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University of Balamand

ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts) - University of Balamand

Lebanon Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

The Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) is the first national institution for higher education in Lebanon. Since its creation in 1944, ALBA stands out as a leader in the field of Fine Arts and Design in the Middle-East. In 1988, it joins the University of Balamand. ALBA has been a pioneer in implementing innovative study programs maintaining its curricula at the leading edge of progress; these include: Architecture, Fine Arts, Interior Architecture, Global Design, Graphic Design, Cinema and Television, Urban Planning, and Landscape Architecture. This variety of programs offers students a unique educational experience through a multidisciplinary teaching approach thus stimulating their creativity. Teaching at ALBA is undertaken by prominent local and international professionals and academics from various renowned institutions to which ALBA is connected to through several cooperation agreements which serve to promote students’ mobility. Moreover, the participation in international workshops, be them in Lebanon or abroad, gives the students the opportunity to challenge their ideas and discover new ways of sound analytical and critical thinking methods. In 2004, ALBA adopts the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in order to mainstream its programs with existing international educational platforms. Teaching in ALBA is mainly project-driven thus encouraging students to combine both theory and practice in a critical approach. This method is nurtured by several research programs implemented in various departments. Classes at ALBA are human-sized which allows students to receive a tailored and personalized follow-up. ALBA is strongly committed to excellence, innovation, and public support through mutual dialogue and participation with the Community of Lebanon represented through academic and public institutions, as well as the civil society. ALBA’s long-established professional network provides students with high-end employment opportunities tailored to local, regional, and international labor markets. Through their internationally renowned projects and the prizes awarded to them, ALBA’s graduates and Alumni alike bear witness to its well-acclaimed success.

International Role

For over 20 years now, ALBA has developed and established partnerships with a network of international like-minded institutions. The various educational partnerships were implemented through the different schools within the academy by developing strong bonds with institutions in France, Russia, Poland and Canada – to name a few. Intended to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and know-how, these partnerships allow: – Facilitating student and faculty exchanges – Organizing joint workshops – Creating shared artistic projects – Hosting keynote speakers for conferences – Organizing research colloquiums Every year, ALBA aims to establish more contacts with new schools and institutions to expand even more its network. This open exchange policy allows the students of ALBA to measure their work in different contexts and approaches, allowing for a more enriching curriculum. The academy also facilitates the participation of its students in several international events such as competitions, festivals, residencies, etc. during which the students have often been rewarded for their innovative work. A full list of our academic partners can be viewed here (http://alba.edu.lb/french/ecoles-d%E2%80%99arts-partenaires-de-l%E2%80%99ALBA-)

National Role

ALBA often participates and spearheads urban planning and design projects as well as architectural heritage preservation initiatives in collaboration with local municipalities (Saida, Tripoli, Chekka and Souk el Gharb). The academy also contributes to projects of restoration and preservation of historical and artistic heritage in partnership with the Lebanese ministry of culture such as setting-up a virtual museum for the art collection of the ministry. Other research projects include collaborations with local universities over topics such as ‘the audiovisual heritage of the Lebanese war’ in partnership with IESAV (Institut d'études scéniques audiovisuelles) and the “religious heritage’ in partnership with USEK (Holy Spirit University of Kaslik). ALBA also collaborates with local NGOs in organizing and hosting conferences and debates for instance a series of talks around ‘Simone de Beauvoir’ in collaboration with local NGO ‘Helem’. Similarly, ALBA has developed and nurtured long lasting partnerships to organize seminars, exhibitions and activities with several international cultural institutions such as the French cultural institute in Beirut, the Goethe institute, and others. ALBA plays an active role with local associations since Dean Professor André Bekhazi was the head of the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects for several years, and he and Ziad Akl –head of institute of Urban Planning at ALBA– are board members of the Urban Planning Association. Finally, through research ALBA has contributed to the revision of some laws and regulations in coordination with the Bar Association regarding Urban-planning regulations.

Main Focus

The Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) offers multidisciplinary curriculums with a large emphasis on versatility, creativity, one-on-one follow-up, project-based learning, and excellence. Programs proposed at ALBA target a multidisciplinary approach across all artistic languages with the objective of allowing students to master all tools capable of developing their creativity. In every department at ALBA, classes are tailored to the number of students where they benefit from a one-on-one personalized educational support from their professors. The pedagogy at ALBA focuses on a hands-on approach with emphasis on applied studio work. On the individual scale, this allows students to understand theory through practice; on the group level, this creates opportunities for shared experiences through teamwork and collaboration. Our fundamental goal at ALBA is to offer curricula that develop specialized know-how in the professional practice of our students and push them to achieve their maximum potential in their chosen careers – locally and internationally.

Faculties and Departments

School of visual arts School of architecture School of decorative arts Department of Graphic design and advertising Department of Interior design Department of Design School of cinema and audiovisual directing Institute of urban planning School of Fashion Design

Bachelor Level Programs

BA in Visual Arts BA in graphic design and advertising BA in illustration and comics BA in 2D-3D animation BA in graphic design: multimedia BA in photography BA in audiovisual directing BA in product design BA in landscape architecture BA in interior architecture BA in Fashion Design

Master Level Programs

MA in Visual Arts ‘DES en architecture’ MA in graphic design and advertising MA in illustration and comics MA in 2D-3D animation MA in graphic design: multimedia MA in photography MA in Global Design MA in cinema directing MA in audiovisual production MA in special effects MA in TV directing MA in Urban Design MA in Landscape architecture MA in interior architecture

Research Activity and Main Areas

– Exploring the potential of craftsmanship and the revitalization of a sector in decline using inclusive design methods – Architecture and Cinema: the history of theater – Preservation of modern heritage in architecture – The religious heritage of Lebanon – Community geographies and urban strategies of religious and political groups – Urban legislation – Informal neighborhoods – Artistic activity in times of conflict and post-conflict – New artistic practice in the middle-east – Cinema around the Mediterranean coast – Introducing ‘Design Thinking’ in new sectors; such as the educational infrastructure in Lebanon and the Middle-East – Integrating systems thinking and storytelling to address conflict – Subjective mapping and the perception of spaces and the city – Investigating the decline of heritage and the rise of gentrification: the case of the stairs of Mar Mikhael in the district of Beirut

Doctorate Level Programs

Phd in urban planning – in collaboration with Université Paris-Est Marne la vallée.

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

Visual Arts – Architecture – Design – Audiovisual Directing – Graphic Design – Fashion

Application Deadlines

June 15 for the First Semester December 15 for the Second Semester

Teaching Languages

French English (for certain majors)

Semester Dates

September 15 till January 30 February 10 till June 30

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

approximately USD 2500 (€2080)


Bachelor: 571
Master: 291
Doctorate: 3

Exchange Students

Incoming: 10
Outgoing: 3

Teaching Staff

Professors: 39
Part-time Teachers: 233

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