Lebanese Education Minister briefs EDU Secretary-General on importance of Liberal Education
H.E. Irving Levance met with Lebanon’s impressive Minister of Education and Higher Education, Professor Hassan B. Diab, who is the embodiment of successful outcome of an internationally diverse education.
The man responsible for guiding Lebanese education policy completed his tertiary education in the UK. He earned his Bachelor of Science (with Honours) in Communications Engineering from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1981, his Master of Science (with Distinction) in Systems Engineering from the University of Surrey in 1982 and his Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Engineering from the University of Bath in 1985.
He is a registered Chartered Engineer in the Engineering Council, UK, and a registered Chartered Professional Engineer in the National Professional Engineers Register, Australia. Dr. Diab is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon. He is widely published internationally, with over 120 publications in peer reviewed journals and conferences.
Dr. Diab has an impressive pedigree in the development and administration of quality education. He is an external reviewer for the Oman Accreditation Council charged with assisting in the development of the Omani higher education sector through institutional quality audits and accreditation processes and served as the Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at the American University of Beirut (AUB) .
He was also a member of the team which successfully secured institutional accreditation for AUB by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The AUB is proudly ranked as the top university in Lebanon as well as being recognized as the top American University located outside the US.
Despite his pure science engineering background, Professor Diab is an advocate of the value of Liberal Education because he believes that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest.
In his opinion, a Liberal Education program prepares students to be able to:
make connections across disciplines.
develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.
develop an understanding of culture and the connections between themselves and others in relation to physical, historical, social, and global contexts.
Professor Diab stressed to the Secretary-General (who agreed wholeheartedly) his belief that “Critical Thinking” (the ability to define, analyze, and synthesize) and “Practical Application of Knowledge” are major elements of effective education programs.
This policy is pursued in Lebanon, especially at the American University of Beirut that integrated about 30 credits in all BS/BA degrees to represent the general education component.
Lebanon boasts a robust education sector with a healthy mix of public and private education at primary, secondary, intermediate and tertiary levels. Internationally credible accreditation is a high priority since the high quality of education in Lebanon is not matched by local employment opportunities. This leads to many highly educated Lebanese nationals seeking employment abroad.
H.E. Irving Levance thanked Professor Hassan B. Diab for the excellence and clarity of his briefing.