AUST launched an entrepreneurship and innovation initiative whereby small teams of students of various majors were created to collaborate under the supervision of academicians from the university and in collaboration with the private sector. The objective was to allow students and faculty from different disciplines to exchange best practices in educational technology and innovation.
This technological revolution is multi-dimensional and has myriad results on the economy, the production centers and the labor market, and a profound impact on the educational programs and methodology, and the means the universities follow to impart and generate knowledge, and on their pursuit of preparing graduates worthy of being effective partakers of the labor market.
As such, AUST Vice President, Dr. Riad Sakr, advocates a compatible policy that balances between the role of the university to produce and spread knowledge and its responsibility towards the society and the students, with the collaboration and partnership of companies. VP Sakr’s major aim when he encouraged deans, chairs, faculty members and students to sit together as teams and brainstorm for new ideas towards new product development, which in return would:
For many months, the students sat together with their mentors, exploring innovative ideas and trying as entrepreneurs to tackle social, economic and/or environmental problems, and create new services and products. The culmination of their efforts was a Gala Dinner during which 6 teams presented their projects in front of a panel of esteemed jury members who are pioneers in their respective fields. The jury was comprised of:
As the teams presented, the jury voted online. The teams presented in alphabetical order.
Following the presentations, everyone enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Eau de Vie, Phoenicia Hotel.
The event ended with VP Sakr addressing the audience before announcing the winners, saying: “We know that the world today shows competitive global trends, standards and qualities whereby the ranking of universities is measured by their research output, and to what extent university programs provide job opportunities and the professional success of its graduates. At AUST, we set about to examine reality and to predict the future to discern what to teach and how we can best equip our students for future work, and to encourage them to unlatch their creativity and academic capacities and skills.”
VP Sakr then extended his special thanks to Bank of Beirut, the Gold Sponsor of the ‘Start-up Project”, through the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Salim Sfeir, who was represented by Mr. George Awad, Director of Consumer Banking. The Vice-President then proceeded to thank the jury members who have shown enthusiasm when they heard of this initiative, and came not only to judge but also to encourage and support the creativity of the students. Vice President Sakr, moreover thanked the mentors, the students, the Quality Control Coordinator of this initiative Ms. Zeina Harfouche Nsouli, and the overall Initiative Coordinator and Chairperson of the Mathematics Department Hiba Othman, for working to make this venture a reality, promising all that this will be an annual event. Then AUST’s President, Mrs. Hiam Sakr and Bank of Beirut’s Director for Consumer Banking, Mr. George Aouad, joined him on stage to distribute certificates of Innovative Achievement to all participants. The first prize went to the “Oracles Team” mentored by Dr. Nicolian and including the students Michael Haber, Farah Daou, Leonardo Nohra, Jad Al Ashkar, Serouj Serop, Imad Gharios, and Jad Saad, to whom President Sakr presented Gold Medals, the President’s Award, and a $5000 check. The second prize went to “Transcendents Team” mentored by Dr. Attieh and included the students Ali Hammoud, Fatima Moghnieh, Dany Habchi, Ghinwa Kobeissi, Elie Haddad, and Ali Dekkek; the team won AUST’s Silver Medals.
Congratulations to all the winners!