07 September 2012
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the European Union today have awarded certificates of achievement to 51 Palestinian students who successfully completed their university studies thanks to a generous contribution by the European Union Scholarship Fund for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon.
The certificates were handed over the head of the EU Delegation to Lebanon's cooperation section Mr. Diego Escalona Paturel, and the acting Director of UNRWA Affairs Mr. Roger Davies, in the presence of Mr. Maher Mshayel from the Embassy of Palestine as well as representatives of other diplomatic missions in Lebanon.
Thanks to the scholarship programme funded by the European Union, 344 qualified Palestine refugee students have been able to pursue higher education at universities in Lebanon since 2005, directly increasing their chances of future employment.
Thanking the European Union for their continuous support, Davies said: “These scholarships are immensely important for young Palestinians in Lebanon. Because of the economic situation of Palestine refugees in Lebanon, most students would not be able to afford to go to university if it was not for them.”
In his address to the scholars, Escalona Paturel stated: “Until now, more than 344 Palestinian students have been granted a Scholarship within the framework of the UNRWA - EU Fund. EU support to this programme will continue in the coming years through the launching of a fourth edition of the Scholarship Fund and an investment of an additional 4 million Euros to further contribute to providing opportunities for a better life to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon”.
Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Tarek Hamid said: “Without these scholarships, our future would have been different. Without the European Union believing in us, our future would have been different. Today, we have achieved part of our dream, but we are faced with the biggest challenge, which is finding a good job that is up to our expectations and capabilities”.
UNRWA received 671 applications for scholarships from Palestinian students throughout Lebanon for the 2011-2012 academic year. Out of these, 75 were selected for funding by the European Union.
UNRWA continues to try to raise funds from additional sources for the scholarship programme to give the opportunities to more Palestinian students to pursue their 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 EUR 8.3 million granted for scholarships since 2005 to UNRWA Lebanon, the EU has contributed to the Agency in 2011 around EUR 41.65 million in projects and appeals and EUR 82.46 million to UNRWA’s general fund.