376 Students Graduate from the Siblin Training Centre with the Support of UNRWA and the European Union

12 July 2018
The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme in Lebanon, Ms. Salam Younes, EU representative, Mr. Rein Nieland, representative of the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Maher Meshayel distributing diplomas at the end of the ceremony to the graduates of the class of 2018 at the Siblin Training Centre. ©2018 Photo for UNRWA

Today, UNRWA Siblin Training Centre (STC) held a graduation ceremony for the 2017-2018 academic year for some 376 students in over 19 specializations offered at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Beirut, Lebanon. The event was organized under the patronage of Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme in Lebanon, Ms. Salam Younes and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Claudio Cordone and with the generous support from the European Union in Lebanon. The ceremony was attended by EU representative, Mr. Rein Nieland, as well as the representative of the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Maher Meshayel. Other guests included national and international partners, representatives of the Palestinian factions, mayors, school principals, teachers and the families of graduating students.

The Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Mr. Cordone, congratulated the students, and said: “We are proud of your accomplishments and people you have become,” adding, “this graduation comes at a time when UNRWA faces a formidable challenge in upholding its mandate and preserving key services, such as education for Palestine refugees. I would like to express our gratitude to the European Union for the reliable and continued support they provide in different fields, particularly in education, as well as the promotion of employment opportunities for Palestine refugees.”

Addressing graduates, EU representative Rein Nieland said: “I would like to commend you for your perseverance and determination to excel and wish you all the best in your future endeavours." He also commended the Lebanese government's launch of the national strategy for vocational education that sets general guidelines for intervention during the period 2018-2022."This strategy now needs a clear and detailed action plan that sequences activities and establishes indicators, costs and roles and responsibilities. The European Union is ready to help in its development."

The First Counselor of the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Lebanon, Mr. Maher Meshayel said: “I praise the strong attachment of our people to education, despite the difficult conditions they face in Lebanon. I congratulate the graduating students for their perseverance and success, and I reaffirm our support to UNRWA and the right of return.

“Speaking on behalf of her fellow graduates, Hiba Balawneh, said: “Studying at Siblin exceeded my expectations. It was an important step in my life. I hope a successful career opportunity will ensue.” 


EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees

Since 1971, the European Union and UNRWA have maintained a strategic partnership governed by the shared objective to support the human development, humanitarian and protection needs of Palestine refugees and promote stability in the Middle East. Today, the European Union is the largest multilateral provider of international assistance to Palestine refugees. This reliable and predictable support from the European Union enables UNRWA to provide core services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, including quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients. Collectively, the EU and its Member States are also among the largest contributors to the Agency’s humanitarian emergency appeals and projects in response to various crises and specific needs across the region. The partnership between the European Union and UNRWA has allowed millions of Palestine refugees to be better educated, live healthier lives, access employment opportunities and improve their living conditions, thus contributing to the development of the entire region.

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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