UNRWA Launches the Eleventh Edition of Palestiniadi in Lebanon with EU Support

05 July 2019
UNRWA launches the 11th Palestiniadi Games in Beirut, Lebanon. © 2019 UNRWA Photo by Rabie Akel

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched the 11th Palestiniadi (Palestinian Olympics) with the support of the European Union Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU‘MADAD’ Fund, for the second year in a row. The event brings over 285 Lebanese nationals, as well as Palestine refugees from Syria and Lebanon, including 20 students with disabilities, for three days of fun, games and competition. The Palestiniadi takes place between 4-7 July in the Siblin Training Centre, Lebanon.

Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone, lit the Palestiniadi torch and wished all participants a fun and fair competition experience. In attendance were representatives of the EU Delegation to Lebanon, the Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon, the Mayor of Siblin, participating students’ families as well as community representatives, in addition to teachers, parents and students.

Thanking the European Union for its support to UNRWA, Mr. Cordone said, “The EU continues to be a critical partner for UNRWA in supporting Palestine refugee youth and today’s event is a great example of bringing youth together through sports. The EU has been one of our most reliable donors for decades. UNRWA can count on the support of the EU to overcome the unprecedented challenges it faces.”

Rania Chehadi one of the students participating in the event said: “I am very happy to be here, it is a great opportunity to practice my favourite sport and to meet new friends from different areas, I’m very excited and will try to enjoy every single moment during the competitions.”

The students will compete in six different collaborative and competitive games including football, volleyball, basketball, running, table tennis and chess. The closing day of the games will include a prize giving ceremony for Palestiniadi participants and winners, recognizing their efforts and sporting sprit.

This 11th Palestiniadi event exemplifies community-youth cooperation, with the aim of furthering common values of fairness, tolerance and teamwork.

Background Information

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.

About the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the EU 'Madad' Fund:

Since its establishment in December 2014, a significant share of the EU’s non-humanitarian aid for Syria’s neighbouring countries is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU 'Madad' Fund. The Trust Fund brings a more coherent and integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer term economic, educational, protection and social needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and supports overstretched local communities and their administrations. Today, the EU Regional Trust Fund is also one of the key instruments through which the new EU partnership priorities with Jordan are implemented.

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