March 23, 2023 — One of the most interesting Jesuit universities in the world is Saint Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon. Founded in 1875, Saint Joseph is the only Jesuit university in the Arab World. On its incredibly impressive list of alumni are seven presidents of Lebanon. The former Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, earned his doctorate there and then joined the faculty. Saint Joseph has a medical and a law school and five total campuses in all in the capital city. In the middle of a religiously diverse country, it brings together 12,000 students from all backgrounds, including large communities of both Christian and Muslim students.
As they carry out their essential mission, Saint Joseph is facing unimaginable challenges due to multiple intertwined crises plaguing the country of Lebanon right now. On August 4, 2020, a historically powerful explosion at the Port of Beirut killed over 200 people and left about 300,000 homeless. All five of Saint Joseph’s campuses were damaged by the blast. This instability worsened an already-dire economic crisis.
A few weeks ago, host Mike Jordan Laskey talked to the university’s president, Fr. Salim Daccache, SJ, about the university and how it’s responding to today’s challenges. Fr. Daccache has led Saint Joseph’s since 2012 and earned his undergraduate degree there in 1973. A scholar and an experienced administrator, Fr. Daccache has such a clear passion for the school and is dedicated to doing whatever he can to support students, faculty and staff.
Against this backdrop, the university is asking for donations in support of scholarships. Our listeners in the United States can make tax-deductible donations via a PayPal link on our website, which you can find at Jesuits.org/lebanon.
AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.