Dr. Wassim El Hajj is the founding rector of the American University of Beirut – Mediterraneo (AUB Mediterraneo), a position he has held since January 1, 2023, and a professor of computer science at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He oversees the strategic academic development of the university, the operation of school and academic support units, the growth and expansion of academic offerings, the advancement of research programs, and the effectiveness of quality assurance policies and procedures. El Hajj led the effort to draft AUB Mediterraneo’s vision, mission, charter, staffing plan, policies and bylaws, and development plan.
El Hajj received his BS from AUB (in 2000), and his MS (2002) and PhD (2006) from Western Michigan University, all in computer science. He spent three years at United Arab Emirates University as an assistant professor (2006-09) before joining the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at AUB as a visiting assistant professor in January 2010. He was appointed a full-time faculty member of the Computer Science Department in 2011. In 2013, he was elected to chair the department, a position he held until 2019. El Hajj also served as associate dean of the AUB Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 2019 to 2021, and as executive director of AUB’s twin campus project in 2021 and 2022. He was promoted to associate professor in 2014, awarded tenure in 2019, and promoted to professor in 2021.
El Hajj’s research interests are in the areas of machine learning with a focus on Arabic natural language processing, wireless communications, and network security. His research activities have culminated in 20 research grants worth more than $3 million, two US patents, 34 journal publications, and 67 refereed conference publications. In January 2022, he co-founded the ACL Special Interest Group on Arabic Natural Language Processing (SIGARAB), which became the largest community of Arabic NLP researchers within less than a year.