Question of Palestine home
20 September 1995
Item 84 of the provisional agenda*
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
IN THE NEAR EAST
Offers by Member States of grants and scholarships
for higher education, including vocational training
for Palestine refugees
Report of the Secretary-General
1. The present report is submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of its resolution 49/35 D of 9 December 1994.
2. The report includes the substance of responses from Member States and United Nations agencies to the appeal contained in that resolution, together with reference to further action taken by Member States and United Nations agencies in response to the appeal contained in General Assembly resolutions 32/90 F of 13 December 1977, 33/112 C of 18 December 1978, 34/52 C of 23 November 1979, 35/13 B of 3 November 1980, 36/146 H of 16 December 1981, 37/120 D of 16 December 1982, 38/83 D of 15 December 1983, 39/99 D of 14 December 1984, 40/165 D of 16 December 1985, 41/69 D of 3 December 1986, 42/69 D of 2 December 1987, 43/57 D of 6 December 1988, 44/47 D of 8 December 1989, 45/73 D of 11 December 1990, 46/46 D of 9 December 1991, 47/69 D of 14 December 1992 and 48/40 D of 10 December 1993. In those resolutions the Assembly appealed to all States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to augment the special allocations for grants and scholarships to Palestine refugees; invited the relevant specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to continue, within their respective spheres of competence, to extend assistance for higher education to Palestine refugee students; and requested the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to act as the recipient and trustee for such special allocations for grants and scholarships and to award them to qualified refugee candidates.
3. In 1994-1995, the Government of Japan awarded 10 fellowships through UNRWA, of which 4 were to Palestine refugees employed by UNRWA as vocational training staff at the eight vocational training centres in its area of operations, and the remaining 6 were fellowships in community health awarded to Palestine refugees employed by UNRWA as health staff. Applications of nominees for these fellowships for training in Japan were processed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. A review of the programme shows that since its inception in 1985, and until 1995, a total of 124 fellowships have been offered by the Government of Japan, of which 114 have been processed. In 1989, the Government of Japan contributed $1 million to be spent over a five-year period, towards the UNRWA university scholarship programme for secondary school graduates. The recipients are Palestine refugee students from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Seventy-eight scholars graduated from this programme in 1993 and 1994, while 73 students were still pursuing their university studies in the 1994/95 academic year. In 1992, 1993 and 1994, the Government of Japan contributed an additional $400,000 annually, each such contribution to be spent over a five-year period, towards the UNRWA university scholarships programme for secondary school graduates from the UNRWA area of operations; the recipients are Palestine refugee students. A total of 205 recipients participated in the programme in 1994-1995. These awards, while not specifically in response to the General Assembly resolutions, are in keeping with their spirit.
4. The Government of Switzerland contributed $180,000 in 1989 to the UNRWA university scholarships programme for secondary school graduates and contributed an additional $213,000, $197,300, $197,300, $209,790 and $209,781 to the programme in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994, respectively. Thirty-eight scholars graduated in 1993 and 1994, while 202 students from the UNRWA area of operations were still pursuing their university studies in the 1994/95 academic year. In 1995, the Government of Switzerland contributed $256,410, which will allow for approximately 45 new beneficiaries in the 1995/96 academic year. The awards, while not specifically in response to the General Assembly resolutions, are in keeping with their spirit.
5. As reported in 1994 (see A/49/439), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as part of its long-standing agreement with UNRWA, granted 175 fellowships to Palestine refugee education staff of UNRWA in the period from 1981 to 1994. The Director-General addressed a circular letter on 25 February 1994 to member States, international organizations and Arab and Islamic funding sources appealing for voluntary contributions to a special fund for fellowships for Palestinian students and requesting them to consider providing sponsored fellowships for Palestinians. The circular letter was in accordance with decision 5.3.1 adopted by the UNESCO Executive Board at its one hundred and forty-second session. During the 1993/94 academic year, UNESCO awarded 28 scholarships to Palestinian students under the regional project entitled "Scholarship fund for higher education for students of occupied Arab territories", 17 scholarships from its regular programme and budget, and 3 scholarships under its Participation Programme, totalling $213,500. Under the inter-university cooperation programme PEACE (Palestinian European Academic Cooperation in Education) funded by UNESCO and the European Union (EU) and signed in September 1992, two scholarships and seven short-term study visits were awarded to Palestinian university professors in the amount of $37,000.
6. Until 1993, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered a post-graduate training fellowship programme aimed at developing the technical and managerial skills of the staff of the UNRWA Department of Health and at meeting future replacement needs under the various health disciplines. WHO has awarded more than 36 such fellowships since 1986. Since 1994 all fellowship applications to WHO are nominated by the Palestinian Authority. In 1995 WHO received 42 applications from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for fellowships scheduled to begin in late 1995.
7. Three applications mentioned in the 1994 report (A/49/439), submitted for scholarships offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to train Agency staff members, were being considered for courses to be conducted during 1995 and 1996.
8. The United World Colleges continued their cooperation with UNRWA by offering scholarships to Palestine refugee students who complete the tenth grade, to study for two years leading to the international baccalaureate. In 1995, four scholarships were offered by the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy, Pearson College in Canada, Armand Hammer College in the United States of America and the Li Po Chun in Hong Kong.
9. The Technical Assistance Programme of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) for the training of Palestinians was defined after a mission to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in March 1995 by the section of UPU for the Arab countries. Within the framework of UPU technical assistance to the Arab countries for 1995, the Palestinian post office will be provided with two scholarships, one in the field of marketing and the other in the field of postal services.