The holder of a social work and community development undergraduate degree from LAU and currently a student of the university’s international affairs master’s program, Sabah Haidar Khalil (B.A. ’12) gives back in many forms. From securing lawyers for underprivileged members of society to making sure food and supplies are distributed to prisoners, Khalil has a long history of helping those in need, focusing her efforts in general on human rights advocacy. She is also a keen supporter of education and recently established the Sabah Haidar Khalil Designated Scholarship Grant at LAU.
Why do you give back to LAU?
I don’t believe in giving and taking. Happiness and peace of mind is the reward I strive for and I do my best to ensure that my compatriots — especially our future, young generation at LAU — have these in order to build a strong and honest spirit so they can improve and strengthen our society.
You are an alumna of LAU and also a current graduate student, as well as an active social worker in the community — how do you manage all this and what drives you to help others?
I am indebted to my dear parents, who taught me at a young age to be empathetic. I feel empathy is in my blood. I always find a way to manage between my husband, six children, and five grandchildren to have time to support prison inmates or elderly people in hospitals. Impossible does not exist in my dictionary. Therefore, I have never believed that anyone or anything can stop me from accomplishing my mission and my dedication to be there when I am needed in my community.
What message would you like to convey to your fellow alumni and current students?
I would like to raise my voice to my fellow alumni and our current students to help one another in order to change our society, and to love each other for a better and peaceful environment. United we can achieve this.
What would you like to see LAU achieve in the near future?
Through our university, Lebanon must and should again be first in spreading knowledge and innovation, which are the only way to eradicate the current mindset of extremism that is destroying our country.
Why are you interested in supporting education, especially in Lebanon?
Why not? Lebanon was always “Manarat al Sharq” (the lighthouse of the east). I want my old Lebanon back — the one I studied about in our history books from the time of the Phoenicians, Gibran and Amin Maalouf.