Knowledge! The notion of knowledge encompasses a wide range of ideas, and there is no bottom to its depth.
Humans may soar to great heights with knowledge, and in this day of fierce competition, those with significant knowledge in any field are in more demand in the industry. People are now responsible for determining the knowledge they acquire throughout their lives and how they utilize that knowledge to plan their present actions and shape their future.
The combination of knowledge and skills allows one to take advantage of many chances in life and also enables them to share their knowledge and expertise with others, which drives the country’s overall growth. Many colleges and institutions are developing knowledge- and skill-based curriculum that supports technological developments in every area of education in order to adapt to rapid expansion.
Similarly, Universite Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ – Saint Joseph University of Beirut) encourages knowledge creation (research), knowledge transmission (teaching), and knowledge application for societal development.
The university ushers benefits like multiculturalism and trilingualism, including the French, Arabic, and English languages, along with innovation and digital transformation in order to accomplish the mission it has set for itself to incorporate the francophone language and culture in the university. In addition, the university concentrates on several other national concerns, such as the priority of human rights, justice, democracy, and the dialogue of cultures.
Pr. Salim Daccache S.J., the university’s Rector, spoke with The Education View in an interactive interview on the evolution of the institution and his own journey there. Furthermore, he enlightens us about the university’s mission and future goals.
For additional details on the university, dive down.
Kindly brief us about the university’s journey since its inception.
USJ is a private Lebanese university founded in 1875 by the Society of Jesus. Today, the University counts 13 faculties and 21 schools and institutes operating under the faculties. USJ also has a university hospital center (Hôtel-Dieu de France-HDF) and a hospital network with several hospitals. USJ sustains many centers, institutes, poles, chairs, libraries, and museums affiliated with it.
Tell us about the university’s vision, mission, and core values.
USJ aims to maintain excellence in training and relevance in research. It seeks to rely upon the know-how-to-be skills as well as formative humanism. It also develops the idea of the University as a crossroad, which presents itself as a cultural interface.
The mission of the University articulates three dimensions: the creation of new knowledge (research), the transmission of this knowledge (teaching), and putting this knowledge at the service of society (service). In order to put this mission into execution, the University positions itself as an establishment of francophone language and culture, this privileges multiculturalism and trilingualism (French, Arabic, and English) and adopts innovation and digital transformation.
Being accessible to all social classes and all communities and at the service of the nation and the region, it fulfils its social responsibility, advocates for social inclusion, and refutes any discrimination. Teaching and research promote issues of sustainable development, the primacy of human rights, justice, democracy, and dialogue of civilizations, as well as issues of meaning. Being open to the international sphere, it is determined to benefit from the extraordinary potentiality that the network of Jesuit and catholic universities represents throughout the world.
In its Charter, developed in 1975, Saint Joseph University defines its objectives, its missions, and the values that sustain it and will be sustaining. The Board of Trustees, created in 2021, supports the university’s undertaking. The Society of Jesus ensures that the institution is faithful to its Charter regarding spiritual, ethical, and social issues. The core values are:
- Triple task: professional, cultural, and spiritual
- Interdisciplinary collaboration
- Freedom of conscience
- Political independence
- Social commitment
- Jesuit pedagogical tradition
Kindly brief us about the featured person and their valuable contribution to the university’s success.
Pr Salim Daccache s.j., Rector of USJ, took office on August 1st, 2012. He has been a member of the Society of Jesus since 1975. He holds a Ph.D. in Education Sciences on Values in Lebanese Schools and a Ph.D. in Philosophy on The Muslim Kalam in the 10th Century. He was previously the Rector of Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour for 18 years, then Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies.
He has several articles and publications and is a member of different boards and associations. He managed the University through the worst crises it faced, mainly the socio-economic, the pandemic, and the Beirut port blast, keeping it a beacon of education and research in Lebanon. He has obtained several national and international medals and awards.
What challenges did the university come across in making it a most valuable and renowned institute, and how did it overcome them?
The University went through several pitfalls throughout its existence, mainly the war in Lebanon, the socio-economic crisis, the pandemic, and the Beirut port blast. It overcame them through the solidarity, determination, and dedication of all its community members (staff, employees, and students) and the generosity of its alumni and friends.
What unique programs does the higher institute provide students for their holistic career growth?
In addition to the education, research, and training provided to students in their specific fields of study and specialty, the University offers several opportunities to grow their career skills through courses, seminars, and activities related to soft skills, entrepreneurship, service to society, ethics, religious studies, communication, etc.
What extra-curricular and co-curricular activities does the university organize to enhance students’ skills for their bright future?
The University highly encourages students to participate in extra-curricular activities. It offers them several opportunities in arts, music, shows, sports, religion, communication, competitions, etc., on a national or international level. These activities are organized by the students’ faculties, schools, and institutes or by the University’s central offices such as the Student Life Office, the Campus Ministry, the Career and Placement Office, etc.
How does the institute help the students to know their desired path of pedagogies?
The University has its Student Information and Orientation Office, which gives students all required information (prior to registration and afterward), and a substantial website with details on all institutions and specialties. Furthermore, institutions have counsellor’s and peer tutors who can guide students when needed.
What unique programs does the university have for students to obtain global exposure?
The University has more than 440 international agreements with universities worldwide, which enables students to go for exchange programs with scholarships and even obtain a joint degree in some cases. Furthermore, the University is a member of several international associations and has a vast network of partner universities, opening the doors for hundreds of international students to study at USJ and student and staff outgoing and incoming mobility.
Please mention your institute’s most notable achievements, accolades, accreditations, and awards.
In 2019, the University received unconditional accreditation from the European educational accreditation institute ACQUIN. It participates in several international rankings and strengthens its position each year; for example, it obtained ‘THE Awards Asia 2021 – Best Workplace of the Year.’ In addition, several faculties, institutes, and schools have obtained international accreditations for their specific programs (i.e., engineering, pharmacy, translation, dentistry, physiotherapy, etc.) or are in the accreditation process. It encourages its faculty members to publish their articles in peer-reviewed indexed journals, and many of them are ranked among the top researchers and have won international awards.
How do you envision the future endeavor of the institute?
In 2025, the University will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Therefore, it will pursue its teaching, research, and service efforts to strengthen its national, regional and international position as a leading Jesuit university in the Middle East. It has to encompass new trends and progress in innovation, technology, research, and pedagogical skills to provide its students with all the necessary means to grow personally and professionally through the knowledge and know-how they need.