President Jabbra leads delegation to Washington
Last month LAU President Joseph Jabbra, along with fellow university presidents Peter Dorman of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Lisa Anderson of the American University in Cairo (AUC), traveled to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for meetings with members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Departments of State and Education.
President Jabbra with Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly
The Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU), a leadership organization representing American institutions of higher education overseas, is currently headed by Dr. Jabbra and along with the assistance of LAU’s head of government affairs in the U.S. capital Jay Ghazal, the contingent of presidents made their case for the importance of American higher education in the changing Middle East.
“It is vitally important for legislators and government officials in the United States to understand that AAICU institutions are American universities and colleges in every way possible,” said President Jabbra. “The work that we do helps to represent the best of what America has to offer—the gold standard of higher education—all over the world and we want to make sure that we are heard.”
The contingent of presidents met with Sen. Patrick Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as other members of Congress who hold pivotal seats on relevant committees. The team also met with Tamra Halmrast-Sanchez, the new director of USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program, an important funder of every American institution operating overseas, and Jon C. Brause, Deputy Assistant Administrator in Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, another key agency for the institutions.
“The importance of getting to Washington and making the case for the work that our institutions are doing in the Middle East to these key individuals cannot be overstated,” said Jay Ghazal, LAU’s government relations consultant in Washington. “It means a lot to be able to sit with important members of Congress and the government and let them know face-to-face how vital our work is.”
Founded in 1971, AAICU member institutions educate thousands of students across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and also offer opportunities for American students to receive valuable cross-cultural experiences through education abroad. Like LAU, all AAICU institutions have strong roots in their respective host countries and typically enjoy wide recognition around the world.