Souad Slim (Lebanon)

Prof Dr Souad Slim has been a committed member of the Lebanese KAAD Partner Committee for more than twenty years. With her profession as well as with her commitment to KAAD, she contributes to giving the young generation in the Middle East a future and to counteracting the brain drain.

Dr Dr Souad Slim was born in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. During her youth period, she was volunteering in teaching illiterate women in the suburbs of Beirut and in supporting students in the same area with tutorials. Her academic passion is the rich history of her home country which was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Having studied history in Lebanon and in France, she wrote her thesis about the history of Lebanon in the 18th and 19th century and received her first PhD from Sorbonne University. Her second PhD thesis, this time at Birmingham University in the department of Christian-Muslim relations, dealt with the history of Greek Orthodox charitable endowments (waqf) in Ottoman Lebanon. The development of the educational system also belongs to her main research interests, for example the history and relevance of Greek Orthodox schools that Russian missionaries founded in the Middle East from the 1880s onwards.

While Souad Slim has always been passionate about uncovering the past, she has at the same time been eager to bring the past together with the present and to better shape the present for her fellow citizens. Having received her first PhD in France, she went back to her home country in the middle of the Lebanese war and taught history at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut. During the civil war in Lebanon, she got married to Salim Slim and had three children, Salam, Saad and Samah.

Since 1987, she has been Professor of History, Cultural studies and Methodology at the University of Balamand. In addition to that, she currently serves as the Director of the Centre of Documentation and History at the Institute of History, Archeology and Near Eastern Studies.

She always knew that rebuilding her country goes along with building schools and universities, that rebuilding also means educating people and bringing people of different faiths together. Deeply rooted in her faith, it has been her mission from the very beginning to make Lebanon a better place for the youth. Against this background, it almost goes without saying that from the very moment she heard of the existence of KAAD, she was willing to participate in the newly founded Lebanese Partner Committee. She encouraged young people to apply for scholarships, to go to Germany for their master or doctoral studies and to return to Lebanon and enrich this wonderful country. Moreover, she has been a driving force for setting up the KAAD Sur Place and Third-Country Scholarship Program in Lebanon in 2015: Thanks to her efforts in the course of the last five years, it has become possible for almost 50 students to continue their path of education and to complete their master studies with the support of KAAD, both Syrian refugees and Lebanese students, who also volunteer in the field of refugee aid.

In 2018, we celebrated not only the 60th anniversary of KAAD but also the 20th anniversary of Prof Slim’s commitment in the Lebanese partner committee: We owe our heartfelt thanks to her and expressed our gratitude by awarding her the Bene-merenti Award.