Face to Face: Building an active community

Spring 2023

Discipline, character, and perseverance. These are some of the foundational tenets that have guided Tarek Abou Omar, newly appointed director of the Charles Hostler Student Center, throughout his life.“ I developed these values from being in martial arts very early. It can be tough to balance academia and athletics, but I’ve always felt that, eventually, the two would feed into each other. This opportunity brought both,” says Tarek. Though being appointed director was not something he had planned for, it was an opportunity he had inadvertently been training for.

Tarek is no stranger to AUB. As agraduate of AUB’s Master of Science in Environmental Health in 2017, he fell in love with the university and dreamed of returning one day. “I remember being at the Charles Hostler Student Center, looking at the sea and feeling very happy in that moment. I thought, how can I come back one day?” After spending a few years abroad earning a PhD and teaching at other institutions,that wish has come true.

As an international coach in martial arts with an academic background in public health, Tarek brings his passion for both athletics and science to the Charles Hostler Student Center and is building a mission around athletics, recreation, and wellness. “Health is indivisible, and it is tightly linked to exercise, diet, and lifestyle,” says Tarek.

The Charles Hostler Student Center is one of Lebanon’s top recreational and sports complexes, presenting opportunities that Tarek is eager to explore for the AUB community and beyond. “We want to maximize our athletic potential, keep the community active and contribute to the dissemination of science on exercise, health, and wellness through collaborations with research entities at AUB,” he says. He is developing programs for self-defense, swimming,and other sports and is collaborating on developing a diploma certification in nutrition, fitness, and health for personal trainers.

Tarek brings decades of passion for athletics and health to AUB during a critical time. In the face of Lebanon’s multiple adversities, his belief in athletics and wellness support has the potential to reimagine the Charles Hostler Student Center. “Despite all the challenges, I’ve always been interested in doing something fo rLebanon, and there is no better place to start than AUB,” he says.