BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman said Tuesday Lebanon had paid the price of enjoying a democratic system for decades and stressed the need to preserve the country’s stability amid the Arab Spring.
“Our country has for more than six decades suffered from the blessings of democracy which made it the subject of envy and exposed it to crises threatening its existence and entity,” Sleiman said.
For that reason, he went on to say, “we must not sacrifice our stability for the sake of the Arab Spring.”
Sleiman spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the AUB Medical Center's new Academic and Clinical Center.
The president applauded the university on its initiative.
“We congratulate the university on its new center,” Sleiman said.
“We are proud to see the educated Arab generation graduating from this university,” he said at the ceremony held at AUB’s Issam Fares Hall.
The new building – located on Maamari Street facing Saab’s medical library – will include psychiatry, oncology, ophthalmology and pain management centers as well as a number of other new clinics and education spaces.
It is part of the university’s plan to become an even larger medical presence in Lebanon and the Middle East. Currently AUBMC is considered one of the leading hospitals in the region.
“Lebanon was renowned, before the winds of [sectarian] conflict blew, for being the university and the hospital of the Middle East and will remain so, thanks to those who are aware of Lebanon’s role,” Sleiman said.
Following his speech, Sleiman and university representatives laid the cornerstone of the new complex that is expected to be completed by 2015.