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November 2020

Louis in reflective construction clothing picks his way through a room in a high rise building filled with rubble. Another high rise building can be seen from the openings of where should be a window, and wire cables can be seen hanging down from the outside of the building.

Louis Abou Nader

MSc Construction Management 2019

1. Tell us about yourself. 

Originally from Achrafieh in Beirut, I have lived there most of my life. I own a travel agency, and also work as a freelancer in the construction management field. On 4 August 2020, the Beirut explosion happened, and I was in the area fixing my car – around 200 metres away. Luckily, I survived the explosion with only bruises and a broken hand. Some of my relatives, friends and friends’ families weren’t so lucky, and I unfortunately lost many due to the explosion which put me in a devastated state of mind. I was helping people in the aftermath with two broken hands (one from an accident 5 days earlier which I had had surgery to correct, the other from the explosion). A few days after the explosion, I received a call from Beirut municipality asking if I could volunteer and lead a Swiss disaster management team, which had been sent immediately to Lebanon by the Swiss Embassy based in Lebanon. Of course, I accepted as I wanted to do anything I could to help my people, my friends and my family. We were allocated a specific area – the red zone, which was the area most affected by the explosion. We closely assessed around 300 buildings, completing the preliminary structural assessment for these buildings to assure the safety of the residents, and then reported our findings to the head of municipality and the police who took direct action to evacuate the buildings under risk to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and the surrounding areas. My physical injuries have not stopped me working day and night to help the people of Beirut and I can only hope my work has been successful.

2. What is your fondest memory at Anglia Ruskin University?

I have a lot of great memories at ARU! However, one day, Dr. Henjewele came to class, surprised by a student's work that he had given the highest grade he has ever given; he did not believe that work had been done by a student alone, and luckily it was my project!

3. What has been your favourite job?

Any challenging work related to construction management, leadership, and problem solving.

4. In one word, how would you describe ARU? 


5. How did your time at Anglia Ruskin help you?

It taught me that no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how tight on money, time, and energy you are, if you have the will and dedication, you can reach the top

6. What did you love about your chosen course?

My course enhanced my knowledge on the construction field, and filled all the technical gaps I needed in order to progress my career.

7. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate? 

The most important things are time management and focus. Manage your week ahead of time and put a timeline in place for every task of your day. Study, workout, hangout with your friends, travel, party, etc. Do not overstress about studying and not having time to live your life; find some time just like I did!

8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying? 

I wish I had known the right path to find a career in the UK as an international candidate. I loved living in the UK, and I lost my chance in doing so, since it is quite hard to recruit international candidates, including Lebanese ones.

9. Who was the biggest influence on your career? 

Myself, more specifically my dedication, curiosity, and fast learning skills.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Do not overstress over things that will fall into place one day. Be patient. 

11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know. 

I have built a future on my own, survived all the challenges that I have encountered, and kept on fighting. I graduated with a distinction from my Master’s degree in Construction Management, got elected as the MSc. Construction management course representative, and the international representative for Chelmsford campus. I was a member of the Scouts for 20 years, and I love helping others and volunteering. Also, I love new challenges and moving to new places and test my survival capabilities.

12. What’s next? 

Who knows! After the tough times we are having in Lebanon, I have learned to live day by day, and see what God has planned for us next