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During a ceremony that brought together more than 700 people at the Pierre Y. AbouKhater amphitheater at the Human Sciences Campus, Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ) announced on April 30, 2024 the launch of two major events : the activities of its 150th anniversary, thus marking a century and a half of academic excellence, significant contributions to society and deep commitment to the Francophonie and the signing of a pact for the creation of USJ-Côte d'Ivoire (USJ-CI), an opportunity for quality higher education in a spirit of excellence and openness to all.  

The audience was composed of numerous representatives of the Lebanese State, as well as the diplomatic and academic corps, a large delegation from Côte d'Ivoire, donors, alumni, friends, students and the USJ staff.

In her opening remarks, Professor Nadine Riachi, Secretary General of the USJ, spoke of the mixed feelings of pride and optimism accompanying this event. As for Mr. Naji Boulos, marketing and communications advisor, he underlined the importance of this ceremony, highlighting the historical links between Lebanon and Ivory Coast, in particular thanks to the French-speaking world and the presence of a dynamic Ivorian community of Lebanese origin in this region of Africa.

The ceremony also highlighted, through videos, the achievements of USJ while paying tribute to those who have contributed to the construction and sustainability of the University since 1875. Inspiring speeches and moving testimonies, highlighting the key role of the USJ in the development of education, research and Lebanese society, were delivered by various personalities such as Professor Salim Daccache sj, Rector of the USJ, SEM Georges Kallas, minister of Youth and Sports, HE Abbas al-Halabi, Minister of Education and Higher Education, as well as prominent members of the university community: the President of the USJ High Council, Mr. Joe Saddi, Dr. Christian Makary, President of the Federation of USJ Alumni Associations, Miss Hala Dalloul and Mr. Marc Chalhoub, student representatives.

On this occasion, the Rector presented the 150th anniversary medal to Ministers Abbas al-Halabi and Georges Kallas.

The second part was placed under the sign of the USJ-CI partnership.

Professor Carla Eddé, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at USJ, traced the genesis of the USJ-Côte d'Ivoire project. The CEO of the Farah Polyclinic and also CEO of the Ivorian Academy of Sciences, Dr Oualid Zahreddine, praised the USJ's commitment to serving Lebanese and soon Ivorian youth, thus expressing his love for his two countries, of origin and adoption.

As for the Regional Director of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Mr. Jean-Noël Baléo, he insisted on the importance of the USJ in the Lebanese educational and scientific system, and in the French-speaking university world, and promised attentive listening from the AUF regarding the USJ-CI.

Professor Salim Daccache spoke of the University's many successes and declared that the upcoming opening of USJ-Côte d'Ivoire will be a landmark moment in the history of USJ. Mr. Vamara Touré, representative of HE Adama Diawara, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Côte d'Ivoire, for his part, thanked the USJ for its welcome and its involvement in this project and underlined the role of education in the development of lasting relations between the two countries.

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