History | Antonine University

At a Glance


With the far-reaching vision of the Antonine Maronite Order (OAM), which extends beyond welcoming student brothers into its ranks, the Order has strived to establish a university since the 1960s. However, this desire remained unfulfilled until October 5, 1996, when a decree signed by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers granted Antonine University (UA) the right to create several faculties and institutes under the leadership of Fr. Louis Rohban.

During his mandate, UA set up a branch in Zahle–Bekaa, enabling young generations to pursue their higher-education goals and have a positive impact on their communities.

The torch was then passed on to Abbot Antoine Rajeh, who started promoting the University’s publications until it received authorization to establish a publishing house in 2009. In 2007, the cornerstone of the third branch of the University was inaugurated in Mejdlaya–Zgharta and classes commenced on March 27, 2009.

In 2011, the leadership of the University was handed over to Fr. Germanos Germanos. In this period, significant achievements included the expansion and rearrangement of the campus, with separate buildings being allocated for each faculty and major renovation projects being launched.

In addition, a new monastery was built overlooking the University, serving as a gathering place to celebrate UA’s milestones and unite the internal and external communities through religious and cultural events.

On an academic level, the greatest accomplishment was the launch of the institutional accreditation process in conformity with the standards established by the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ).

In 2017, Fr. Michel Jalakh initiated his 6-year mandate with a clear purpose: to transform the University into a student-centered institution.

By revising its mission, vision, and values, he aimed to strengthen the University’s unflinching commitment to societal transformation. A great deal of success was achieved through the establishment of the Vice Rectorate for Integral Human Development (VRIHD), responsible for fostering a culture that supports mental health and well-being; the Vice Rectorate for Administration (VRA), overseeing the administrative affairs of both faculty and staff members; and the Vice Rectorate for Cooperation and Internationalization (VRCI), focusing on staff capacity building and faculty and student mobility.

Furthermore, the culmination of the journey toward excellence was in 2017, when UA was granted institutional accreditation by the AAQ. This milestone was followed by an accreditation awarded to the Department of Physical Therapy (DPT) by the World Physiotherapy in 2018 and another one to the Faculty of Music and Musicology (FMM) programs by the European agency Music Quality Enhancement (MusiQuE) in 2020. Despite the country’s unprecedented collapse over the past years, Fr. Jalakh’s primary preoccupation was to navigate the crisis and manage the unavoidable and extreme uncertainty generated in such tough times, while ensuring that the University maintains high educational standards for its undergraduate and graduate programs.

If we cast our gaze back to August 2023, we cannot help but describe this month as a symbolic crossroads, where UA’s past triumphs await to embrace its projected ambitions and aspirations. Under the leadership of the newly appointed Rector, Fr. Michel Saghbiny, the University has embarked on a fresh 6-year mandate, determined to carry forward the well-thought-out mission initiated during the previous mandate and further fortify the foundation laid by his predecessors.