UA Celebrates the Renewal of Its Institutional Certification From the AAQ | Antonine University

  • UA Celebrates the Renewal of Its Institutional Certification From the AAQ

    23 March 2024

    Antonine University (UA) joyously celebrated the renewal of its institutional certification from the esteemed Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). The momentous occasion, held under the patronage of H.E. Judge Dr. Abbas Al Halabi, Minister of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), was graced by the presence of distinguished figures. Among the attendees were Most Reverend Abbot Joseph Bou Raad, Antonine Maronite Order (OAM) Superior General; Fr. Michel Saghbiny, UA’s Rector; Dr. Mazen Al Khatib, Director General of Higher Education; Mr. Albert Chamoun, Media Advisor at the MEHE; UA’s Board of Trustees, as well as academic and administrative members.

    The Ceremony was hosted by 2 graduate students at the Faculty of Information and Communication (FIC), Recardo Chalhoub and Tracy Baaklini, who introduced a series of videos showcasing UA’s mission, vision, and values, as well as heartfelt testimonials from alumni sharing their experiences at UA. The Ceremony also featured a video message from Ms. Genevieve Le Fort, President of the group of experts at the AAQ, who were responsible for evaluating UA’s quality assurance.

    During her message, Ms. Le Fort commended the University for its approach to the institutional certification process. She noted that UA tackled the exercise “with seriousness, enthusiasm, curiosity, open-mindedness, and humility.” Ms. Le Fort, representing the group of experts, expressed their pleasure in exploring UA’s quality system and hoped that their critical yet constructive perspective would help identify useful paths for the future development of the Institution. She congratulated UA on behalf of the AAQ and the group of experts, “wishing you fair winds for the future and good luck with your endeavors.”

    The masters of ceremony then introduced Michel Jalkh, a student at the Faculty of Sport Sciences (FSS), who captivated the audience with a delightful piano performance.

    Fr. Saghbiny, in his address, regarded the renewal of UA’s institutional certification from the AAQ as a necessary journey for higher education in Lebanon. He noted that the renewal marks not the culmination but the beginning of a new phase that will propel UA toward even greater success.

    The UA Rector stated, “Quality is a journey toward improvement, akin to breaking free from a cocoon. It is an essential aspect of societal existence and integration. Quality is a combination of characteristics, features, and qualities that ensure the fulfillment of needs to the highest standard. It serves as a benchmark for excellence and distinction, purging impurities and deficiencies through strict adherence to examinable and verifiable standards. The aim is to achieve harmony and parity in education, research, and service by meeting specific requirements and providing the necessary accreditation. Therefore, quality requires constant monitoring of efficiency and effectiveness, along with continuous improvement. It prevents us from settling for less.”

    Fr. Saghbiny affirmed that the UA community as a whole has embraced quality as a responsibility rather than a burden, integrating it into all activities and involving each individual. “This collective approach is a direct response to the challenges faced by educational institutions aspiring to nurture responsible graduates for nation-building.”

    In his speech, Dr. Al Halabi emphasized UA’s significant role in Lebanon, a country facing challenging conditions. He commended UA, along with other universities, for providing hope and fostering leadership despite despairing times. The Minister expressed comfort in knowing that there are institutions like UA that can be relied upon to uphold academic reputation, specializations, and quality. He highlighted UA’s commitment to excellence, particularly in providing high-quality education imbued with leadership qualities.

    Furthermore, Dr. Al Halabi stressed that UA’s renewal of institutional accreditation is well-deserved and represents the aspirations of higher education institutions: to engage in scientific research and prioritize quality over competition. He praised the collaborative and communicative relationship between UA, under the rectorship of Fr. Saghbiny, and the Directorate General of Higher Education, represented by Dr. Al Khatib. He also acknowledged the partnership and interaction between UA and other universities through European projects and technical committees.

    At the end of the celebration, Fr. Saghbiny presented UA’s Silver Feather to Dr. Al Khatib and presented an icon to Dr. Al Halabi. The icon, recreated at the Antonine Art Institute (AAI), depicts a historical event that brought together Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan Al-Kamil, the ruler of Egypt and the Levant during the Middle Ages in 1219. This gift was bestowed to honor Minister Al Halabi’s significant contributions to Christian-Muslim dialogue.