European Union Shows Support for the Future of Young Palestine Refugees

26 November 2018
Students in Lebanon attend the 7th EU-UNRWA Academic Fair where they were introduced to different vocational and academic programmes. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Ahmad Mahmoud
Students in Lebanon attend the 7th EU-UNRWA Academic Fair where they were introduced to different vocational and academic programmes. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Ahmad Mahmoud

Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Lebanese Universities Union, with the support of the European Union, launched the 7th Academic Fair aimed at increasing the exposure of young Palestine refugees to employers and career opportunities. The event was held in Siblin Training Centre in the south.

The Fair will introduce young Palestine refugees to potential higher education and career path options, such as the pursuit of an advanced degree in university, or  vocational training programmes, such as those offered by the UNRWA Siblin Training Centre (STCs). This year, Siblin staff provided students with information about the courses and employment trends. 

The event was funded by the European Union, which is firmly committed to providing opportunities for Palestine refugee communities. It contributes not only to UNRWA primary and secondary education but also to providing access to TVET and Higher Education.

Around 1,000 young Palestine refugees and other 100 young Lebanese and Syrian students from grade 12 in Lebanese private schools attended the Fair which is considered as a step forward towards improving the social cohesion and interaction between the Lebanese and Palestinian communities.

At the Fair, twenty-six Lebanese and foreign universities, academic institutes, scholarship providers, and vocational institutes were present and 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 centers. 

This event is part of the continued and far reaching support that the European Union provides to UNRWA education services in Lebanon. This support allows more than 36,000 Palestine refugee students, of which 53 per cent are girls, to attend school every day and an addition 1,000 trainees to have access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET), semiprofessional and trade courses. Several dedicated EU-funded projects are currently being implemented by UNRWA that aim to increase the quality of education and improve accessibility in schools, as well as provide career guidance, employment support and scholarships to Palestine refugee youth.

Director of the UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Claudio Cordone said, “UNRWA appreciates the substantial and consistent support of the European Union to Palestine refugees and to UNRWA. Education and proper employment opportunities are essential for ensuring a dignified future for young Palestine refugees in Lebanon. The EU support to provide opportunities and skills to young Palestine refugees enables them to improve their living conditions and enjoy their rights”.

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 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
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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