More scholarships to Palestinian refugee students in Lebanon
Thanks to a contribution from the European Union Scholarship Fund for Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) awarded 45 full university
scholarships to Palestine refugee students starting their studies in the academic year 2013-2014. The ceremony, which took place in the Babel theatre in Hamra, also celebrated the graduation of 65 Palestine refugee students from the scholarship program.
The certificates were handed over by Mr. Abel Piqueras, the Program Manager of Education and Social Sector in the European Union, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mrs Ann Dismorr.
Celebrating the occasion Ann Dismorr said: "young people are the future and thanks to the EU, we are able to give Palestine refugee youth access to higher education which will provide them with tools and opportunities to fulfill their dreams."
Mr. Piqueras said: "In 2013, we have signed 2 agreements for around 4.2 million Euros. They will allow more than 237 Palestinian students to follow studies in the coming years in Lebanese universities in the framework of the UNRWA-EU scholarships program". Regarding the new grantees and graduates he added: "The EU sincerely congratulates you for your remarkable efforts and achievements and hopes that you make a positive contribution to your community".
Through the scholarship program 488 qualified Palestine refugee students have, since 2005, been able to pursue their higher academic education at universities in Lebanon, thereby significantly increasing their chances of finding employment.
UNRWA continues its efforts to raise additional funds for the scholarship program to give the opportunities to more Palestine refugee students to pursue higher education.
The European Union is UNRWA's leading donor and has a long standing history of supporting UNRWA through its regular budget, emergency appeals and projects. In addition to the 12.3 million Euros granted for scholarships since 2005 to UNRWA Lebanon, the EU has contributed to the Agency this year around 40 million Euros in projects and appeals and 80 million Euros to UNRWA's general fund.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA's services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA's core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 67.2 million.