Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications
LAU extension: 1148
Gabriel Abiad is at the forefront of developing and implementing a strategic communications and marketing program for LAU. In his role as the head of Stratcom, he manages integration across digital and mainstream channels, develops strategic plans to expand the reach and reputation of LAU, and supervises the production of communication vehicles, namely the university’s websites and key publications. Gabriel started his career in the advertising/marketing industry in Lebanon and later moved to Canada where he developed public campaigns for various governmental agencies. Back in Lebanon, he advanced several top brands as a key member of FP7 (Fortune Promoseven) and as marketing director for McDonald’s Lebanon. He has a bachelor’s and an M.B.A. from LAU as well as a graduate diploma in education from Concordia University, Montreal.
Marwan Abi Khalil
Lead Digital Communications Manager
LAU extension: 1989
Marwan Abi Khalil leads the team responsible for developing digital communications, leveraging digital solutions and ensuring continued improvement of the LAU websites. Before joining LAU in February 2019, he was the managing director at Vibrant Lab, a digital marketing agency. He worked as a regional digital director for MMG, a partner agency of Publicis in Qatar, where he developed and executed digital communication strategies for clients across industries, from healthcare and education to aviation and real estate. Earlier in his career, Marwan taught web programming courses at LAU and Haigazian University.
He earned both his BS and MS in Computer Science from LAU, and is a certified professional by the Digital Marketing Institute in London.
Lead Director of Integrated Marketing Communications
LAU extension: 1465
Karina Rodriguez works with a team of five integrated communications professionals who deliver timely projects, create strategic frameworks aligned with the university’s goals, and reorient Stratcom toward a more consultative role within the community. Until August 2018, Karina managed LAU’s main website and directed the team that produced more than 40 websites for the university’s schools and departments over the last 10 years, starting with a major redesign that was rolled out in December 2008. Karina is an LAU graduate in communication arts with a journalism emphasis. Her interest in online communication and information technology spans back to the early days of the World Wide Web. A true Stratcom pioneer, she joined the department when it was known as the Publications Office in 1998, the year after she helped develop LAU’s first website while still a student in 1997. She was also a key part of the founding editorial team of LAU Magazine & Alumni Bulletin, and helped introduce new standards to major university publications. The granddaughter of Lebanese emigrants, she hails from Argentina.
Senior Director of Media and Public Relations
LAU extension: 2871
Nada Torbey joined Stratcom in 2017 as Director of Media and Public Relations after nine years with the Advancement division during which she spearheaded special projects. She now leads a team of social media and public relations experts, oversees the development of LAU’s media relations strategy, evaluates opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising, seeks high-level placements in print, broadcast and social media and leverages existing relationships while cultivating new contacts with prominent media outlets to cover activities and events organized by LAU.
In her previous role as Director of Special projects, she orchestrated the implementation of several media strategies, notably in television, shedding light on LAU’s academic achievements to significantly increase reach, and built a network of local, regional and international media. Prior to joining LAU, she had spent fifteen years at An-Nahar Research Center for Documentation, where she was a key contributor to the creation of its automated archiving and information management system. Nada holds a B.A. in Political Science and Public Administration, and an M.A. in Public Administration, both from AUB.
Lead Director of Creative Services
LAU extension: 1102
As Director of Creative Services, Serge Zahar leads the team that develops original ideas and crafts effective campaigns and communications for the university in various formats such as print, outdoor and TV. Serge comes from the advertising industry, with over 25 years of experience as creative director with renowned multinational advertising agencies across the Middle East such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Memac-Ogilvy, Leo Burnett and DDB KSA. Throughout his career, he developed creative campaigns for a multitude of products in several categories including real estate, finance, house and personal care, automotive and more.
Senior Communications Associate
LAU extension: 1940
Zeina Abdallah plans and manages integrated communications for the schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy, in addition to the Libraries, NY Academic Center, and DIRA. She joined Stratcom in April 2009 from her role as a communications coordinator for the newly established School of Medicine. Prior to LAU, Zeina was at AUB where she earned a BA in Public Administration. She went on to earn a master’s in international affairs from LAU. While at AUB, she worked for the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of English in administrative roles. She was one of the founding members of the Volunteer Outreach Clinic, an NGO that provides primary health care to people in need.
