Fairuz in the News – June 2005
A FairuzOnline.com Exclusive!!

Beirut, Lebanon – For the first time ever, an honorary doctorate degree was bestowed to honor the voice and contributions of a singer.

On June 25, 2005 the American University of Beirut awarded honorary doctoral degrees to five prominent men and women from the Middle East, including Fairuz, whose angelic voice has united a people despite war, strife, and artificial borders.

In the crowded Assembly Hall, dignitaries, journalists, university personnel, and fans gathered to witness the honorary graduation ceremony. The applause grew loudest as Fairuz and the other honorees walked the red carpet to the stage, while many in attendance chanted “Fairuz, Fairuz!”. AUB President, Mr. John Waterbury, introduced the honorees in order of the Latin alphabet noting all of their distinguished accomplishments: “AUB stands for, indeed strives to enshrine, the values and virtues of integrity and honesty in all undertakings, recognition and rewards based on performance and conduct and nothing else, critical thinking and a questioning attitude, academic freedom, and education that respects the extraordinary legacy of human creativity. In awarding honorary doctorates, the AUB seeks individuals who embody those values and who have achieved international status and recognition because of them. The five individuals we honor today do more than exemplify these values; they have lived them throughout their professional lives. AUB is proud to grant them its Doctorate in Humane Letters.”

Mr. Waterbury introduced Fairuz in a speech including a history of the singer, and concluded with: “Ya Fairuz, hibbaynaki fi saif, hibbaynaki fi shiti. Rah nhabbik da’iman.”

In accepting her honorary degree, Fairuz chose a prepared statement delivered by Business School Dean George Najjar:

"We meet today to honor singing. Singing is the language of praying, adoration and love, the melody of togetherness and call of the right. I am honored that singing is celebrated in my person. I take this honor as being addressed to the cultures I celebrated, to the Lebanese and Arab public that surrounded me with their love. And I consider this degree equally addressed to the one who taught me and escorted me in my journey."

The American University of Beirut (AUB) has been awarding honorary degrees since 1890. Among the recipients of these degrees are: Founder Daniel Bliss, United Nations negotiator Lakhdar al-Ibrahimi, businessman Carlos Ghosn, novelist Amin Maalouf, professor Edward Said, journalists Helen Thomas and Peter Jennings, cellist YoYo Ma and mathematician Michael Atiyah.

Click here to read John Waterbury’s full speech on Fairuz.


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