On May 13th, a ceremony was held in the courtyard of the Nehme and Therese MS Center and was attended by several current and former ministers, members of Parliament, public figures, and friends and family of HE Nehme and Therese Tohme. The occasion included speeches by President Peter Dorman; Dr. Samia Khoury, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Director of the Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute, and the Nehme and Therese Tohme Multiple Sclerosis Center; HE Mr. Nehme Tohme; and Minister of Public Health, HE Mr. Wael Abu Faour.
In her remarks, Dr. Khoury spoke about the MS Center’s importance in Lebanon and the region. “Since its inception, the Center has worked tirelessly on raising awareness about Multiple Sclerosis, evolving healthcare for patients with the disease, and intensifying local and regional research to determine the causes of the disease and find the best treatment options to slow its development,” she said. “To date, we have treated more than 1,000 people with Multiple Sclerosis. This achievement would not have been possible without the concerted efforts that support the Center.”
Khoury emphasized the role philanthropy plays in the advancement of research, education, and training to ensure the best possible healthcare for patients with MS. “The Lebanese have proven to be leaders and pioneers in research and development, and we hope those efforts will continue through this Center,” she said. “Our work at the Multiple Sclerosis Center has succeeded thanks to your support and faith, especially H.E. Tohme and Mrs. Therese, whose support will further enhance the Center’s role, both in the present and in the future.”
President Dorman stressed the importance of creating centers of excellence as part of the AUBMC 2020 Vision, highlighting “how our great and historic medical center is advancing its leadership role in health education and research and in serving the healthcare needs of our local and regional communities.” He added, “In all things, Nehme Tohme is an exemplar of the engaged citizen that AUB strives to produce: he is successful in his chosen career, a leader in the community, and a model of ethical and humane behavior in his personal and professional life.” President Dorman also acknowledged Mr. Mu’taz Sawwaf, who was instrumental in making this transformative gift a reality.
HE Tohme spoke of Lebanon’s leadership in several research areas, particularly in subjects related to the well-being of society, adding, "It's not the first time that the Lebanese are contributing to creating innovations in the world and in the region.” He thanked the American University of Beirut for the cutting-edge facility which will bear his and his wife’s name, and everyone who is involved in the Center. HE Tohme expressed his hope that the Lebanese people will always strive to better serve their country.
HE Wael Abou Faour commented on "the increasing incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in Lebanon, and the need to decrease the lack of knowledge around MS in the community, especially at the medical level, by increasing awareness and research.”
He added that by focusing on research as well as treatment, the Nehme and Therese Tohme MS Center provides “a model we desperately need in the medical industry across all sectors.”