The former head of the Jesuit order left Rome for his new assignment on Sunday 9 March 2008. Father Kolvenbach left the Jesuit headquarters in Rome which had been his base since 1983. The 79-year-old Dutchman returns to the Near East Province to begin a new assignment in Beirut. Fr Kolvenbach last lived in Lebanon when he was Professor of General Linguistics at Université de Saint-Joseph. He hopes to take on scholarly research and pastoral projects.