By Ghinwa Akiki

A Foundation of Faith and Service 

Rooted in Community: Alice Azar’s Journey at BBS  

As Alice Azar, the Principal, enters the school doors, a warmth fills her. It is another ordinary day at Beirut Baptist School, a ministry of Thimar-LSESD, located in Msaytbeh, Beirut. This isn’t any workplace for her; it’s more of a home.  

Alice was born and raised in this very neighborhood, and received her education at BBS, and even her church, Beirut Baptist Church, sits right on the school campus. Her passion for serving this community stems from a lifetime of belonging.  

BBS is where she built memories and witnessed the city’s resilience during the brutal civil war of 1975. When clashes erupted between different religious groups, many Christians fled, and the latter dramatically changed the demographics of  Msaytbeh. On the contrary, Alice and her grandfather were among the few who continued attending church despite the war, as their home was located in the same neighborhood . Moreover, her devotion to spreading the message of Jesus and preserving the Gospel’s presence in this city outweighed any fear of the surrounding dangers. 

Here she is today, at her office, handling a familiar problem at school: during a field trip, a student arrived at school breaking the policy of not wearing the school uniform and running late to catch the school bus. Alice made a firm decision, clearly not allowing the student to join the group, teaching consequences to a high schooler. After making her point clear to the mother, she extended grace and permitted the student to go. “To be a school principal, I believe you need to embrace the fact that it’s not just about the job description you have,” Alice tells us as she walks towards the Chapel to join the high school students. “We have to parent, teach, and sometimes even exceed our roles.” 

In a context where leadership has been associated with masculine figures over time, women have gradually aimed to shatter this stereotype, proving their capabilities and aptitudes for leadership.