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Former U.S. hostage appointed acting university president in Beirut

December 21, 1996

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Fourteen years after being abducted from the American University of Beirut, former U.S. hostage David Dodge has been appointed its acting president, newspapers reported Saturday.

Dodge, 74, great-grandson of university founder Daniel Bliss, will serve until a permanent president is selected, according to a university statement published in several Beirut dailies.

His appointment follows the resignation of Robert Haddad, a Lebanese-American who had held the post since 1993. Like Haddad, Dodge will serve from New York because of a U.S. travel ban to Lebanon following a wave of kidnappings in the 1980s.

No university president has served in Beirut since the 1984 assassination of president Malcolm Kerr.

Dodge, who was acting university president when he was kidnapped by pro-Iranian gunmen on July 13, 1982, was released a year later in Iran.

A second university employee also was taken hostage, while three others were kidnapped and killed. They were among 92 foreigners abducted during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

The longest-held was Terry Anderson, former chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. Anderson was kidnapped on March 16, 1985, and released in December 1991.

The American University of Beirut, which operates under a charter from the state of New York, was the first to introduce American education to the Middle East.

For generations, it has educated the Arab world’s elite, producing three presidents, 10 prime ministers and more than 100 cabinet ministers and ambassadors.

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