American University of Beirut

USAID celebrates the graduation of 91 students at the American University of Beirut

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications,​​​​​​​​​

​The Higher Education Scholarships Program​ (HES), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at the American University of Beirut (AUB) held its graduation ceremony for 91 scholars. The event was an opportunity for the US government and AUB to celebrate a decade of partnership in education through USAID's HES program. US Ambassador Dorothy Shea, USAID Acting Mission Director Walter Doetsch, AUB President Fadlo Khuri, AUB faculty and staff, and the scholars attended the ceremony.

The event included a video test​imonial of Mohamad Ali Jawad, a scholar who graduated from this program, as well as music interludes by the scholars and an exhibition about the scholars’ volunteering and success stories.

USAID has invested more than $70 million in this program at AUB over the past ten years, enabling more than 712 academically outstanding and economically disadvantaged students from across Lebanon to receive a world-class education. Today, USAID HES supports 254 students currently enrolled at AUB. USAID’s assistance requires students to engage in volunteer work, training workshops, internships, and community service that they conduct in their own communities to ameliorate the challenges posed by the multiple crises in Lebanon.

President Khuri addressed the audience saying that, “This program has been a Godsend to the community of young Lebanese scholars, to the American University of Beirut, and to the Lebanese American University.” He added, “This has allowed us to continue to enroll the best and brightest young people, to enroll them without fear of lurching into the kind of economic elitism that can trump, and even drown out, intellectual excellence.”

In September 2022, USAID provided $30 million to AUB to support scholarships for Lebanese and refugee students. USAID further provided AUB with $19.5 million in financial aid to support 1,950 enrolled students who have been significantly affected by the economic crisis. 

In her remarks, Ambassador Shea stated, “This occasion is the result of US Embassy’s and USAID’s continued partnership with the American University of Beirut to increase access to higher education for youth in Lebanon.  We believe that education is the key to unlocking potential, opening doors, and creating opportunities. That’s why, since 2010, USAID has provided more than $70 million in full undergraduate scholarships to students from all of Lebanon’s 26 districts to study at AUB.” 

Dr. Malek Tabbal, provost designee at HES, concluded saying, “This program has been transformative in every sense, not only to the scholars and their families but also to all of us involved at AUB.”

Two student speakers took the stage to talk about their experience with the program.

"When I received the USAID scholarship, the path to achieving my dreams became clear and I knew that I could accomplish them,” said Ali Choucair. “As someone who was once limited and restricted by the borders of his poor village and the lack of opportunities. Today, even the sky is not my limit..." Choucair added.

"I was able to build a very strong profile with the help of USAID which distinguishes me from other AUB students and makes me stand out in a crowd,” said Jana El Youssef. “I developed a better version of myself. Now, I have the roadmap on how I can continue to grow and develop..." El Youssef concluded.

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