Philanthropist and businessman Fouad Makhzoumi has pledged $3 million to LAU in order to establish the Fouad Makhzoumi Center for Innovation.
“Since getting to know this institution, I realized instantly that it had a vision, in large part due to my talks with (LAU) President (Joseph G.) Jabbra,” said Makhzoumi during his speech at a signing ceremony held November 28 on the Beirut campus and which gathered his family and friends along with university officials to celebrate the occasion.
“Innovation is missing in this country,” he continued. “You need business incubation. You need to get people to create a network for them in order to come up with those ideas. And this is where LAU, I believe, could do that.”
The Fouad Makhzoumi Center for Innovation, which is set to launch during spring 2017, will focus on educational and training activities in the field of innovation including regular international conference, scholarly workshops, lecture series, and international research to foster creativity and innovation.
During the ceremony, Jabbra discussed the Makhzoumi family’s dedication to serving society and improving Lebanon, drawing parallels between their strong values and the university’s purpose.
“Dr. Makhzoumi didn’t forget where he came from, and his philanthropic efforts, and that of his wife, serve underprivileged people by providing them with the opportunity to have health services; to have micro lending opportunities; to have training opportunities in order to make a decent life and live with dignity. And this is why this gathering is very important because that resonates very well with the mission of our institution,” Jabbra declared.
Makhzoumi is a strong believer and supporter of LAU, citing its innovative spirit in launching unique degree programs. “LAU thinks outside the box in terms of traditional education, setting up a fashion degree program and other similar initiatives. And we need to have such innovation. Innovation is what will procure a better future for our youth,” he explained.
Makhzoumi is co-founder of Future Pipe Industries and the Makhzoumi Foundation with his spouse, May. The Makhzoumis have a long history of contributing toward LAU, with their first gift dating back to 2004. Their generosity has been allocated to different areas of the university including the Gala Dinner Endowed Scholarship Fund, School of Pharmacy, President’s Fund, and Beirut Institute for Media & Arts Conference.