Suad Juffali: Investing in the Future of the Middle East

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Investing in the students of AUC today means investing in the future of the Middle East, in the leaders of tomorrow and in a community of well-rounded people ready to give back to their society, said Suad Juffali Hon LHD, AUC advisory trustee and longtime supporter of AUC.

“As I am a great believer in education, it is only ‘natural’ that I contribute to deserving students in schools and universities in the Middle East. A high-quality institution like AUC will provide the Arab world with future leaders in different fields. It is the key to success. It is the future of our youth," she affirmed.

Chair of the Ahmed Juffali Foundation, Juffali was an AUC trustee from 2001 to 2006 and was appointed an advisory trustee beginning in 2006. Throughout the years, Juffali has demonstrated an outstanding sense of civic responsibility and philanthropy by supporting AUC in vital ways, including establishing the: Tarek Ahmed Juffali Professorship in Psychology, Tarek Juffali Endowed Fellows Program (in community psychology), and Suad Al-Husseini Juffali Scholarship. She named the Serenity Room at the AUC Library and the La Palmiera Lodge (the female student dormitory). She has also provided vital current use funds to the Palestinian Scholarship Fund and the AUC Annual Fund.

According to Juffali, contributions to universities of quality, such as AUC, will improve the status of deserving and less privileged students. “I believe that such an education will improve the quality and status of Arab students in the Middle East, open horizons and aspirations, as well as hope for the young generation to realize their dreams for a better life and a prosperous future,” she added.

The Tarek Ahmed Juffali Professorship in Psychology was established in 2014 to help lay the foundation for upcoming generations of psychologists. “The Tarek Ahmed Juffali Professorship in Psychology at AUC will open a new and important field of education that is needed in our Arab societies,” explained Juffali. “We need the highly qualified educators to implant and teach the values of this very important issue. We need to develop well qualified students to provide field workers and to train the students professionally to be able to help our needy communities, as well as develop healthy communication with others and to understand the problems of our societies.”

According to Nathaniel Bowditch, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS), the addition of the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Professorship in Psychology will pave the way for the establishment of an autonomous Department of Psychology within HUSS. “Growing the Psychology Unit into a separate department will increase its impact in the region and significantly raise its reputation and status on an international scope,” said Bowditch.

Being the first of its kind in the Middle East, the department will address both treating and preventing mental illness on a large scale within local and international communities. This growth will foster new opportunities including the chance to increase course offerings; develop greater awareness of mental health issues in Egypt; open a community mental health clinic; provide access to therapy, counseling, and treatment to a variety of local constituencies; and create a community consultation center. “Ultimately, our goal as a department will be to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce the stigma associated with them in Egypt and the region, and train future generations of psychologists who will play a central role in transforming the mental health of people in our part of the world,” Bowditch explained.

In recognition of Juffali’s outstanding services and contributions, AUC presented her with the Distinguished Honorary Alumni Award in 2005 and an honorary doctorate at the February 2007 undergraduate commencement ceremony. “In order to provide a first-class university, financial support is required to raise and develop the quality and high standards of education,” said Juffali. “The greatest universities worldwide are supported by the contributions of individuals and companies. Without these donations, universities cannot continue their mission and progress,” stressed Juffali. “I would like to thank AUC for providing me the opportunities to contribute and share in the development of such a highly respected institution.”