Students to Profit from New US-Middle East Partnership Initiative Grant
A sizable grant from the US-Middle East Partnership Initiative will cover a full semester for up to 900 students in the new Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars (TLS) Program.
The US-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) has awarded LAU MEPI-Tomorrow’s Leaders (LAU MEPI-TL) a grant of $10 million for a new Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars (TLS) Program to strengthen undergraduate student awareness, preparedness and skills in gender education and activism. For 12 years now, MEPI-TL has been providing scholarships to promising students from across the MENA region to study at either the Lebanese American University or the American University of Beirut.
The grant aims to redress the exclusion of women worldwide from peace and political processes because of discriminatory laws, social stereotypes, and institutional obstacles, and in particular, to promote inclusiveness at a time when women’s active participation is pivotal during the current crises across the MENA region.
By supporting women and gender studies in higher education and endorsing gender studies courses to increase the awareness of university students on gender disparities, MEPI’s objective is to build a culture of inclusiveness and foster an environment for women’s success in the workforce, leadership positions and policymaking arenas.
The grant will cover up to two academic years starting Fall 2020, and targets students who have demonstrated strong academic performance and are in dire need of full tuition scholarships.
Up to 900 students will benefit from full tuition for one semester provided they enroll in a gender course, engage in a relevant conference where they present their subject-related papers, and publish their reflections in the Arab Institute for Women’s flagship journal Al-Raida.
The grant is extended to students from the School of Arts & Sciences, Adnan Kassar School of Business, the School of Engineering and the Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing.
“We are proud of our affiliation with world-renowned academic institutions like LAU,” said U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy C. Shea. “You are recognized around the globe for the top-tier education you provide. That is a source of pride to the Lebanese people, and to us at the U.S. Embassy. We are your partner, and we welcome this opportunity to strengthen our partnership and, fundamentally, to help Lebanese students.”
Thanking Ambassador Shea and the American people LAU President Joseph G. Jabbra said: “Your continued generosity and support of students in the Arab world gives them hope to attain their aspirations to improve their lives, and the lives of their loved ones and their community. The belief that education is the only answer to the ills that afflict society in Lebanon and the Arab world remains at the heart of our mission.”
The news comes at a crucial time as the university and the country wrestle with the growing needs of families in dire financial distress, as a result of the deepening economic crisis.
“At a time when Lebanon is undergoing such acute social and political change, coupled with economic distress and a pandemic to boot, it is heartening to receive such substantial support from MEPI to promote gender equity in the region,” said Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management Elise Salem. “The grant will make a big difference in raising awareness and instituting policy change to achieve gender equality, while encouraging female leadership amongst students.”
In its eleventh year, the LAU MEPI-TL Program in AY 2019-2020 welcomed 36 new scholars from seven different countries. Earlier this year, the program celebrated 13 TL students who presented capstone projects focused on pressing social, economic, and cultural issues in their home countries.
“Indeed, MEPI continues to give hope to the youth of Lebanon and the MENA region,” commented Director of International Services and MEPI-TL Program Director Dina Abdul Rahman. “I dare to say that the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program is ‘lifesaving!’ It transformed the lives of hundreds of underprivileged talented young women and men for over a decade and continues to open up new horizons for our youth into a world of opportunity, prosperity, and success.”
The grant falls within LAU’s drive to alleviate the financial burden placed on students and their parents by Lebanon’s economic crisis. To that end, the university last year implemented a set of measures which included a yearly financial aid budget in excess of $50 million, and the launch of the Emergency Financial Fund last October.