The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) is a private Catholic higher education institution founded by the Lebanese Maronite Order (LMO) in 1938. It is, thus, the first university which was established upon a Lebanese initiative and by Lebanese citizens (in this case by the LMO monks). From that moment, these monks, who had been entrusted with a teaching mission for more than three centuries, have undertaken the management of USEK. Their remit was to provide university teaching, in conformity with the requirements of the labour market and in close association with scientific research.
Being a national institution, USEK has brought its teachings and curricula into line with the official requirements of the Lebanese state, which acknowledges the diplomas it delivers. Furthermore, USEK remains careful in achieving a synthesis of tradition and modernism in the educational options it offers, while remaining true to a Christian humanism, which is imprinted on the overall education it provides.
Located in a Middle Eastern milieu, in addition to its educational mission, USEK is committed to the preservation and promotion of the Maronite cultural heritage and the creation of a community spirit, in which the spiritual, civic and ethical values of respecting the other and their beliefs prevail.
Due to the pressure to democratize higher education, the university is deploying necessary efforts to fight exclusion and abide by a non-elitist policy, albeit without making any concessions with regard to the quality of education. The establishment of decentralized regional centres (in Zahle, Chekka and Rmeich) thus springs out of the wish to implement the right to higher education.
USEK has adapted well in light of soaring socioeconomic development and has created new vocational specializations, in order to diversify its education and meet the needs of the labour market. Its objectives also include the installation of welcoming and service-oriented infrastructures which rely on new information and communication technologies. USEK is concerned with the modernization of administrative procedures and academic systems, and also with providing continuous training.
USEK is located in the heart of Mount Lebanon; it is multilingual by tradition, and mainly a French-speaking institution. Thanks to an extremely dense network of national and international relations, it plays a key role in training highly-qualified researchers and professionals.
Nowadays, USEK welcomes more than 7,500 students across its eleven faculties and four institutes; i.e. fifteen academic units which offer a broad array of high-level diversified education.
USEK’s motto: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the whole truth.” (Jn 16:13)
Since its founding, USEK seeks, and in accordance with the Article 92 of the Constitutions of the OLM (ed. 2012) and the social teaching of the Catholic Church on universities, to contribute to the development of all its students through quality educational programs and research in various fields of study. By providing a high-quality American-style education to its students, USEK intends to prepare future leaders for innovation, professional growth and life-long learning, in Lebanon, within the Middle East and throughout the world. USEK is committed to a faith-based educational development of its students rooted in the Catholic tradition whereby spiritual values and ethics, as well as respect for cultural and religious pluralism, are promoted.
Why Choose USEK?
The diplomas delivered by USEK are officially authenticated by the Lebanese state. Curricula are developed in such a way as to prepare future graduates to enter the labour market, by combining theoretical courses with practical work (lab work, traineeships, research projects and multidisciplinary team creation projects, etc.), in addition to providing the basic general knowledge needed to equip graduates within vocational circles and within society. A wide choice of hi-tech training and specialisations, which are adapted to the labour market needs and to the community’s requirements, are offered to the students enrolled in USEK’s ten faculties and four institutes.
Studies in USEK are based on the modular system of units which are accounted for on a half-year basis, or “credits”. By adopting this system, the University is complying with the regulations stipulated by the Lebanese state and with the provisions that were recently adopted in European universities, while also remaining compatible with the system in force in US and Canadian universities. In addition, the adoption of such a structure enables students to enjoy flexibility on all levels of the academic and financial management of the prospective degree courses. It also enables :
- Promotion of students’ mobility in Lebanon and abroad: Credits can be accumulated and transferred from one university to another.
- Personalisation of the students’ training: The academic course of each student is adapted to his(her) personal and vocational project.
- Flexible Organisation of the semester: Students are allowed the freedom to choose the number of credits (while abiding by the minimum and maximum numbers set by the University) and the courses taken during the semester (out of a group of courses that are required for a given curriculum), thus enabling them to ameliorate the manner in which they set their schedule.
- Development of close pedagogical support: The follow-up and support provided by the teachers are reinforced by the fact that, thanks to this system, education is centred on the students.
- The offer of diversified courses to students: This system promotes a multidisciplinary approach, as well as exchanges within and among disciplines.
- Facilitation reorientation: Thanks to the establishment of links among the various education courses that are proposed, students can easily change their curriculum without losing all their achievements.
