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

16 April 2018
UNRWA launched the 10th edition of Palestiniadi in Siblin Training Centre, Lebanon. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Nay El-Helou

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), launched today the 10th Palestiniadi (Palestinian Olympics). This year, with the support of the European Union, some 350 Lebanese nationals and Palestine refugees from Lebanon and Syria, including 75 students with disabilities, will compete in a team sporting competition. The Palestiniadi will be held over a three-day period between 13 and 15 April in the Siblin Training Centre, Lebanon.

During the opening ceremony, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Claudio Cordone,lit the Palestiniadi torch, wishing the participants a fun and valuable social experience. In attendance were representatives from EU delegation to Lebanon, the Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon, the Mayor of Siblin, representatives of the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development and Palestinian factions, as well as community representatives, political, social and municipal dignitaries in addition to teachers, parents, and students.

Thanking the European Union for its support to UNRWA, Mr. Cordone said, “The annual Palestiniadi event would not have happened without the reliable support of the European Union's Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis. This event is an excellent opportunity for Palestine refugee youth and their Lebanese counterparts to enjoy a good time together, something all the more valuable at this critical time for refugees and host countries.”

Moamin Hamid, a 15-year-old Palestine refugee student from Syria, agreed, “I like the coaches and I like to meet new friends from different areas. I am very excited for the Palestiniadi this year.  I aim to win in the basketball competition.”

The 10th edition of the games will take place between 13 and 15 April, 2018.  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 is set to include a prize giving ceremony for Palestiniadi, participants and winners, recognizing their efforts and sporting sprit. 

Sports are an integral part of childhood education. UNRWA schools promote sports for student development and to help them acquire a team spirit and a healthy lifestyle.

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
Chief 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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