In a meeting this month, executives from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) operations of Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) extended the offer of a matching grant for classroom or laboratory technology facilities worth up to USD $500,000 to Dr. Joseph Jabbra, President of the Lebanese American University (LAU).

Once ratified by both parties, the joint investment from Sun would assist LAU in achieving its goal of building new academic and research labs, especially for its medical and pharmacy schools. This deployment is expected to take place in 2006. LAU has specified that technology deployment will play a critical role in the success of its recently-completed strategic plan. During the meeting in Dubai between Dr. Jabbra and Sun MENA’s managing director, Chris Cornelius, Sun also extended additional support to LAU’s computer science and engineering schools, specifically in the areas of grid and high performance computing.

‘Central to Sun’s regional strategy is the ability to empower educators with the latest software and hardware solutions, and we are offering LAU a matching grant as well as number of strategic programs that provide technology access to the broadest range of students effectively and affordably,’ said Sun’s Cornelius.

‘Issues ranging from digital asset management of thousands of student records to ensuring that graduates have marketable employment skills are challenges currently facing the MENA education community, and our partnership with organizations such as LAU demonstrate that Sun is doing its part to integrate technology into the region’s curriculum, and help create a tech-savvy regional workforce,’ added Tarek Ayass, Sun MENA’s Regional Manager, Education and Research.

In addition to the matching grant, LAU and Sun officials also discussed the Sun Academic Initiative, aimed at introducing students to Sun Microsystems technologies, preparing them for industry-leading certification, and equipping them with marketable IT job skills. Sun also offered LAU its latest software technology with no-cost licensing — Sun EduSoft Academic Edition would provide LAU teachers, students, and campus IT staff with unrestricted access to Sun software, enabling them to evaluate, test and develop applications powered by Sun.

‘LAU’s approach to technology has two primary pillars – we use technology at the heart of our research efforts across all of the different disciplines and curricula being taught at the University, and we also have specific engineering and IT programmers for students interested in those fields. Partnering with education-focused technology market leaders like Sun enables LAU to deliver the latest solutions to our students, and we are delighted with the matching grant offer to equip our labs as part of LAU’s strategic growth plan,’ said Dr. Jabbra.