The European Union and UNRWA Assist Young Palestine Refugees Plan for their Future

10 October 2019
Students gather at the 8th UNRWA Academic vocational training fair in Beirut, Lebanon. © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Rabie Akel.

Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Lebanese Universities Union, with support from the European Union, launched the 8th Academic Fair at the UNRWA Siblin Training Centre. The Fair introduced young Palestine refugee students to representatives of academic and vocational training institutions in order to expose them to their potential career options after graduation.

Approximately 1,000 12th grade students attended the event, alongside twenty-four Lebanese and foreign universities, academic institutes, scholarship providers, and vocational institutes. Students were given advice on the universities’ education programmes, their admission processes and available majors and scholarships, in addition to the programmes offered at the vocational centres. 

This event is part of extensive ongoing support from the European Union to the UNRWA education programme in Lebanon. This support ensures that about 37,000 Palestine refugee students, 53 per cent of whom are girls, attend school every day and that an additional 1,000 Palestine refugee youth have access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET), semiprofessional and trade courses. Several dedicated EU-funded projects are currently being implemented by the Agency aimed at enhancing the quality of education, improving accessibility in schools and ensuring that Palestine refugee youth receive career guidance and employment support.

When commenting on the event, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone noted that UNRWA efforts focus on ensuring that young Palestine refugees have the skills and confidence to fulfill their full potential. The seventeen-year-old Palestine refugee, Ismail Ajjawi, who was admitted to Harvard University recently is an inspiration to fellow UNRWA students. He represents what UNRWA strives to achieve through its education programme. TVET reflects the Agency’s commitment to helping refugees in securing a decent livelihood for themselves and their families.

EU and UNRWA: Together for Palestine Refugees

The European Union (EU) has supported UNRWA in the provision of core services to more than 5 million Palestine refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. The partnership between the EU 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.

In Lebanon, the European Union has established itself as a key donor for UNRWA supporting Palestine refugees from Lebanon and Syria through a variety of sectors (shelter and infrastructure rehabilitation, health, emergency assistance, youth, amongst others) with a special attention to improving quality education and employability.

Background Information: 

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 5.5 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
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140