The American University of Beirut (AUB), the American University in Cairo (AUC), and the Lebanese American University (LAU) have launched PRO-GREEN-A Joint/Dual Professional Degree in Green Technologies, offering a diploma in green technologies designed for those already working in the fields of engineering and architecture. The program will offer opportunities to concentrate on sustainability in energy, water and buildings. PROGREEN can be completed online, making it the first such professional diploma in the region http://www.progreendiploma.com/. The study program consists of 55 courses, and 87 credit hours.
Another unique feature of the program is that it is offered jointly by three institutions, enriching the experience of students who have the option to take courses at any of the three participating universities. The project is co-financed by an European Union (EU) Tempus grant and AUB's Munib and Angela Masri Institute of Energy and Natural Resources.
The launching event was held on AUB’s Ras Beirut campus. Keynote speakers for the launch event included Alexis Loeber, Head of the Cooperation section of the EU delegation to Lebanon, Ahmad Jammal, director general of the Ministry of Higher Education in Lebanon, Peter Dorman, president of AUB, Lisa Anderson, president of AUC, George Nasr, dean of the School of Engineering at LAU, and Makram Suidan, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at AUB.
Qualifications for admission include English language proficiency and a Bachelor of Science degree. Students completing 18 credit hours, including two required core courses are PRGR 601 Green Economy, Policies and Law and PRGR 602 Green Technologies System Approach to Sustainability and Management, and a project, will receive certification.
AUB President Dorman praised the joint initiative. “This innovative and collaborative program addresses an urgent need for expertise in the latest sustainable technologies, and it allows MENA students to acquire that expertise without having to leave the region,” Dorman said.
"We are delighted to join forces with two prestigious Lebanese universities to offer such special program to the Arab region at a time when the development of alternative fuels, new means of generating energy, and construction of green buildings are much needed,” said AUC President Anderson. “We need to meet the needs of our societies in ways that can continue indefinitely into the future without damaging or depleting natural resources. This professional diploma of green technologies will give an edge to the three universities as pioneers in offering such an important topic, not only in the region, but also in the whole world."
LAU’s Dean Nasr pointed out that the three major regional universities are driven by a common interest for capacity building in the field of green technology. Jammal from the Ministry of Education added that the PROGREEN professional diploma will make the Middle East region more globally competitive in green energy and technology markets.
The PROGREEN project has a well-recognized advisory board, including private sector industry leaders, government affiliates, and International Non-Governmental Organizations, such as Dar Al Handasah (Shair and Partners), the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects, the United Nations Develop Program (UNDP), Lebanese and Egyptian municipal leaders from Beirut, Tripoli and Giza, and many more high profile leaders in the green energy sector.
“The need is great,” says Maroun Khoury, director of Mechanical Engineering and Industryat Dar Al-Handasah Consultants (Shair and Partners). “It is not only a matter of lowering the operation costs for the builders and end users; sustainability is no longer a luxury, it is a serious challenge for saving the earth and the human kind. In few years I can’t imagine a design by architects and engineers done outside green/blue technology and certification. The MENA countries will soon follow the example of North America where sustainable design is a prerequisite for construction permit.” Khoury added, “The initiative taken by AUB, LAU and AUC is a good step taken at the right time, which should help our architects and engineers to acquire the basic knowledge of green technology and prepare themselves for the prevailing design competitiveness.”
The project is led by Nesreen Ghaddar, associate provost and professor of mechanical engineering at AUB. Ghaddar said, “Bringing this project to fruition has been a rewarding challenge. The support of IT staff at AUB has been instrumental for the project, providing training and support for e-learning aspects as well as establishing the needed IT infrastructure and applications. Coordinating with AUC and LAU has been an honor. This collaboration can serve as a model for other projects to follow.”