The Said Foundation held its 2013 annual dinner on Saturday 20 April 2013 at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London.
The dinner was attended by over 40 students currently being supported by the Said Foundation. This included students from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria who are taking postgraduate courses in a variety of subjects at the Foundation’s partner universities across the UK. Also in attendance were students from countries as wide-ranging as the UK, Argentina, India, Australia and Canada who are being supported for MBAs and DPhils at the Said Business School at Oxford University.
The dinner was also attended by Mr Mazen Homoud, His Excellency the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; the eminent author on Middle Eastern affairs, Mr Patrick Seale; editor of Al-Hayat newspaper, Mr Jihad Khazen and representatives of the Foundation’s partner universities and project partners.
Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of the Said Business School, addressed guests on behalf of the School and the Foundation’s Chairman, Wafic Said, paid tribute to him, saying: “In less than two years, he has mapped out a future for the School which, I believe, will make it a model for what a great business school should be in today’s complex world.”
Current Said Foundation student, Yasmin Mounajed, who is from Syria, talked about her hopes for free and independent media in a post-conflict Syria.
Wafic Said also spoke about the situation in Syria, describing it as “one of unimaginable horror.” He expressed his great sadness that the situation had forced the Foundation to suspend its long-term work in Syria on education, disability and health and talked about the humanitarian assistance the Foundation is giving to support the emergency relief needs of Syrian refugees. He reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to Syria, saying: “However long this takes, we intend, as a priority, to continue to assist the refugees. And, when we can, we intend, as a priority, to help build a better future for the Syrian people.”
At the end of the evening, Wafic Said awarded the Foundation’s 2013 Alumni Achievement Prize to former scholar, Rouba Sleiman, a Palestinian from Lebanon and presented her with a prize of $20,000. Rouba was honoured for her academic achievements and her contribution to development in her home country.
Entertainment was provided throughout the evening by acclaimed young pianist, Riyad Nicolas, who was partially supported by the Said Foundation for his studies at the Royal Academy of Music.