Broadcaster Jennings, cellist Yo-Yo Ma honored at AUB

Broadcaster Jennings, cellist Yo-Yo Ma honored at American University of

.c The Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – ABC News anchor Peter Jennings and cellist
Yo-Yo Ma picked up honorary doctoral degrees Saturday at the American
University of Beirut and paid tribute to the school as a place to turn
for cultural understanding.

Jennings, anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings,
spent time as a newsman in Beirut in the late 1960s and early
1970s. He noted the United States has found it challenging to win the
hearts and mind of people in the region.

“I’ll go back to the United States and remind my colleagues that if
we want better understanding we can go back and spend just a little
time on this campus talking to all the people,” he said. The
university has been a meeting point of ideas and people from the
Middle East and West for more than a century.

Jennings, the Toronto-born son of a Canadian radio announcer, dropped
out of high school before launching his career in journalism. He
served as ABC News bureau chief in Beirut for seven years.

AUB President John Waterbury jokingly forgave Jennings for his limited
formal education. Receiving the Doctorate in Humane Letters, Jennings
opened the folder containing the document and quipped: “It’s true. I
have one.”

Receiving his Humane Letters doctorate, Ma spoke about how music
transcends borders. He picked up his cello and played a few minutes of
Bach that he offered “to the amazing history and accomplishments of

Also honored at the ceremony were Sir Michael Atiyah, a British
mathematician of Lebanese father and Scottish mother, and Vartan
Gregorian, an Iranian-born educator and philanthropist who moved to
Beirut at age 15 and studied at the Armenian College before studying
and later teaching at several U.S. universities.

AUB was founded in 1866 by Christian missionary Dr. Daniel Bliss as
the Syrian Protestant College and later became nonsectarian and
independent. The prestigious institution educated many Arab
politicians. It survived Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war despite being
targeted by a car bomb and the assassination of its president.


06/26/04 09:35 EDT