Features | Discoveries
Published and Produced
By Barbara Rosica
Fall 2019/Winter 2020
Rise of the Phoenix, Raja Srour
Raja Srour (BS ’65, MD ’69) is both a highly successful cosmetic surgeon with his own practice in Los Angeles, California, and an accomplished artist. He reserves his artwork for private showings and auctions at charitable organizations where his paintings fetch prices in the high thousands. Rise of the Phoenix, painted in 1991, was inspired by the promise of a lasting peace. He writes, “I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of artistic creations as a harmonious symphony between ‘the scalpel and the brush.’”
Three artworks by the artist known as “g”.
George Maktabi (“g”) lives in Beirut, a city he loves. His art, which mixes modern and nostalgic images with street scenes, creates emotional narratives that are bold and painfully honest. He writes, “Behind every window, over every roof, and in every corner of my beloved Beirut there’s a story to be told.” Maktabi was in the advertising field for 20 years.
BRIDGE BETWEEN WORLDS: A LEBANESE-ARAB-AMERICAN WOMAN’S JOURNEY
Bridge between Worlds: A Lebanese-Arab-American Woman’s Journey by Hala Lababidi Buck (2019, New Academia Publishing/SCARITH) is a profound and inspiring memoir of the author’s journey to deepen her sense of belonging and home by integrating all of the elements of her multifaceted life. As a professional artist and integrative therapist born in Beirut, Lebanon, who is of mixed Muslim and Christian parentage, married to an American diplomat, and the mother of a “third culture” daughter, Lababidi Buck has both rich material and multimedia at her disposal. She tells her story with honesty, empathy, and humor through prose, poetry, and watercolors. Having learned how to navigate a transient life in seven Arab countries, West Africa, and Canada, she knows what it means to be a human bridge across cultures. Her book offers fresh perspectives and a timely message that diversity and unity need not be at odds.
YOU’RE NOT HERE
You’re Not Here by Tariq Mehmood (2018, Daraja Press) is a disturbing but ultimately uplifting love story that depicts the destruction that politics, religion, and ethnicity can inflict on relationships, families, communities, and countries. Bitter divisions engulf an English town where young Muslims oppose the British army’s presence in Afghanistan, while white youth condemn the Muslims as traitors. One brother goes missing in action in Afghanistan, while the other falls in love with an Afghan girl in England. The lovers fall apart. But far-off events and sinister forces at home bring the lovers together again in a journey in which they will not only discover themselves but also heal the wounds of their families and friends. You’re Not Here is the sequel to the award-winning novel You’re Not Proper.
MY NAKBA: A PALESTINIAN’S ODYSSEY OF LOVE AND HOPE
My Nakba: A Palestinian’s Odyssey of Love and Hope (2019, Olive Branch Press, Interlink Publishing) by Samir Toubassy (BBA ’62) is a poignant memoir of flight, searching, and achievement from a survivor whose aspirations were always tied in constructive ways to the fate of his homeland. Toubassy offers valuable life lessons and encouragement from his childhood recollections of the trauma of his family’s expulsion from their home in Jaffa in 1948 to a mature understanding of the continuing plight of Palestinians. Toubassy served as AUB’s budget director from 1967–76 and went on to build a far reaching and highly successful international business career, most prominently with the noted Olayan Group. He is currently a Harvard Advanced Leadership Senior Fellow, seeking to apply his experience to global education in the developing world.
BIBLE ENGAGEMENT: THE DISCOVERY OF FAITH, HOPE, AND SELF
Bible Engagement: The Discovery of Faith, Hope, and Self by Hrayr Jebejian (for more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org). Jebejian holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Bible Engagement from the New York Theological Seminary. His book is a scientific study of the impact of the message of the Good News on abused, lonely, and homesick migrant workers in the Gulf. It documents heartwarming and heartbreaking firsthand accounts of the practical applications, implications, and life-transforming impact of creative and meaningful scripture engagement.
RELIGION AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE ARAB WORLD: IN THE VORTEX OF GLOBALIZATION AND TRADITION
Religion and Civil Society in the Arab World: In the Vortex of Globalization and Tradition, edited by Tania Haddad and Elie Al-Hindy. (2018, Routledge, London). A comprehensive study of how Arab civil society came into being and its changing roles, this eclectic work will be of interest to scholars and researchers of politics, especially political Islam, international relations, Middle East studies, African studies, sociology, and social anthropology. The book examines the links between civil society, religion, and politics in the MENA region. It explores the role of religion in shaping and changing the public sphere in regions that are developing and/or in conflict. It further explores civil society organizations and the role they are expected to play in transitional periods, the conceptual dilemmas regarding what ‘civil society’ is in the Arab world today, the future of the Arab civil society post Arab Spring events, and how the latter continues to reshape the demand for democracy in the region.