BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut announced Wednesday the names of three international luminaries who will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at the university’s 145th commencement later this month.
This year’s recipients are Lebanese sculptor and painter Saloua Raouda Choucair, entrepreneur Samih Darwazah, who founded global enterprise Hikma Pharmaceuticals, and Yusuf Hannun, an award-winning molecular biologist and Director of Stony Brook University Cancer Center, according to a statement from the university. The commencement exercises are set to take place May 30.
Choucair, born in the Beirut neighborhood of Ain al-Mreisseh in 1916, is known for her complex sculptures of interlocking pieces that can be taken apart and re-ordered. She is also an accomplished painter, tapestry maker and jeweler and was awarded the National Council of Tourism Prize in 1963 for a stone sculpture she made in Beirut. She also received an appreciation prize from the General Union of Arab Painters in 1985 and a medal by the Lebanese government in 1988.
Samih Darwazah was born in Nablus in 1930, and has served as energy minister to Jordanian King Hussein, as a senator and as a member of the Advisory Economic Council. In 1978, Darwazah founded Hikma Pharmaceuticals, later expanding to operations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Europe and the United States. He has been awarded two honorary doctorates as well as the AUB Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Yusuf Hannun, born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian parents, is an award-winning molecular biologist, clinician and professor of medicine and has been leading the charge against cancer. He is director of Stony Brook University Cancer Center, vice dean for cancer medicine, Joel Kenny professor of medicine and professor of biochemistry and cell biology. He is the recipient of a Merit Award from the National Institute of Health, the Avanti Award for Lipid Research from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Kuwait Prize in Basic Sciences.