USEK has always been interested in research activities, as proven by the international magazines published by the University (Melto, Parole de l’Orient), the annals and proceedings of high-level conferences and seminars held at USEK, in addition to the numerous publications, which are the result of individual or collective research works and which – by and large – pertain to a broad theme of diversification, namely that of the Lebanese and Near-Eastern heritage (musical, theological, liturgical, literary, legal, historic, architectural, technical, scientific, etc.). In this context, exchanges within and among disciplines are promoted, thus establishing links among USEK’s faculties and institutes, in order to achieve better collaboration. Moreover, the University has access to much resource equipment, earmarked for research activities and which is put at the disposal of teachers/researchers and students.
Due to its youth, USEK is asserting itself as a source of dynamism and vitality, as proven by its continuous expansion, its modern buildings and its computerization. The new information and communication technologies, which have become first-class learning tools, are wholly embedded in USEK and used in all disciplines. All lecture halls are connected to the Internet and USEK’s intranet, and many are equipped with an innovative multimedia system. Faculties and institutes are also equipped with several hi-tech laboratories. For instance, the Market Hall, which is located within the Faculty of Business and Commercial Sciences, is one of the most important among Arab universities, in terms of surface area and equipment. This hall, which receives a real-life financial data feed, is linked to the information and analysis of the Reuters financial information agency and encompasses 20 operational computers. Hence, the students are provided with professional equipment similar to the one used in the Trading departments of major international banks.
Due to its history, its geographical location, its dynamism and its reputation in the fields of education and training, Lebanon attracts a high number of students, mainly from the Middle East, but also from Europe and North America. The teaching body also reflecting this cultural diversity, which characterizes USEK, is a source of enrichment and generates a convivial ambience. USEK’s international dimension is also revealed through several projects, seminars and other cultural activities, which USEK is committed to, in partnership with foreign higher education institutions. These exchanges and joint works are the fruit of 81 cooperation conventions signed between USEK and foreign institutions. Thanks to these agreements, students enrolled at USEK are able to conduct their researchers within the framework of a joint direction or supervision. Furthermore, the students may benefit from the option of undergoing training for one or two semesters in one of the partner universities. Finally, USEK proposes several specialisations in which the student is awarded a dual diploma (i.e. the diploma delivered is signed both by USEK and by the partner university).
Community life at USEK is about human proximity relations among the students, the teachers and the administrative staff, in a climate of reciprocal respect and responsible freedom. The University is characterised by a genuine spirit of solidarity and support, thanks to which, solid bonds of friendship are formed. Having grown accustomed to the complexity and requirements of higher education, USEK is, therefore, striving to recruit teachers who have high qualifications in their field of specialisation, as well as the wish to be ethically committed within the service of young students. USEK’s main campus is located in Jounieh, which borders the bay bearing the same name, along with the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Jounieh is a cosmopolitan city, which has a radiant history, archaeology, natural beauty, leisure and sports activities and numerous amusement centres. The University’s premises combine tradition with modernism and offer an agreeable and calm environment which favours thinking and studying.
USEK cultivates a strong feeling of belonging among its students, thanks to its welcoming student life and the multiple services it offers them. Hence, outside the framework of courses, student life in USEK takes several shapes and offers new occasions to develop new competencies and knowledge and build a large network of contacts: a student magazine, social associations and clubs, pastoral work, cultural trips, student parties, etc. Since the University is keen on emphasizing the culture of the body as well as that of the mind, it also offers students a broad choice of sports activities. The program includes basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, table tennis, oriental dance, yoga, ski, etc. In addition, USEK has several sports teams, which take part regularly in competitions among universities, as well as in national and international championships.
As higher education became widespread and the socioeconomic crisis in the country grew harsher, USEK has set the following objectives for itself:
- Make higher education accessible to all equally, without discrimination and, most importantly, without excluding economically deprived students;
- Preserve the quality of its students’ education and training, so as to enable them to better live in society and in their vocational sphere.
USEK is keen on keeping its fees affordable and provides its most destitute students with financial aid and payment facilities. Scholarships are also allotted to the most deserving students. Several offices and services have been put at the students’ disposal, in order to provide them with support, a listening ear, counsel and orientation. These include The Social Service Office, the University Pastoral Work, the Students’ Affairs Office, the Orientation and Admission Office, the Infirmary, etc.
USEK’s main campus is located in Jounieh, 15 km to the north of the Lebanese capital Beirut, 10 km to the south of Byblos (Jbeil) and 50 km to the south of Tripoli. It can be easily and rapidly accessed using public transportation . Furthermore, its three regional university centres, which are located further inland (in Zahlé, Chekka and Rmeich) are teaching outposts for the students who are unable to go to the central campus.
This school offers programs in: