European Union shows support for the futures of young Palestine refugees in Lebanon

16 December 2016
Abel Piqueras Candela, Rrepresentative of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, and the UNRWA team pose with a group of the Fair’s participants. Hoops Club, Beirut. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Ali Hashisho

On 15 December 2016, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) opened the fifth annual Academic Fair in Lebanon to support young Palestine refugees in their pursuit of future educational and professional opportunities.

The Fair was funded by the European Union’s Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which provides education, training and employment support for young Palestine refugees in Lebanon, and also supported by the Lebanese Universities League in order to expand the exposure and connections of young Palestine refugees to academic opportunities and to help them make decisions about their future careers.

Through the Fair, more than 650 Palestine refugee twelfth-grade students were provided with information and assistance to help them plan for their future careers, including advice on educational programmes at Lebanese and foreign universities – by both public and private institutes at the undergraduate and postgraduate level – as well as their admission processes and available majors and scholarships. In total, 26 Lebanese and foreign universities, academic institutes and scholarship providers participated in the event.

The European Union has supported this event to show the importance of giving young Palestine refugees hope and further opportunities.

“UNRWA appreciates the substantial support of the European Union, totalling almost EUR 8.9 million, to assist young Palestine refugees in Lebanon and for our continued partnership and cooperation,” said the Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Hakam Shahwan.

“Today’s event gives school students direct access to education opportunities and gives them a chance to make informed decisions about their academic futures. UNRWA and the European Union continue to support them to build this hope,” he added.

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 daily quality education for roughly half a million children and primary health care for more than 3.5 million patients in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. 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 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank 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
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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