American University of Beirut

School to College Transitions among Vulnerable Youth in Lebanon

​​​​​​Project Overview​

Funded by the Ford Foundation and in collaboration with the Department of Education at the American University of Beirut, the Education and Youth Policy Research Program at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs implemented the project ‘School to College Transitions among Vulnerable Youth in Lebanon’. This project addressed the critical school to college transitions among the vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth in Lebanon. These youth are at high risk of dropping out because they face a number of challenges, including financial, legislative, and institutional ones. The aim of the project was to guide this vulnerable group of young people at this sensitive period of their life so they can make better informed educational and life choices. The project had intervention and research components. A Pre-College Mentoring Program (PCM) was designed and implemented with the aim to (a) provide vulnerable and refugee secondary-school youth with basic life skills necessary to allow them to successfully transition from school to tertiary education, (b) promote in-depth understanding of content knowledge while fostering secondary students’ 21st century skills, which can enhance academic success, and (c) provide them with opportunities to choose their college careers, which suit their interest and cognitive abilities. Three research studies were also commissioned to explore how vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee youth transition from secondary to tertiary education and the initiatives that facilitate such a transition. Additionally, a research report was written that sought to measure the effectiveness of PCM and suggest recommendations to improve practice and future implementations of similar programs.​


Pre-College Mentoring Program 

Video and Students' Poster Exhibition and Community Engagement Award

The Pre-College Mentoring Program was designed to include ten academic and three non-academic modules that were composed of eight sessions, wherein each had a four-hour duration. The academic modules pertained to diverse disciplines such as biology, engineering, and education while the non-academic modules addressed basic life-skills, such as time management, decision making, and self-management. There was also another session that aimed at increasing students' awareness of scholarship opportunities. All the sessions were experiential in nature, whereby students practiced the discipline rather than being lectured about it. The modules were developed by AUB faculty members and reviewed by the research team before the faculty members delivered the training.​

A video was produced to capture the experience of students and faculty in the Pre-College Mentoring Program:

The students applied the learning they acquired from PCM. They were given a period of two months (summer vacation) to meet and were encouraged to think creatively on how to transfer what they had learned to their school communities. Evidence of their work took the form of posters and was presented at the closing ceremony. Five faculty members, who delivered the training sessions, voluntarily accepted to judge the posters, based on criteria set by the research team.

Students' Poster Exhibition and Community Engagement Award:



Nael H. Alami, Provost, MUBS 
Diana Maddah, Research Director, MUBS 
Lara Rafeh, Research Assistant, MUBS 
Mariam Fadel, Research Assistant, MUBS 
Hanine Abi Ghannam, Research Assistant, MUBS 
Joanne Karam, Acting Chairperson, Nutrition and Dietetics Department, MUBS 
Nathalie Fakhredine, Research Assistant, MUBS​

Emily Wills, Co-Director of the Community Mobilization in Crisis Project at University of Ottawa 
Diana El Richani, Program Manager of the Community Mobilization in Crisis Project 
Zeina Awaydate, Programs Manager at LASeR (Lebanese Association for Scientific Research)

Nicole Eid Abuhaydar, Executive Director, Unite Lebanon Youth Project
Menaal Munshey, PhD Researcher, University of Cambridge​

Hana A. El-Ghali, PhD, Education and Youth Policy Research Program, Program Director, IFI, AUB 
Enja Osman, PhD, Lecturer and Outreach and Practice Teaching Coordinator and Science Lecturer, Department of Education, AUB 
Fida Alameddine, MA Project Coordinator, Education and Youth Policy Research Program, IFI, AUB

Project Contact ​​​Persons

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Hana A. El-Ghali
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Enja Osman
  • Project Coordinator: Fida Alameddine​

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