President’s speech at the SABIS Koura Graduation Ceremony

26 June 2019

​Dear parents, administrators, teachers, and Sabis graduates,

Esteemed Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you on this special occasion. It is a memorable day for you, and definitely for your parents.

It’s a moment of joy for your teachers: the joy of an achievement that you did with your hard work, and with their tremendous help, and a joy that they will get rid of some of you.

When I started to prepare my speech I was wondering what could be the best way to address you. I am used to address politicians, university students, faculty and staff, but this time I address very young brains who are definitely smarter than me. So to solve that dilemma, I resorted to my 2 kids, John who is 20 years old and Jack who is 11 years by now, and I asked them what would you like and expect to hear if I am to address you as a keynote speaker. So John the 20 year old answered that he really has to leave since his girlfriend is waiting outside, and Jack the 11 year old told me that he will get back to me when he finishes playing online with his friends.

At that moment, I realized how hard it is to get your attention. To make a long story short, I decided to share with you few of the lessons that I learned the hard way through my 26 x 2 years of experience (you do the math to know how old I am).

Lesson number 1: Dare to dream and dream big. 
Your dreams are the road maps for your future. Roads that are not paved through magic, but through sweat, hard work, and determination. Remember, if you can dream it you can do it, and when you cease to dream you cease to live.

Lesson number 2: Dare to be different. 
By being different, you can make a difference, in your life and in the life of others. If they laugh at you because you are different, well laugh at them because they are all the same.

Lesson number 3: Dare to fail. 
Failure should be your opportunity to start again; it is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something to be empowered by. Let failure be the fuel for your success, and remember “You never fail until you stop trying” as Albert Einstein once said. 

Lesson number 4: Dare to speak the truth. 
You should always be the voice and not the echo. And the greatest advantage of speaking the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said.

Lesson number 5: Dare to have fun. 
Fun at work is at the origin of innovation. Enjoy the ride of life. Enjoy what you are doing. This is what makes work worthwhile. And don’t forget, “Creativity is intelligence having fun” again, in the words of Einstein.

Lesson number 6: Dare for persistence, and remember the triple “P”s:
Patience, Persistence, and Perspiration, which make the unbeatable combination for success.

I believe all what I have mentioned above is at the heart of a success story like that of SABIS. It has the spirit of all the lessons I uttered. You should be really proud of being among its graduates.
For the acronym of SABIS, whether Saad and Bistani, or Students Achieve Better In Sabis, I would personally suggest another proposal to better describe what students of SABIS should look like:

S for Smart
A for Ambitious
B for Brave
I for Innovative 
And S for Special

All the above credentials and qualifications are basically what we look for at the University of Balamand:

We look for “smart” minds but NOT evil minds,
We look for “ambitious” but NOT reckless,
We look for “brave” but NOT lunatic,
We look for “innovative” but NOT destructive,
We look for “special” but NOT weird.

Balamand will always welcome you to join, as brilliant students that we as a University can make a difference in your future.  Talking about the future, there are three kinds of people:  those who let it happen, those who made it happen, and those who wonder what happened - and definitely we count to make you the designers of your own future.  

My last take-home message for you is that life is too short to lie, too long to only have fun, but it gives you the right time to work, succeed, and make it worth living.

Once again, Congratulations to you all on this achievement… Wishing you many more to come!

Thank you.