432 Students Graduate from UNRWA Siblin Training Centre with support from the European Union

07 September 2019
An UNRWA TVET graduate from the UNRWA Siblin Vocational Training Centre, South Campus with European Union representative Mr. Rein Nieland at the 2019 UNRWA Siblin Training Centre graduation ceremony. © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Ahmad Mahmoud.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Siblin Training Centre (STC) celebrated the graduation of 432 students in twenty specializations, including nursery education, carpentry and business administration from North and South campuses for the 2018-2019 academic year. 

The graduation ceremonies were made possible thanks to the generous support of the European Union (EU). Mr. Claudio Cordone, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Rein Nieland, EU representative and Maher Meshayel, representative of the Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon, attended the South region campus ceremony at STC and congratulated the students on their successful completion of their studies. Other guests included national and international partners, representatives of the Palestinian factions, Lebanese officials, teachers and the families of graduating students.

Mr. Cordone addressed the graduates and their families and said: “I would like to congratulate you for your hard work, the key to success and a better future.” He also highlighted the strong partnership between UNRWA and the European Union, specifically their longstanding support for technical and vocational training. “In spite of all the challenges, UNRWA continues to work towards improving the quality of education with support from the European Union.” Mr. Cordone added.

Addressing the students, EU Representative Rein Nieland said: “Class of 2018-2019, the whole 432 graduates with 21 outstanding graduates graduating today, there will never be anyone like you.”

He added: “The reason why we invest in vocational education and training is that we believe some of the specializations you have taken are useful and respond to the needs of the labour market and economic operators. I think the Siblin Training Centre has given you some skills which are skills for life no matter what you do.”

Speaking on behalf of fellow classmates from the south campus at Siblin Training Centre, graduating student, Balsam Al Rifai said, “The UNRWA Siblin Training Centre was a key part of our lives. We spent two years in these halls and facilities and have explored and discovered our capabilities, developed our scientific and practical skills and gained life skills in preparation for the labour market.”

UNRWA thanks the European Union for its support to the Agency’s educational programme, including a generous contribution of EUR 5 million for a project aimed at increasing employment prospects of Palestine refugee youth in Lebanon.

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:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Huda Samra
Communications Advisor – Lebanon (Arabic and Francophone)
+961 81 666 134
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140