Widad Abou Diab
Lead Web Developer
LAU extension: 1933
Widad Abou Diab joined Stratcom in early 2008 after working for two years as a senior web developer with SABIS Educational Services. In her role, Widad concentrates mainly on programming and system administration to make sure the LAU website is up and running. Her experience spans a wide variety of web tools and technologies that are used to develop, deploy and maintain LAU’s website. Widad has a B.S. in computer science from Notre Dame University.
Nayla Abou Merhi Moujaes
Lead Communications Associate
LAU extension: 2870
Nayla Abou Merhi Moujaes plans and manages integrated communications for the schools of Architecture & Design, Engineering, and Business, in addition to the key departments of Finance, Information Technology, SAC and Facilities Management. She joined Stratcom in 2008 as an account manager, after three years in a similar role at Grey World Wide, a leading global advertising agency, where she handled media relations, communication and PR planning, as well as event management. An LAU graduate with a BS in Business Studies, Nayla went on to pursue her MBA in France, at ESSEC University, as part of a joint venture with Cornell University, Ithaca. She was actively involved in the process to develop and deploy LAU’s re-branding initiative in 2008–2009, including research, planning and implementation activities.
Senior Media & Public Relations Associate
LAU extension: 1958
Pierre Atallah, a seasoned journalist specialized in Middle Eastern politics and social affairs, joined Stratcom as Senior Public Relations Officer in September 2017. He brings a new level of Arabic-language writing and reporting to the team, having served with An-Nahar for 20 years, several of which as a Paris-based international correspondent. He has also worked for the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat and the local newspaper Ad-Diyar. His reporting took him to various locations such as Moscow, Belgrade and Tokyo. He also taught journalism at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, and worked on various public relations campaigns in the political field. Pierre holds a B.A. in Public Administration and Political Science from the American University of Beirut.
LAU extension: 1918
Raissa Batakji covers LAU’s events and showcases the work of the university’s faculty, staff and students. Before joining LAU in April 2018 as senior writer, she managed different Procter and Gamble (P&G) accounts at Leo Burnett Beirut spanning a variety of consumer markets from the Philippines and the Arab Peninsula to Russia and Mexico. Having graduated with a B.A. in Communication Arts with an emphasis on Journalism from LAU in 2009, she began her career as communication manager with Teach For Lebanon, a local non-profit that sends top university students to rural areas in Lebanon to teach at underprivileged schools. From then on, she felt strongly about storytelling, particularly in the context of education, and that passion has been growing ever since.
Lead Communications Associate
LAU extension: 1929
Linda Dahdah plans and manages integrated communications for the School of Arts & Sciences and the Centre for Lebanese Studies, as well as the key offices of the Provost, Alumni Relations, GSR, and HR. She joined Stratcom in 2011 as a senior web editor for the university’s online publications. For two years prior, she was program coordinator at the Basil Fuleihan Institute of Finance, a public institution involved in civil agents’ capacity building. Linda began her career in 2003 as a journalist for the Daily Star and later worked as a program officer for the International Relations and Exchanges Board (IREX), focusing on media development in Yemen, Morocco and Gulf countries. She has freelanced for several news networks and think tanks. She holds a master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy from the French Institut Libre des Etudes de Relations Internationales (ILERI) in Paris. Looking for new experiences brought her to work at the Section of French Interests in Baghdad in 1998, and later to live in China from 2007–2008.
LAU extension: 3456
Chirine El-Mchantaf joined Stratcom in March 2019 as a writer and web content editor for the Adnan Kassar School of Business.
She began her career with Security and Defense Arabia in 2013 as a news writer and went on to become Assistant Managing Editor and Senior Reporter. She also held the position of Middle Eastern Correspondent for US-based Defense News publication. In 2018, she joined Addiyar Newspaper as a news editor and field reporter.
Chirine holds a BA and Masters1 in Journalism from the Lebanese University – Faculty of Information and Documentation II.
