American University of Beirut (AUB) President Dr. Fadlo Khuri announced the university’s plan to provide $150 million as base support packages in real (“fresh”) US dollars, to all faculty, physicians, and full-time and part-time staff at the university and its medical center, with no exception, starting on the first of July 2021 and over a period of three years until June 2024. This came after the decision of the Board of Trustees to allocate $150 million to support the AUB community.
Khuri said that this plan, which will be subject to annual review, “is consistent with our solemn undertaking throughout the series of political, economic, and social crises that Lebanon is passing through, that we shall expend all efforts within our means to ensure no member of the AUB family or their dependents should be left to suffer the full consequences of the dire situation that the country has reached.”
These base support packages will be evenly divided between academic and non-academic personnel and will be composed of payments in real US dollars in lieu of base salary, calculated at the 1508 Lebanese pound exchange rate, and are equivalent to at least 20 percent of the base salary. Additionally, the support package for full-time non-academic staff will include 15 percent in lieu of base salary, calculated at the 1508 Lebanese pound exchange rate, and paid in local dollars, contingent on the availability of funds.
President Khuri explained that AUB will maintain educational, healthcare, and retirement benefits, and that these new resources will be invested to “help make what has become a very difficult and challenging life in Lebanon less precarious and more hopeful for our faculty and staff without increasing the financial burdens on students.”
The support plan also includes modified educational allowances for faculty and staff to accommodate the increases in tuition fees imposed by the educational system; in addition to supplemental components for staff in mission-critical administrative, academic, and medical support units, and for the purchase of research and hospital equipment and supplies to maintain the support necessary to deliver on the mission of the university and its medical center.
In addition, the university’s Board of Trustees has set aside the income from another $50 million in unrestricted investments for the establishment of approximately 50 board-designated professorships with a total budget of $2.5 million per year over three years.
The university’s trustees have also committed more than $1.25 million of their own personal monies toward two newly designated funds—the Medical Heroes Fund and the Staff Heroes Fund—to be utilized to support, reward, and empower the most deserving physicians, nurses, and staff at AUB and its medical center.
“We are a committed, principled, and determined community at AUB. In order to safeguard the future sustainability of this matchless, mission-oriented institution of higher education and healthcare, we are actively exploring online education opportunities, novel health and business development platforms, and the possible establishment of twin international campuses. We will be sharing our progress along these avenues in due course when there is more to say,” President Khuri said.
He concluded, “Ultimately, it is all of our sacred charge to ensure that AUB continues to support our people and the populations they comprise, that they may continue to pursue excellence in service of the greater good.”