Getting to Know AUB Mediterraneo: Rector Wassim El Hajj

Spring 2023

When did you begin working on the AUB Mediterraneo project? I was appointed executive director of this project in September 2021. I have been the rector of AUB Mediterraneo since January 2023.

What has been the biggest challenge in establishing AUB’s first twin campus outside of Lebanon? Establishing even just a small company in a foreign country is a challenging task, so you can imagine the challenges involved in creating a university within a very tight timeline. I would say that the biggest challenge has been coordinating the efforts of all the people in Lebanon and Cyprus whose contributions are essential to the success of AUB Mediterraneo. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be in sync—coordinating efforts with our partners, the Municipality of Pafos and its mayor; securing accreditation from the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the US; working with the professors who are developing the academic programs; following up with the contractors who are building the new campus; implementing effective communication and student recruitment strategies—and those are just some of the moving parts!

What will AUB Mediterraneo look like in fall 2023 when we will be welcoming the first cohort of students? We expect a strong and diverse cohort of mostly first year students enrolled in the undergraduate programs in philosophy, politics, and economics; psychology; computer science; industrial engineering; and business administration. We will also be welcoming first-year graduate students enrolled in engineering management and business analytics. Our goal is to welcome students to the new campus that we are constructing in the heart of Pafos at the site of the old Carob Mills complex. If the campus is not ready in time, we will begin classes at a wonderful facility that is owned by the Municipality of Pafos.