American University of Beirut (AUB) Trustee and chairman of Edgo, Munib R. Masri and his wife, Angela, announced in March 2007 their intention to establish the Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources at AUB.
Mr Masri says that there is a desperate need in the region for qualified people to work in international petroleum and related industries. “A concern common to nearly all companies in these fields (oil and gas production, services industries) is finding new engineers and geologists to replace an aging work force that is mostly expected to retire during the next decade”, he explains.
Mr Masri, who has already established an engineering and geology college at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine, says that he is confident that AUB will produce men and women who will be “employable and qualified petroleum engineers and hydrologists” while at the same time “encouraging the ideals of ethical behaviour, professionalism, and environmentally responsible use of natural resource. AUB’s credibility and location would position the institution as a major contributor of expertise in the field of oil and gas as well as water and hydrogeology”. Mr Masri hopes that this energy and natural resources initiative will develop into a cross-border universities programme involving Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, and contribute significantly to these countries’ development and to the region as a whole.
Chairman of the AUB Board of Trustees Dr. Tom Morris noted that Trustee Mr Masri has been a strong supporter of AUB for many years and cited in particular his earlier gift to the University’s Centre for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS). “We are enormously gratified by this new and important gift, which will allow us to build capacity in an area that is critically important to the region and, in fact, in the world”.
In Jordan, a similar program will be replicated with one of the leading Jordanian universities. As part of this endeavor, Edgo is currently in discussions with the Department of Geology at the Royal Holloway in the UK to seek technical assistance; Royal Holloway, one of the four largest multi-faculty colleges in the University of London, has a distinguished history and reputation for academic innovation.