Today my blog will discuss two mission statements from two reputable universities from a similar part of the world. The first one is American University of Beirut (AUB) where I did my undergraduate and masters studies, and the second one is the American University Dubai (AUD).
AUB is a private, non-sectarian university with a closed campus located in Beirut, Lebanon, my home county, viewing the Mediterranean sea. It’s mission statement goes as follows: “The American University of Beirut (AUB) is an institution of higher learning founded to provide excellence in education, to participate in the advancement of knowledge through research, and to serve the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. Chartered in New York State in 1863, the university bases its educational philosophy, standards, and practices on the American liberal arts model of higher education. The university believes deeply in and encourages freedom of thought and expression and seeks to foster tolerance and respect for diversity and dialogue.Graduates will be individuals committed to creative and critical thinking, life-long learning, personal integrity, civic responsibility, and leadership”. AUB was established in 1866 and has always been considered among the most prestigious universities ii n the middle east. As a matter of fact, it is ranked top one according to the QS World University Rankings.
Having spent 6 years as both an undergraduate and a graduate student at AUB, I really admire how accurate this mission statement is in describing the university work. I can truly relate to most of the words said in that mission statement. The three major focus in this mission relates to knowledge and research, freedom of thought and diversity, and civic responsibility. Although research and knowledge are two of the most common words used in the mission statements globally, as posted by Julián David Cortés-Sánchez in his article, AUB nonetheless thrive to keep research going in all fields. The faculty tries to establish collaboration and connections with different parts of the world and tries to secure funding to the majority of students to participate in conferences/workshop/abroad studies. This applies to undergraduate students too, in a smaller scale. However, personally, what I admire about AUB most is the second focus of the mission statement, its diversity and freedom of thought. Few of you might know that Lebanon is a highly diverse country, it is a very small country (might be smaller than a state in the US) with 18 different religion living together. AUB students come from all regions and sects and they are all welcome to express their religious beliefs and traditions with ultimate respect inside the campus. Additionally, students are allowed to protest against university laws and are presented by committee of students from different faculties. Every year, students are invited to participate in the students election to form student representative committee that meets with the dean and president on a regular basis, and serve as a connection between the students and the administration . The third goal of AUB’s mission is the civic responsibility, which is highly valued at AUB. Social work is very common in all fields, particularly engineering as far as I know. As engineers, we have two camps per year, located at different parts of Lebanon or other parts of the world to help build homes and shelters for refugee camps or poor villages, teach kids languages and sciences, and fulfill the desires of people in need. I might be a little biased when I say AUB does reflect its mission statement, or at least try to do that everyday.
The second mission statement I am talking about is as follows: “The Mission of the American University in Dubai is to serve as a culturally diverse learning community committed to the pursuit of knowledge through excellence in teaching and scholarly and creative endeavor, leading to students’ academic, personal and professional success, as well as the advancement of society”. This mission statement is for the American Diversity of Dubai (AUD) located in Dubai. I picked this statement to look for the differences with AUB. As both american universities, chartered in New York and located in the Arab world, the focus of their mission statement is surprisingly not that similar. AUD is also a private university, however opposing to what Julián David Cortés-Sánchez mentioned in his article that private schools focus more on teaching than on students, AUD’s mission focuses on both. It clearly mentions the goal for student academic and personal success, which is not very common with other missions. The focus to serve diverse people is common with AUB, as both accept students from all over the world, while AUB is located in a more religiously diverse country, AUD nonethless host people from different nationalities and is a work hub for different parts of the world. AUD does also mention the advancement of society and excellence in teaching in its mission statement, but it doesn’t mention research, a key word almost mentioned in every mission statement. Due to my lack of knowledge about AUD research focuses, I am not in a position to speak on how indulged AUD is in research. However, it seems AUD focuses more on the excellence of teaching provided to students and on students success to better prepare them to serve the society,rather than focusing on civic engagements activities society engagement activities. Although the focuses of statement between AUB and AUD are not entirely the same, they both are reputable universities with a clear focus on teaching excellence and knowledge and creating better creative individuals for the advancement of society.