Saint-Joseph University of Beirut
Saint-Joseph University (USJ) is a private Lebanese university that was established in 1875.
The University’s mission, vision, and values are defined in its Charter. They revolve around two main axes: teaching and research, but there also exists a third axis of civic engagement.
In that sense, USJ is a teaching and research institution. It promotes excellence and aims to mold its students into the best of the country and region, thereby opening wide the doors of opportunity for them. Not only that, but it also seeks to promote dialogue through biculturalism and plurilingualism, all while remaining a safe haven for reflection and character building.
The Charter requires that all members of the university community be committed to advocating personal freedom while still being open to spiritual engagement. Members of all religious denominations, whose very plurality is idiosyncratic to Lebanese society, are called upon to take part in this advocacy, which implies an underlying theme of mutual respect and knowledge. The Charter also states that USJ serves all members of the community, regardless of social and ethnic distinctions, which explains the importance it accords to maintaining diversity in its faculty and student body. USJ refuses to follow one ideology, opting instead to make it’s campuses an open space for dialogue and exchange of information so as long as no freedoms are infringed and no academic activities are disrupted. It hopes to act as leaven to the society it belongs to.
USJ also accords great importance to its “third mission” mentioned earlier: civic engagement. The university is a pioneer in this field, having taken exemplary initiatives such as but not limited to the following:
- The system of proportional representation used during student elections in order to better represent all political sides and encourage more people to participate in democratic life
- The “Opération 7ème jour” volunteer program that promotes civic engagement and the learning of social, national, and human values
The cultural activities organized by the diverse student bodies; these enable everyone to showcase their skills and talents, making student life that much more lively.