The European Union grants scholarships for Palestinian students in Lebanon

19 December 2011

15 December 2011
Beirut

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the European Union have distributed scholarships to 75 Palestinian students this year, thanks to a generous contribution by the European Union of approximately €1.4 million.

The scholarships were distributed by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, and Director of UNRWA Affairs Salvatore Lombardo, in the presence of Mr. Maher Mshayel, representing H.E Dr. Abdallah Abdallah, Ambassador of Palestine in Lebanon.

Thanks to this donation, the scholarship programme will allow qualified Palestine refugee students to pursue higher academic education at universities in Lebanon, thereby increasing their chances of being employed.

Thanking the European Union for their contribution and continued support, Mr. Lombardo said, “Access to higher education is one of the rare opportunities that young Palestine refugees have for restoring dignity often lost to poverty and discrimination. I am sincerely grateful to the European Union for offering hope to hundreds of Palestinians each year in Lebanon.”

In her address to the scholars, Ambassador Eichhorst stated:

The European Union has been sponsoring the UNRWA-EU Scholarship Fund for seven years and has already invested €8.3 million into this programme. The 75 of you, the new grantees, are thus joining today a group of more than 300 Palestinian students who have received this award. You have been given a gift of scholarship, after this you will have a gift to give to others. Not to the European Union, not to UNRWA, but to your own community, to your own future Palestinian state, to the Palestinian people.

For the school year 2011-2012, UNRWA received 671 applications for scholarships from Palestinian students throughout Lebanon. A total of 105 scholarships were granted, out of which 75 were funded by the European Union. Scholars were selected based on the ranking within that list, provided they scored over 60 per cent in the Baccalaureate II exams. While UNRWA does not decide on the majors chosen by the students, it endeavours to advise students on their education, to prepare them not only for their university education but also for the job market.

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

The EU‘s principal objective in delivering support to Palestine refugees is to contribute to the just resolution of the refugee issue as part of a comprehensive settlement of final status issues. In doing so, the EU ensures that the essential humanitarian and development needs of the Palestine refugees are met. It delivers most of such assistance through its partnership with UNRWA.

The EU has been UNRWA’s largest donor since 1971. The bulk of EU financial support is devoted to UNRWA’s core funding enabling it to provide essential education, health, and social relief services to Palestine refugees.

To find out more about the EU’s assistance to the Palestinians, visit the Europa website.

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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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