For Immediate Release
    May 11, 2018
    Contact: Communication and Alumni Relations Office
    Rafik Hariri University
    009615603090 Ext. 603 - 755

    Building academic bridge to Germany and Celebrating a Home- Grown Innovator at Rafik Hariri University

    In the presence of the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Martin Huth, the General Director of Higher Education in Lebanon, Dr. Ahmad Jammal, and Mrs. Salwa Siniora Baasiri, Director General of Rafik Hariri Foundation and members of the Board of Trustees, Rafik Hariri University (RHU) and Deggendorff Institute of Technology (DIT) signed a MoU at RHU campus on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.


    The agreement was signed by RHU President, Dr. Ahmad Smaili, and DIT President, Dr. Peter Sperber. Mr. Elias Assouad, the president of the Lebanese German Business Council (LGBC), Ms. Bahar Sayas., the head of the DAAD in Lebanon, Mr. Ayman Shehade, the president of Marie Goeppert- Mayer Incubator (MGMI)  witnessed the signing ceremony, and the MGMI Board Members.  


    In their speeches, Dr. Smaili and Dr. Sperber noted that the MoU between DIT and RHU is a testimony to the institutions’ commitment to bridge the gap and build a lasting and constructive academic collaboration among students, researchers and entrepreneurs on both sides who seek to improve the world around them through innovation. Both presidents echoed the important role of academics and the collective effort across boundaries to extend the possibility of create innovative solutions to the interconnected problems facing the world.


    Mr. Martin Huth, the ambassador of the German Embassy, congratulated RHU and DIT on the signing of this partnership agreement and wished both institutions great success. He added that such collaboration will contribute to strengthening the relationship between Lebanon and Germany at the scientific, academic, social and economic levels.


    RHU Alumnus Receives the Martyr Rafik Hariri Honorary Shield


    During the signing ceremony, the president of RHU Board of Trustees and the president of Rafik Hariri Foundation, Mrs. Nazik Rafik Hariri bestowed the Martyr Rafik Hariri Honorary Shield upon RHU alumnus and inventor Mr. Wassim Hariri in recognition of  his exceptional achievement; he was named the “Grand Champion” of the 2018 Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST Net) Tech-I Competition, which was sponsored by the State Department of the United States on April 19, 2018.


    The inscription on the shield read: "Through education and innovation nations prosper, a token of appreciation and admiration to the Engineer Wassim Hariri for his distinction and scientific innovation and for embodying the qualities of enlightened thought and educational merit in line with Martyr Rafik Hariri’s goals and national vision.”


    The aim of the GIST initiative is both to support young innovators and entrepreneurs, through networking, skill building, mentoring, and access to financing, and to help them build successful startups that present solutions to economic and development challenges.


    Mr. Hariri expressed gratitude to Mrs. Hariri’s initiative and to RHU for their continuous support. He added that "the dream of Martyr Rafik Hariri will forever live inside every young man and woman who values the significance of knowledge and education."


    Wassim received an international provisional patent for SASHA (Smart Autonomous System for Hospital Assistance), which is a robot that autonomously deliver food to hospital patients. Using advanced robotics technology, SASHA picks up the patient-specific meal and delivers it on-time to the patient’s bed without human interference, hence saving hospital staff considerable time which could be utilized to provide better healthcare and minimize the chances of human error.


    SASHA was not the only winning achievement for Wassim, he also received on January 31, 2018 the silver medal in the 10th International Invention Fair in the Middle East (IIFME) in which 139 inventors from 39 different countries participated. Besides, Wassim’s invention was ranked among the top six innovations by the jury of the Stars of Science Innovation Reality TV Show during the 2017 season.


    Mr. Wassim El Hariri, 24 years old, earned a bachelor degree in Mechatronics at Rafik Hariri University in 2014 and a master’s degree in Automation and Robotics from Politecnico di Torino in Italy. Wassim is currently pursuing an online MBA at the University of California, Irvine. Wassim completed his master's thesis project at InSystems Automation in Berlin. The project that was sponsored by the German government for passport transportation led to the "Development of a ROS software for Omni Directional Spherical Wheel Robot".


    Mr. Hariri is currently an international project manager at InSystems Automation in Berlin. It is specialized in innovative solutions for customers around the world using Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) used for industrial transportation. He completed projects for top leading companies such as P&G, Continental, SAA in different countries within Europe and Asia.


    His passion in robotics started at an early age and grew during his undergraduate studies at RHU, where he worked on many mechatronics projects including firefighting quadcopter, smart house, and stepper motor driven sun-ray tracking system among others.


    Wassim is determined to pass his experience on to young engineers and aspired entrepreneurs who share his passion to create a sustainable planet and be positive change agents in the world around them. “People should realize that if they have an idea that will do a change in this world, their ideas will live longer than they do. And it's really important that we need all of these ideas now!” he said.


    Wassim’s achievement is yet another shining example of the Lebanese youth’s ability to impact the world through creativity and innovation.  His achievement also emphasizes the all-important role of higher education - nurturing students’ creative capacities and giving them access to the resources they need to unleash their intrinsic motivation and deliver innovations to the world.

    Reflecting and feeling proud of Wassim’s achievement, RHU President, Dr. Ahmad Smaili, said, “A person once said that freedom works best when it pursues difficult goals. We often celebrate innovators from a distant land because any creativity that contributes to the elevation of humanity deserves celebration, but to celebrate innovators from our country is something to be proud of. “


    Congratulations to Wassim, to RHU, and to Lebanon! 

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