experiences of schools who had already implemented it.
NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem, opened the event by welcoming Dr. Kumari, Dr. Tadros, and the school representatives. Fr. Najem highlighted parallels between the IB and NDU’s approach to education: “We are both committed to fostering intellectual curiosity, emotional understanding, and a strong sense of community.” He went on to discuss the importance of education, saying that the highest investment with the best returns in the Middle East is education.
NDU’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Elie Badr, and then gave a brief overview of NDU’s position in Lebanese education. Dr. Badr called attention to the quality of education that NDU provides, particularly in light of its accreditation by the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE). He also went through the various forms of financial aid that NDU provides, and the frozen tuition fees which help keep the value of NDU education exceptional.
Following Dr. Badr, Dr. Nabil K. Costa, Chief Executive Officer of the Lebanese Society for Educational & Social Development (LSESD) and General Secretary of the Association of Evangelical Schools, Lebanon (AESL) spoke saying that he was happy about the budding relationship with NDU. He then introduced Drs. Kumari and Tadros, before opening the floor for the various school representatives to introduce themselves.
Dr. Kumari spoke next echoing Fr. Pierre’s sentiments. She stressed the importance of education in any country, saying that every dollar invested in education returns five dollars on average. Speaking on the IB, Dr. Kumari discussed its aims of forming an international community that bridges gaps between cultures with a shared experience that is nevertheless tailored to the culture in which it is taught.
Dr. Tadros thanked NDU for reaching out, and spoke to the quality of education on campus. She reflected more broadly on education in Lebanon, and how hard educators work to ensure their students are well prepared for life after school.
The session with the school representatives was followed with a short tour of the NDU campus, before a panel with IB alums at NDU.
Discussion between the representatives and the old IB students flowed freely, with topics ranging from reminiscences over the various projects that students undertook over the course of their degree, to changes made to the IB since the attending students joined. In particular, the interscholastic sense of community fostered by the IB was brought up, and along with it the possibility of establishing an IB group at NDU.
These meetings help further NDU’s position as a mediator across all elements of education in Lebanon.