Lebanon News

Shatah’s family and friends start AUB scholarship

File - From left, Nina, Omar and Ronnie Shatah and former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora attend a commemoration ceremony for slain former Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah in Beirut, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut Wednesday announced the establishment of the Dr. Mohammad Shatah Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will support students from north Lebanon.

The fund – the brainchild of the family and friends of the slain minister and prominent economist – aims to help students from the underprivileged north who seek studies in economics, political studies and public administration.

A former Lebanese ambassador to the United States and a former Cabinet minister, Shatah was assassinated in a bombing in Downtown Beirut on Dec. 27, 2013.

Hailing from the northern city of Tripoli, Shatah graduated with a BA in Economics from AUB in 1974 and then continued his studies in the U.S. and graduated in 1983 with a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas.

He worked at the International Monetary Fund, where he held several positions including adviser on external communication as well as alternate executive director for the Middle East.

“He was an especially astute observer of Lebanese politics and advised many of Lebanon’s leading politicians including former Prime Ministers Fouad Siniora and Saad Hariri,” AUB said in a statement.

“We are deeply honored,” AUB President Peter Dorman added, “that Dr. Shatah’s family and friends have chosen to honor our alumnus and his extraordinary life, legacy, and memory by establishing an endowed scholarship fund in his name.”

“It is one of our top priorities to ensure that all those who merit entry to AUB are not barred by financial constraints.”

Former AUB faculty member Nadim Munla said an endowed scholarship fund was an especially appropriate memorial for his good friend and former classmate.

“Mohammad was a firm believer in knowledge, education and critical thinking. We hope this scholarship will be a modest contribution to his values.”

Shatah’s wife, Nina, thanked AUB for allowing the family to continue her husband’s vision for the country.

“On behalf of our entire family, I am deeply thankful to all who worked and contributed to establishing the endowed scholarship fund,” she said. “Through your support, we will be able to realize the potential of students from the north, and carry on Mohammad’s vision of a better Lebanon. I know that Mohammad is looking upon all of us with great pride, in particular to AUB for being the unwavering source of optimism for our country.”

Shatah, whose two sons survive him, was seen as a voice of moderation in Lebanon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 17, 2014, on page 4.




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