H.E. Mr. Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon, and Second Secretary, Ms. Minami Kunitomo, visited the Main Campus of Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) where they met with NDU President, Fr. Bechara Khoury, to discuss the impediments to higher education in Lebanon and the steps necessary to move forward.
The Ambassador gave a brief of the Japanese Embassy’s aim to support NDU in its efforts to build a new generation of leaders in Lebanon. He spoke with hope, comparing the complex history of the country with that of Japan. Between wars and economic struggles, Japan was able to achieve prosperity despite the hurdles and hardships, and it is Ambassador Okubo’s conviction that Lebanon will similarly overcome these challenging times.
“We are here for an exchange of views,” said H.E. of his visit, “to form future-oriented goals and a bridging of nations.” The Ambassador continued: “Together, we can start a new page, a new chapter. We have many ideas to devise and discuss . . . for the sake of the youth, of this new generation.”
The mutual understanding of forming a foundation from which NDU’s student body and Lebanese youth can derive a sense of fulfillment and pride in their work and achievements is a testimony to the necessity of solidarity between institutions and nations, a solidarity at the heart of NDU’s mission as a university.
Fr. Khoury likewise shared his thoughts, emphasizing the University as a source of education and culture beyond campus walls. “We are starting to offer our services and facilities to our immediate communities,” said the President, giving the example of the NDU Observatory, “Communities and families who do not have the means to engage in culture and science are able to access this facility, and this is only a small example of how we can use our resources for the good of the future.”
The meeting portrayed a shared respect and attitude towards educational development, a framework that will hopefully generate further connections between NDU and the Government of Japan.
In the presence of Ambassador Okubo and Secretary Ms. Minami were Vice President for Administration and Finance (VPAF,) Abbot Semaan Abou Abdo, Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA,) Dr. Michel El Hayek, Assistant Vice President for Academic Support, Dr. Simon Abou Jaoude, Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Ghazi Asmar, Director for Public Affairs and Protocol, Mr. Majed Bou Hadir, Assistant Director for Public Affairs and Protocol, Ms. Joceline Jade, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences (FNAS,) Dr. George Eid, FNAS Professor, Dr. Bassem Sabra, and Professor at the Ramez G. Chagoury Faculty of Architecture, Arts and Design (FAAD,) Dr. Hani Zgheib.