Certificates of achievement awarded to Palestinian graduates whose studies were funded by an EU scholarship

09 September 2012

Beirut
07 September 2012

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the European Union today have awarded certificates of achievement to 51 Palestinian students who successfully completed their university studies thanks to a generous contribution by the European Union Scholarship Fund for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.

The certificates were handed over the head of the EU Delegation to Lebanon‘s cooperation section Mr. Diego Escalona Paturel, and the acting Director of UNRWA Affairs Mr. Roger Davies, in the presence of Mr. Maher Mshayel from the Embassy of Palestine as well as representatives of other diplomatic missions in Lebanon.

Thanks to the scholarship programme funded by the European Union, 344 qualified Palestine refugee students have been able to pursue higher education at universities in Lebanon since 2005, directly increasing their chances of future employment.

Thanking the European Union for their continuous support, Davies said: “These scholarships are immensely important for young Palestinians in Lebanon. Because of the economic situation of Palestine refugees in Lebanon, most students would not be able to afford to go to university if it was not for them.”

In his address to the scholars, Escalona Paturel stated: “Until now, more than 344 Palestinian students have been granted a Scholarship within the framework of the UNRWA - EU Fund. EU support to this programme will continue in the coming years through the launching of a fourth edition of the Scholarship Fund and an investment of an additional 4 million Euros to further contribute to providing opportunities for a better life to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon”.

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Tarek Hamid said: “Without these scholarships, our future would have been different. Without the European Union believing in us, our future would have been different. Today, we have achieved part of our dream, but we are faced with the biggest challenge, which is finding a good job that is up to our expectations and capabilities”.

UNRWA received 671 applications for scholarships from Palestinian students throughout Lebanon for the 2011-2012 academic year. Out of these, 75 were selected for funding by the European Union.

UNRWA continues to try to raise funds from additional sources for the scholarship programme to give the opportunities to more Palestinian students to pursue their education.

The European Union is UNRWA’s leading donor and has a long standing history of supporting UNRWA through its regular budget, emergency appeals and projects. In addition to the EUR 8.3 million granted for scholarships since 2005 to UNRWA Lebanon, the EU has contributed to the Agency in 2011 around EUR 41.65 million in projects and appeals and EUR 82.46 million to UNRWA’s general fund.

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Not an official document
For more information please contact UNRWA Public Information Office tel/fax: 01-840468,
e-mail: h.samra@unrwa.org

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

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