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Secretary Spellings Delivers Keynote Address at Lebanese American University Board of Trustees Meeting


Highlights the U.S. Government’s support for Higher Education in the Middle East

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today delivered remarks at the Lebanese American University Board of Trustees meeting. Secretary Spellings noted the accomplishments of the Lebanese American University and other U.S.-chartered institutions abroad. Secretary Spellings also discussed historic U.S. support for these institutions and the potential of international education to build lasting relationships between the United States and the Middle East.

Joined by Ambassador Antoine Chedid, Lebanese Ambassador to the United States; Joseph Jabbra, President of the Lebanese American University and George Faris, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Secretary Spellings commended the Lebanese American University on their record enrollment this year of approximately 6,800 students and on their innovative spirit. “The Lebanese American University demonstrates the transformative role that higher education institutions can play in bringing students of diverse cultures together in the common cause of seeking truth and knowledge; LAU looks like our changing world,” said Secretary Spellings.

The Bush Administration’s support for American chartered institutions like LAU is part of an historical commitment to the people of Lebanon and the broader Middle East. In recent years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has increased funding for LAU alone from $1.02 million in 1997 to $4.2 million in 2007. “Funding for the Lebanese American University is part of our broader support for American-chartered institutions in the Middle East, including the American University of Beirut, the American University of Cairo and the American University of Sharjah,” remarked Secretary Spellings.

Secretary Spellings announced she will co-host a Higher Education Summit for Global Development with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and USAID Administrator Fore at the end of April. “International education encourages students and higher learning institutions around the world to engage in dialogue to enhance regional development strategies and collaborate on global challenges. This summit is a great opportunity for US and Foreign Institutions of higher education to discover innovative ways of collaboration in teaching, training, research and addressing the needs of the developing world,” said Secretary Spellings.

Since becoming the U.S. Secretary of Education, Secretary Spellings has worked to emphasize the importance of international education and to increase the number of student exchanges with the United States. Secretary Spellings has traveled to 5 countries with 19 college presidents to encourage students to study in the United States and has participated in discussions on how to best leverage partnerships to increase academic collaboration.

“Both at home and abroad, the quality of education we deliver is a key determinant of the future we can expect; it’s central to peace, civic participation and prosperity.”


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