Tuesday, June 11: The inauguration ceremony for the new Mikati Middle School building at Ras Beirut saw an opportunity to thank and honor the Mikati family as major donors as well as celebrate a wonderful new facility for the school's students from Grades 6 to 9. At a ceremony attended by IC Chairman Don Selinger, Vice-Chairman Imad Taher and President Dr Don Bergman along with a very large number of key Lebanese figures including AUB President Dr Fadlo Khuri, the new facility was officially inaugurated. Middle School students have already begun using the building and benefitting from many aspects, not least the much larger classroom space available.
It is thanks to the generous support of the Mikati family that the building has been made possible. Attending the ceremony were brothers H.E. Najib Mikati and Mr Taha Mikati as well as other family members. The family has long-had close ties to the school, with Mr Taha Mikati attending IC and graduating in 1964. His son, Azmi, was previously on the Board of Trustees. The children of his brother, Najib, were at IC, namely Maher ‘98 and Mira '00, as well as Malek ’07 (who left in the Elementary school). It is hoped the close relationship will continue for many more generations to come. Indeed, Maher, who is now on IC's Board has his children at IC, with Najib in 6ème, May in CM1 and Nada in CE1.
In a speech full of emotion for the school, Mr Taha Mikati expressed: "It is our duty to show gratitude and give back to the institution that shaped our future, hoping that this building will help IC carry on with its noble cause. For our family, education is the cornerstone for the development of a tolerant society, because we need to develop citizens who will know how to defend themselves with a pen and not with a gun."
Similar to IC's Preschool and Elementary school buildings, the new Mikati building carries the US Green Building Council's LEED Gold award, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Indeed, IC became the first school in the region to achieve such a feat in 2013 when the new Elementary was inaugurated. This further highlights IC's commitment to sustainability, affording reason for hope that present and future generations will still be able to enjoy prosperous, happy and healthy livelihoods, even with climate change such a pressing issue right now.
Middle School students benefit from a range of programs in English, French and Arabic and this new, state-of-the-art facility will add so much more opportunity for teachers to enrich their practices, and for students to considerably benefit from such enrichment. Similar to the school's oldest buildings (Sage Hall, 1911, Rockefeller and Thomson Halls, 1913), we look forward to 100 years and more occupying these new and very special buildings.