Lebanese American University


LAU-MEPI TL welcomes incoming students

LAU introduces and greets 22 new MEPI-TL students in a day-long retreat at the Byblos campus.


Students bond during the meet and greet session.


A West African drum session was used to teach balance, discipline and respect.


For senior student Bariq Mahadin, “The program offers us the chance to drive change in the region. This is a way of giving back and becoming socially aware.”

The incoming freshmen students of the LAU Middle East Partnership Initiative-Tomorrow’s Leaders (LAU-MEPI TL) program have just started off their year with a day-long retreat at the university’s Byblos Campus.

“I am confident that this new experience is going to be amazing and LAU is the perfect place for it,” says Ali Zughdani an incoming MEPI TL student of Libyan origin.

LAU-MEPI TL is a leadership program jointly sponsored by the United States Department of State and LAU, and managed by the University Enterprise Office (UEO). Students from the region are funded to pursue studies at LAU followed by two internships in their home country, or Lebanon, and to study for a semester in the US. Included in the program are workshops and conferences that aim to improve the student’s leadership skills.

To start off the semester, old and new LAU-MEPI TL students joined in activities that promoted team building and helped foster ties between them. The meet and greet session revealed the good, the bad and the ugly about their fellow classmates. Then during a West African drum session, the students learned discipline, balance and respect. After which they spent an hour dancing to learn about the art of alternative communication.

Such activities are an example of the workshops the students are expected to attend throughout their time at LAU, indicates Rola Nader, senior administrative coordinator of the program.

 “MEPI-TL is not just a scholarship program…it is investing in people to create new leaders,” says Dr. Victor Khachan, MEPI TL student life coordinator and professor of applied linguistics, adding that “the leadership edge is as important as the academic engagement.”

According to Nader, “It’s about equipping students from the MENA region with excellent academic skills as well as leadership communication skills that build their character to become active citizens in the future.” Emphasizing his hope to pursue music, for Syrian national Zolfiqar Belal, studying at LAU “is not only about the education, it’s about student life, the clubs and all the extracurricular activities.” Both Belal and Zughdani come from countries that are new to the LAU-MEPI TL program .

Stressing the influence this sponsorship has on the students’ respective communities, senior student Bariq Mahadin explains, “The program offers us the chance to drive change in the region. This is a way of giving back and becoming socially aware.”

UEO Director Walid Touma adds, “From the Gulf to North Africa to the Levant, the tidal wave of change is moving through the fabric of every nation and every citizen. Our tomorrow’s leaders are at the center of this change: learning from it  and getting ready to give back and be an active part of it while laying a solid foundation for future generations to come.”




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