Today, most students in Lebanon are graduating into a market that seems to hold neither a promise for their future nor a place for their knowledge, expertise, or youthful energy.
Despite the looming threat of futility, graduates in such unprecedented conditions must not despair and should actively use their energies to make Lebanon a better place for themselves and for their fellow Lebanese.
This is what Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra, the president of the Lebanese American University (LAU), stressed during his recent address to the university’s class of 2020 graduation roster.
Do not despair…
His advice comes after LAU postponed its on-campus 2020 commencement ceremonies indefinitely due to the safety risks posed by COVID-19, and amid threatening political, economic, fiscal, and monetary challenges in Lebanon.
“Your graduation from LAU, dear graduates, is taking place during a challenging period in the history of our beloved Lebanon. We have never experienced a gripping crisis like the one we are currently going through,” Dr. Jabbra said.
“…Under these difficult circumstances, you may be tempted to seek a better future outside Lebanon and emigrate to where fortune beckons,” he added, before offering his perspective on the now-hot topic of immigration.
“I urge you not to despair,” the educator advised. “Stay here and fight for a better Lebanon. Create career opportunities for yourselves and others. Lebanon needs refreshing youth and noble aspiration to become a better country.”
He stressed that Lebanese graduates should actively participate in “the creation of new Lebanon that is free of devastating dissension, divisive discrimination, destructive fanaticism, damaging gender inequality, and criminal corruption.”
Dr. Jabbra, who will conclude his 16 years as President of LAU by the end of September, emphasized that these aspirational goals cannot be realized until the rule of law “reignssupremely” and “qualifications and experience take precedence over ignorance and political servitude.”
While their homeland witnesses a severe economic meltdown, many Lebanese students and graduates are seeking to escape in search of stability.