May 21-25, 2019 – Three of Notre Dame University-Louaize’s (NDU) English Literature students, Lara Ballout, Rita Farah, and Maria Sfeir, attended the 14th International Student Byron Conference with their instructor, Dr. Naji Oueijan, Professor at the Department of English and Translation – Faculty of Humanities. The Messolonghi Byron Society organized the conference at the Byron Research Center in Messolonghi, Greece. The International Association of Byron Societies (IABS), jointly Chaired by Dr. Oueijan, provided the three students with grants to cover parts of their conference expenses, air, and ground transportation. The conference included students and their instructors from Greece, England, USA, Italy, Ireland, Japan and Lebanon. They all presented research papers related to the famous British poet, Lord Byron, and his revolutionary aspirations. As usual, NDU students’ research presentations were listed as being among the best, serving as a testament of NDU’s high academic standards.
NDU always strives to maintain an international outlook across all disciplines, and conferences like these give students in the Humanities a taste of academic life beyond university.
Below are impressions of two of the attending students, Maria Sfeir and Rita Farah:
Going to Messolonghi and attending the 14th International Student Byron Conference gave me the opportunity to practice what I have been taught in classrooms on a broader scale. It gave me a sneak peek into the world of scholars, to the professionalism of presenting papers at conferences and listening to others, to the unique and ever fruitful information bubble built from merging ideas that have been forwarded through the proceedings of the conference. Meeting students from varied international backgrounds as well as professional scholars allowed me the distinct opportunity to broaden my horizons. The trip was delightful culturally and academically; our stay at Messolonghi involved visiting famous historical sites and getting to know the Greek culture better. The trip, indeed, challenged and helped me build up a better character, and I am deeply thankful to both NDU and to Professor Naji Oueijan for providing me and my colleagues with this enriching opportunity.
Ms. Rita Farah:
The 14th International Student Byron Conference in Messolonghi, has been an unexpected treasure. The Greek history, nature and culture resemble ours to the extent that you can spot Lebanon in every detail. The conference was the ultimate surprise. The professors, as well as the international students, read their papers, and bonded over cultural and academic activities. The value of such a conference stemmed from its warm educational atmosphere. Professor Naji Oueijan, as well as the other professors, treated us students with great care and encouraged us to work harder to achieve our dreams. The experience the trip has endowed me with is unforgettable: the new acquaintances I have made come from all over the world and each person is unique in his or her own way. I thank professor Oueijan for helping me believe in my abilities and giving me the opportunity to travel, so that I can represent my university NDU on an international scale.