Lebanon: Study Opportunities for Refugees and Sector Experts
KAAD’s Third Country Scholarship Program for refugees and sector experts in Middle Eastern countries has passed a successful starting phase. During her visit to Lebanon from 13th to 22nd May, the head of KAAD’s Middle East Department, Dr. Christina Pfestroff, had the pleasure to personally welcome the first “generation” of students to whom a scholarship for postgraduate studies at Lebanese universities has been granted. The new program offering Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian nationals the opportunity to complete their Master’s studies at a university in the Middle East has started supporting the first 17 students in Lebanon and Jordan in the last couple of months. The Syrian students in Lebanon expressed their sincere gratitude and shared their experiences on how their life had changed in the last months: “The KAAD scholarship gave me new motivation in an extremely difficult life situation”, said one of the students. “My housing situation is still very difficult, but now I can finally pursue my objective to continue university education during my stay in Lebanon.”
Thanks to the generous financial support of the German government and the Catholic Church, KAAD is in a position to support Master studies at Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian universities since last year. The main objective of the new Third Country Program is to create a network of committed academics in which refugees and sector experts from the host countries can work out solutions to the problems and conflict situations in the region together.
The first opportunity for encounter and exchange was the KAAD seminar held at the Lebanese pilgrimage site Harissa on the 21st May 2016. Twenty-two participants from Syria, Lebanon and Germany gathered for discussions around the topic “In the Service of Refugees and Host Countries”. The President of Caritas Liban, P. Paul Karam, and the Director of the MECC’s Ecumenical Relief Service Program, Samer Laham, provided valuable insights into the assistance that the churches provide to refugees in Syria and its neighboring countries.
Numerous representatives of Lebanese universities and other organizations assisting Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon also showed their support for the new KAAD program. The Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Gabriele G. Caccia, welcomed the far-sighted strategy of the program during his conversation with the head of the Middle East Department and the KAAD Third Country Project Officer, Evgeni Goshev. Dialogue partners unanimously underlined that study opportunities in the region are the best way to help motivated specialists, especially Christians, to build their future in the region.
The program is focused on the sectors of development, refugee assistance, psychosocial services and preservation of religious and cultural diversity. KAAD thankfully acknowledges the readiness of the national coordinator for student pastoral in Lebanon, P. Dr. Jules Butros, to serve as reference person for the spiritual and educational work with the local group of KAAD students and alumni.