LAU extension: 1782
As the art director at Stratcom, Jihane Ghanem is responsible for developing communications concepts and producing visual tools in print and digital formats to promote LAU’s programs and mission while engaging audiences and eliciting responses. She also supervises the creative work of photographers, videographers, designers and multimedia producers.
Jihane joined LAU in April 2018 after working at various agencies such as Y&R, ItsBeirut and Allied Advertising, leading projects for notable clients, the likes of Novartis, Roche, Bank of Beirut, Lebanese Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism and several NGOs.
Jihane earned a master’s degree in Fashion Management and Marketing from IED Madrid in 2016 and a B.S. in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University in 2003.
Senior Communications Specialist
LAU extension: 1917
Sana Kouatly Saneh plans and manages integrated communications for the offices of the President, Development, and HRUS, in addition to the Center for Lebanese Heritage and the Staff Advisory Council. She joined Stratcom in 2011 as executive assistant after years of experience in the administration field. Prior to that she was assistant to the principal of the American Community School (ACS) in Beirut. A competent multitasker and problem solver, she was recognized by the National Honor Society Administrator by the ACS NHS chapter for outstanding accomplishments in the areas of character, leadership, and service. Before ACS, Sana held positions in various businesses, seizing training opportunities in Lebanon and abroad. She earned a BS in Business Studies in 1994 from LAU (then BUC).
Lead Graphic Designer
LAU extension: 1891
As the lead graphic designer at Stratcom, Izzat Kreidieh is responsible for conveying key messages through compelling visuals in promotional and informational materials. In addition, he assists the team in designing a wide variety of branding pieces for numerous university events. Izzat joined Stratcom in February 2017 after working for four years as graphic designer and UI/UX designer at Khatib & Alami, an engineering and geographic information firm. He has also freelanced for various clients including academic institutions, associations, NGOs, private sectors, and publication houses. He earned a BFA in Graphic Design from the American University of Beirut in 2012.
Lead Social Media & Public Relations Associate
LAU extension: 1703
Bert Makadessi joined the team in January 2017 when the former PR and Media Office, where she had worked for 11 years, merged with Stratcom (formerly known as MarCom). In her current role, Bert continues to support LAU’s public relations efforts in their various aspects and oversees the university’s official social media channels, developing strategies to increase brand awareness and public engagement. She also creatively contributes to the production of multimedia content and provides training to junior staff on the use and promotion of social media tools. Bert started her career as a graphic designer, having earned a B.S. in Graphic Design from LAU in 2004.
Dana Haffar Mills
LAU extension: 1990
As senior editor, Dana Haffar Mills is responsible for developing and producing online news content for the LAU website, as well as editing LAU’s flagship publications. She started freelancing for Stratcom (then MarCom) in 2015 before joining the team on a full-time basis in November 2018. She has more than 30 years of editorial experience, having worked in that capacity for multinational companies, publishing firms, and academic institutions such as the Center for Lebanese Studies and Oxford. She has also authored three works of fiction. Dana holds a B.A. in English Literature, summa cum laude, a Teaching Diploma from the American University of Beirut, and an MLitt from Oxford.
LAU extension: 1798
Hanan Nasser joined Stratcom in October 2017 as an associate writer and web content editor for the School of Arts and Sciences. She began her career with The Daily Star in 2001 as a news editor, and went on to become head of the MENA news section. She also copyedited articles for several publications, including the Dubai-based Newsweek Middle East. Hanan holds an MA in Islamic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies–University of London and a BA in Communication Arts, with a minor in journalism, from LAU.
Lead Web Master
LAU extension: 1945
Samah Rifai joined Stratcom in July 2012 after working for five years as a web administrator/developer with the UNDP Project at the Ministry of Administrative Reform. Totaling eight years of experience in the public sector, she supervised and implemented several web projects that supported the online presence of the Lebanese public sector and led the project for the establishment of Website Standards for the Government of Lebanon. As a web manager, her role at the Stratcom involves ensuring the continuity of LAU’s web presence by supporting various tasks such as project coordination, external services, documentation, archiving and evaluation. Samah has a B.S. in computer science from the American University of Beirut and an M.S. in computer science from LAU.
Senior Communications Associate
LAU extension: 1939