BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Lebanese American University received an $11.4 million for 104 scholarships, from the United States government.
The U.S Ambassador to Lebanon, Elizabeth Richard, announced the University Support Program (USP), Tuesday, as she sat with AUB’s president Fadlo Khuri and LAU’s president Joseph Jabbra. The USP-USAID funding is addressed to students from public schools across Lebanon that demonstrate financial need and have academic merit.
“With over 745 graduates of various USAID programs over the seven years we have been doing this, we have never been disappointed,” said Richard, in American embassy’s statement.
Yehya Osman is a 21-year-old student majoring in business, the USAID recipient said that the scholarship is a “golden opportunity; worth all his hardworking efforts.” The USAID team visited his high school, he applied for the program and got selected.
“Through, the volunteering activities organized by USAID and the center of civic engagement and community service (at AUB), I have been able to work with different colleagues and stakeholders which have enhanced my interpersonal and communication skills,” added Osman.
The recipients of the USAID scholarship learn to give back to the community by doing mandatory hours of volunteer work. For example, Osman has tutored 9th grade students with the Albert Nassar Foundation and has worked with the Nasma foundation center, teaching Syrian refugee children to adapt to the Lebanese educational system.
On Tuesday, Richard praised education as the “human capital” for the Lebanese youth’s increasing potential: they learning life skills of critical thinking, community service and succeeding in a globalized economy.
USAID covers the entirety of the American-affiliated universities tuition fees with monthly stipends of 500$ and the cost of books. Students living in Beirut receive transportation stipends where as those who live far from the capital live in dorms-also covered by the program.
Once received, students have to maintain a GPA of 70 and above and need to complete their volunteer hours.
Pascale El Hajj, a senior year student in business at AUB said: “As a USAID student, you don’t feel marginalized by other students, instead my peers made me feel unique as I receive a lot of praise.”
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