The annual graduation ceremony at the UNRWA Siblin Training Centre in Lebanon was a particularly special celebration this year, as it also marked the accreditation of the Agency’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programme by the Lebanese Ministry of Education.
Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Ann Dismorr said the new accreditation will improve the job prospects of the Agency’s TVET graduates in Lebanon.
“The accreditation was the result of a three-year process that was achieved thanks to the support of key Lebanese officials, including former President Sleiman, who signed the decree for the accreditation only a few days before he left office,” Ms. Dismorr said.
“The accreditation is a landmark that presents a great opportunity for the Agency to continue to improve its TVET programme. This will improve the situation for our TVET graduates on the job market in Lebanon".
The ceremony saw the graduation of 551 students for the 2013/2014 academic year. In addition to Ms. Dismorr, guests included representatives from the EU, national and local government officials, Palestinian factions, Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, senior UNRWA staff and the parents of graduating students.
Student representatives expressed their pride in the training centre and their gratitude to the EU, which is the main supporter of the centre's infrastructure and activities.
Speaking on behalf of the EU, head of cooperation Alexis Loeber congratulated the students, and praised UNRWA for its ongoing efforts to improve its education centres.
Mr. Loeber said the EU will continue to support UNRWA education activities across the region.
The EU has a long history of supporting the UNRWA regular budget, emergency appeals and special projects. The EU is the leading donor for UNRWA education activities, not only in Lebanon but also at regional level.
Fifty-three per cent of the Agency’s budget in 2013 came from European member states and institutions. Total EU support to UNRWA in 2013 included EUR 40 million (US$ 54.6 million) for projects and emergency activities, along with EUR 95 million (US$ 129.7 million) for the Agency’s General Fund.