The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the European Union awarded full university scholarships to 50 high-achieving Palestine refugee students in Lebanon. The scholarships were made possible by a generous contribution from the EU’s Scholarship Fund for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.
Certificates were handed over to the students by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union
to Lebanon H.E. Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in
Lebanon Ann Dismorr.
Palestine refugees in Lebanon and have very limited access to public educational facilities, and their workforce is substantially underemployed. There are distinct signs that this situation is weakening the commitment to education of many young Palestinians in the country; school dropout rates are high, as many see no purpose in continuing their study.
Thanks to the scholarship programme, since 2005 418 qualified Palestine refugee students have been able to pursue their higher academic education at universities in Lebanon, thereby increasing their chances of finding future employment.
In her address to the scholars, Ambassador Eichhorst told them, “the knowledge you will gain during these years at university will be very important and useful to you… Learning nowadays means life-long learning, and this process is a journey without end.”
"You have the opportunity to give to others,” she added, “and I hope you will all become role models for the next generations. After finishing your studies, you will be more prepared to inspire others.”
Thanking the European Union for its continuous support for UNRWA, Dismorr said: “For the eighth consecutive year, the generous support of the EU scholarship programme has provided a large group of Palestinian students in Lebanon with a university education, which in most cases would otherwise have been inaccessible to them.”
The increase in university tuition fees in Lebanon remains one the programme’s biggest challenges. However, as part of its efforts to support Palestine refugee youth in Lebanon, the Agency is continuing its efforts to strengthen collaboration with its partners and establish agreements with Lebanese universities. UNRWA and its partners in Lebanon hope that the programme will continue to grow, and that each year a higher number of scholarships can and will be awarded.
During the 2012-2013 school year, UNRWA received 457 applications for scholarships from Palestinian students throughout Lebanon. The Agency continues to actively seek additional funds for the scholarship programme in order to give opportunities to more Palestinian students seeking to pursue their education.
The European Union is UNRWA’s largest multilateral 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 contributed EUR 37.2 million to UNRWA projects and appeals in 2012, EUR 91.8 million to UNRWA’s general fund, and an additional EUR 10 million to UNRWA’s Social Safety-Net programme.
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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 five 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 USD 68 million.
For more information, please contact:
UNRWA Public Information Officer in Lebanon
Office tel/fax: 01-840468,