American University of Beirut


Layan Al Dani: First PGRM Student to Graduate!

In an interview with Layan Al Dani (Syria) she expressed how grateful she was for taking part of the first MEPI TLG cohort especially that she is also a MEPI TLU graduate. Layan shared: “The MEPI experience was the key that helped me achieve a lot in my life like pre-engagements in the university and being active in the community with civic engagement activities, building a diverse network of people, working within a professional environment, etc… Those two years with MEPI TLG were complimentary years for my previous experience as a TLU undergraduate."

Layan also added that she was able to find out what she wants and does not want in life and stated that the MEPI journey was the best educational experience that anyone could wish for. “I'm really grateful" Layan exclaimed.

Moreover, Layan continued by saying “I was able to focus my research, my education, my efforts and community engagement to help refugees and solve problems that solve many problems that my people have. This meant a lot and was super exciting to execute as it was a heartfelt experience to be able to contribute even if so little to my country".

Layan also mentioned that because of the MEPI TLG program, she continues to work on initiating a project that she presented as her Capstone project during her years as a TLU cohort, a project related to providing legal services to people from her country.

Finally, Layan was presented with the Dr. Randa Antoun Annual Award for Public Service and Civic Engagement for the Academic Year 2020-2021. This prestigious award is granted to a graduate student who exhibits academic excellence, engages in and promotes leadership in civic issues, and has worked on a research paper that evaluates a contemporary problem in Lebanon and advances a clear and innovative recommendation to that problem. We are extremely proud to have had Layan as part of the first MEPI TLG PGRM cohort and wish her best of luck in her future endeavors.

Mohammad Al Rifai MEPI TLG Cohort launches his first NGO “GLORY".

We're also proud to announce that Mohammad Al Rifai (Lebanon) from the MEPI TLG Cohort has launched his first non-governmental organization (NGO) “Glory". After more than two long years of push-back, paperwork, and government bureaucracy, Glory NGO, an NGO that aims for social justice, finally comes to life. Mohammad states that “Glory does not want to give out fish to people but wants to create a proper environment free of corruption, injustice, and prejudice and then teach people how to fish. Glory has formed multiple committees, some of which are: Women Empowerment Committee, Private Investigations Committee, Corruption Fighters Committee along others.  Now the NGO is in the funding stage, where it is actively applying for funding from local and international organizations. Glory NGO will be the leader of reformation and glory from Lebanon to the world."

Aya Blooms – An Inspiring Story

Aya Hamze (Lebanon) MEPI TLG PGRM Cohort has started an initiative called (Mn El Jabal La Beirut) with the help of four other AUB students who all come from the village of Aabey. The initiative was born after the devastating Beirut Explosion that occurred on the 4th of August. The students came up with the idea to compensate for their abscene at the explosion site. After the Beirut Explosion, these students worked for over two weeks to gather donations from nearby villages to Aabey, and distributed these donations to trusted NGOs. They also contacted the center for cultural tourism in Aabey to see if they can volunteer the center as a drop-off location for the donations. Donations were organized into two categories for distribution purposes. The first category involved packing the same type of goods, including food in different boxes, and offering them to trusted NGOs. The second included collecting food boxes that contained the essential goods that went directly to the people in the affected Beirut explosion area. 

Aya believes that this initiative helped her and the team deal with their trauma after the blast, by giving back to the community.

Aya has also established an inspiring home-based small business. It is called Aya's Blooms. What was the inspiration behind this establishment? Aya pursued her undergraduate degree in Landscape Design and Architecture and was always fascinated by the beauty of succulents and cactus. After saving the needed amount for the seed money, Aya was able to launch Aya's Blooms on February 4. It is a small business where Aya puts all her efforts in creating beautiful and different succulent arrangements for various occasions. During Mother's Day she was able to deliver up to 200 orders to customers and that was just after a month of launching the business. Aya puts great effort in her creations and has driven a lot of customers to purchase her products. Aya adds that MEPI had a big part in pushing her to start this business. Thanks to MEPI,  she was encouraged to face several challenges that prevented her from launching her business in the past. In addition, Aya claims that MEPI friends from both cohorts really encouraged her, and some of them are now loyal customers.

You can check her page on Instagram @ayasblooms and Facebook Aya's Blooms. 

We wish Layan, Aya and Mohammad great success in their future endeavors and we are extremely proud of our cohorts who support each other and who show the true meaning behind Leadership and Community support.

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