Showing posts from April, 2019

Guest Lecturer at Saint Joseph University’s Higher Institute for Banking Studies

A few weeks ago, I was invited to deliver a free-form lecture to third-year banking students enrolled in  l’institut supérieur d’études bancaires at Beirut’s prestigious Université Saint-Joseph in Monot. I jumped at the chance to address the next generation of Lebanese bankers. The only stipulation was that I weave in my working knowledge of social media, blogging, and communications in the context of a corporate institution, namely a bank. I’d recently become aware that today’s students don’t come from the same cloth as us, their predecessors. We may be separated by a mere decade, but the academic environment that dominated during my collegiate years would be wholly foreign to these fledglings. How did I know? During my tenure at Bank of Beirut, I helped spearhead and implement a novel MBA program in Banking Operations at another local university. Based on my direct interaction with students in that program, in addition to the input I gleaned from colleagues delivering cours

Kalimera, Athens!

The motivation to travel to Athens was two-fold: (1) the direct flight from Beirut is a mere hour and a half, and (2) my understanding of Greece had heretofore been limited to its coastal resorts. It seemed appropriate to visit the capital of a country considered to be the cradle of Western civilization, where landmarks like the Parthenon at the Acropolis date back to the 5 th century B.C. So we booked our flights, homed in on an Airbnb in the heart of the city, and dashed away during the second week of April. Our first impression upon landing was how unusually quiet the airport is. We completed passport control, claimed our baggage, and nabbed a cab at the curb all within 10 minutes after deplaning. When will we ever be able to say the same for Beirut? The drive into the city takes about 45 minutes, with lush green expanses of olive trees and fields on either side of the slick highway. Once you reach the periphery of Athens, however, the scenery changes markedly. In fact, it

Sami Basbous: Lebanon's Rare Renaissance Man

In the fast-paced digital world we currently inhabit, it seems certain our creativity is stifled. You rarely see people scanning the landscape around them for inspiration, whether they’re hustling from point A to point B, or idling in the passenger seat of a car – can’t really reference public transportation in this country, can we now? – or even enjoying a coffee break beneath the shade of a tree. Everyone’s invariably yielding a smartphone and completely riveted by its contents. How do you create if you’re utterly caught up in consuming? How will we breed the next generation of artists and creatives if our society doesn’t foster any appreciation, let alone recognition, of the beauty surrounding us? Sami Basbous belongs to what perhaps might be an endangered breed of artists. He is a Renaissance man to the full extent that he is a multidisciplinary artist, painter, composer, lyricist, performer, poet and writer. Embodying just one of those vocations is an admirable feat, p