ABLE Initiative

“ABLE initiative is our way of raising the bar of ensuring equal access and inclusion for everyone." - Dr. Yousif Asfour, CIO of AUB

Our Story

“We believe that NO ONE should be excluded from an education because of a lack of accessibility” - Dr. Fadlo Khuri, President of AUB.


Who We Are

ABLE (Accessibility for a Bolder Learning Experience), is an initiative by the Office of Information Technology (IT) in collaboration with the Student Affairs Accessible Education Office (AEO) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) to open the doors of higher education for all through digital accessibility.

ABLE Story

ABLE started as a dream inside the American University of Beirut (AUB) Information Technology (IT) offices and kept growing until the dream materialized and crossed AUB walls to achieve, national, regional and international reach. "Special needs or not, equal access is your right" - ABLE Team.

Outcomes of Our First Summit

ABLE’s ripple effect started, the event created an awareness wave and connected effective affiliations. ABLE also put Lebanon on the map of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2019. Multiple capacity building efforts started and new affiliations such as REACH (Research for Education Accessibility Challenges) took place.

Success Stories

ABLE helped connect special needs students with the administration to support enrollment and fostered 3 innovative students’ projects (Automated Braille-Encoder, Mappable (campus accessibility navigation guide), Accessibility Web Engine (AWE)). ABLE today aims to have new success stories after Dr. Bassam Farah, Rima Kaddoura and Lama Joudieh.

About Us

ABLE aims at increasing the retention and success rates of students with disabilities and to support their readiness for life after university by developing and deploying accessibility to campus-wide IT resources.

ABLE scope covers assistive technologies (A.T), learning content, services, resources, policies, inclusive IT support, collaboration platforms, IT facilities and learning spaces.

The ABLE initiative includes, but not limited to:


The Accessibility for a Bolder Learning Experience (ABLE) Summit annual event.

A national joint project to implement digital accessibility in higher education with a consortium of universities, governmental and nongovernmental entities.

Implementing Digital Accessibility at the American University of Beirut (AUB).

ABLE Initiative Activities

Take part in the activities under the ABLE initiative. These activities are independent of the ABLE Summit, and each have independent scheduled dates.

Digital Inclusion In The MENA Region Today And Tomorrow-Bread&Net2020

Friday, December 4 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm• Hosted Online

This session will introduce the concept of digital inclusion, highlight its applications, international laws, frameworks and steps to start the accessibility journey. It will also address the challenges in implementing digital accessibility including the language barrier and language dependent solutions while the world shifted to remote learning and operating in an unforeseen leap, quick fixes and resources to learn will be highlighted.

More Info



    1. Maha Zouwayhed :Accessibility Advocate and Leader of the ABLE initiative at AUB
    2. Shadi Abou Zahr Accessibility Strategy and Technology Specialist at W3C, Austria.
    3. Ahmed Elhefnawy : Assistant Professor of Educational Technology & Digital Accessibility Consultant & Trainer at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.
    4. Achraf OTHMAN : Head of ICT Accessibility Research and Innovation Section at Mada Center.

The expected outcome is:

· Awareness about digital inclusion

· International frameworks

· Governance needed for: public communication, remote work and education

· Challenges and potential mitigations

· Implementation, resources and starter tip

Targeted audience: Technologists in the MENA region, internet gov activists and lawyers, decision makers in education and public service

Online Teaching and Learning Accessibility - GAAD

May 27, 2020, American University of Beirut, LB

An online panel discussion by the office of Information Technology (IT) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) to mark the 9th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

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Invited panelists:

    1. Rabih Baalbaki - President at Lebanese Association for IT Professionals, Board Member at PCA, Edtech & Innovation at DT Network. A key player in forming the “Distance Learning” strategic plan in Lebanon.
    2. Myles Pilling - Council Member at British Assistive Technology Association (BATA)
    3. Jeremy Seda (NIC) - IT Accessibility Coordinator at North Idaho College, a member in Educause IT Accessibility Group
    4. Rami Farran: Director - Academic IT at American University of Beirut

The expected outcome is:

- An introduction to digital accessibility and inclusive online education
- An overview of leading practices
- A sketch view of the status in Lebanon
- Pointers to get started and resources improve

Targeted audience: educators, course designers, educational institutions IT professionals and executives as well as governmental and nongovernmental accessibility activists

Tell the world what you are doing to mark GAAD. Post on ABLE or GAAD Facebook or tweet and use #gaad and #ABLESummit hashtags.



Research for Education Accessibility Challenges - REACH

Jan 16-17, 2020, West Hall, Bathish Auditorium, AUB

The first edition of the international conference REACH organized by T.I.E.S in partnership with the American University of Beirut (AUB) invites researchers and practitioners to reflect broadly on the opportunities and challenges associated with the implementation of inclusive education within educational systems.

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Thematic fields:

The thematic fields are based on the recent Guide to Inclusion and Equity in Education (UNESCO, 2017):

  • Concepts
  • Policy Declarations
  • Structures and systems
  • Practices

Conference objectives

The aim of this conference is to:

  • clarify basic concepts and principles related to inclusive education;
  • question the relevance of the concepts to local realities, and enrich or adapt this conceptual field accordingly;
  • analyze the legal and regulatory framework related to inclusive education in order to propose adaptations or modifications;
  • identify the issues and challenges of the transition from segregated to inclusive education;
  • define the role of technology in inclusive education;
  • develop priorities for inclusive practice;
  • collect data related to the reality and needs of education stakeholders.


Inclusive Recruitment Workshop

December 12, 2019, American University of Beirut, LB

By ProAbled (Samer Sfeir and Chimene Hadshity) in collaboration with the Human Resources and Information Technology departments at AUB

For more information about Inclusive Recruitment, please go to:

More Info

Training Methodology:

Our team of trainers provides sessions and workshops following international standards using an interactive and simulation approach

Training Structure:

  1. Overview on disabilities
  2. Economical and HR Benefits of being an inclusive company
  3. Inclusive recruitment techniques for persons with disabilities (visual, hearing, mobility)
  4. Tips and techniques to interact with persons with disabilities

Demonstrated Outcomes:

  • Acquiring knowledge about disabilities
  • Building inclusive recruitment skills
  • Recruiting persons with disabilities
  • Becoming an inclusive company compliant with the UN convention and SDGs
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