Entisar Sabbagh, PhD
I was fortunate, when I asked Vivi for her hand in marriage, that she accepted. Through our marriage, I joined the Albanna family and became one of them. The Albanna family was a highly educated and important family in Iraq, respected for their status and service to the community. Vivi's father, Gabriel Albanna, was a founder of Iraq's College of Law, where he was also a professor. Previously he had studied and taught at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Her mother, Georgette, was talented and multilingual. Together, Vivi's parents inspired her and her two brothers with a passion for education. One brother, Sami, has his doctorate, and the other, Faisal, is an MD. Our own two sons follow the tradition, as Hadil has his doctorate and Marwan is an MD. Education is central to the lives of our two grandchildren, as well.
After arriving in the U.S., Vivi chose to put her higher education temporarily on hold to care for our two young children. But over time, as our family moved to several different states, Vivi continued to take courses in education, always searching for what became her ultimate interest, anthropology. In anthropology, Vivi found answers to her boundless curiosity about people, their cultures and their food. When we finally settled in Tucson, Arizona, Vivi finished her undergraduate work, graduating Magna Cum Laude, even as she continued as a full-time mother and wife. Despite the hardship, Vivi progressed to earn her PhD in anthropology.
Vivi is a perfectionist, ambitious, generous, and humanitarian in all her instincts. She is totally dedicated to her alma mater, the University of Arizona, where she has spent many hours as a volunteer in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, especially Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies. Her love and concern for our country of origin, Iraq, prompted Vivi to start the Sabbagh Lecture Series, through the University's Anthropology Department, to celebrate and give back to both the Arab and American cultures. Every year the Series invites prominent professors to deliver state-of-the-art lectures in related subjects.
Vivi has proved to be a quiet, strong and compassionate leader, dealing with others fairly and with good humor. She believes that her greatest strength is her deep loyalty to family and friends, to whom she is unfailingly caring and loving. Vivi cherishes art, music and theater, and remains an avid reader of books. Vivi believes in quiet philanthropy, particularly giving of herself as a volunteer. I am in awe of my great and dear friend, my very special human being. --Adib H. Sabbagh