Pastor Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-Day-Adventists (SDA) headquartered in Maryland, USA, visited Middle East University (MEU) from March 21 to 24, during his two week tour to Europe and the Middle East. President Wilson holds the position of highest authority within the global SDA denomination.
The visit of President Wilson marks a new development for MEU as it is increasingly seeking to attract Lebanese students. The location of the university in Lebanon is drawing attention within the global Adventist community and the significance of MEU is growing within the SDA education network—which comprises 110 universities worldwide—since the University is the only SDA institution of higher education in the Middle East.
President Ted Wilson met with staff and students, and sat with members of the Board of Trustees to discuss future plans of the University and its expansion. During the meeting with University faculty and staff organized by Dr. Leif Hongisto, President of MEU, President Ted Wilson revived the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff for the enhanced role MEU will take in educating both Lebanese and international students.
Speaking about his visit, President Wilson said, “I was extremely pleased at what I found, and I envision MEU will be able to contribute to Lebanese society in many ways.”
In addition to visiting the University, President Wilson had the opportunity to visit the University’s recently opened For Your Life (4YL) Community Center in Sabtieh. President Wilson visited the new facility and was received by the newly appointed director of the 4YL Center, Lisette Cleary. “This is a first step to reach out to the community of Sabtieh,” says Mrs. Cleary, “the University is here to stay—where the people are.” President Ted Wilson commended this new initiative for its vision to serve the community with activities for individuals and families from all walks of life.
The University’s beautiful green campus at the top of Sabtieh will continue to welcome undergraduate and graduate students, but the 4YL Center will serve by providing shorter courses and events for people in the local community seeking practical knowledge, creativity or discovery. The aim is to enhance their lives, their health, and their talents with activities and initiatives provided through the 4YL brand. Language, music, nutrition, art and movement are some of the seminars and classes to be continually offered through the Center.
The activities at the 4YL Center started with a two-week health event, open to any passer-by. Students from Weimar College, CA administered health tests and provided special health advice to participants.
MEU is happy for the guidance and encouragement provided by President Wilson’s visit. The University has a long tradition in Lebanon. It was founded in 1939 and will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. The University is also of good international standing and thus accommodates a sizable number of international students.
Written by Patrizia Hongisto and Jason Lemon
Photos by Renata Costa and Ryan McCabe