U.S. ambassador meets USP scholars
106 USP scholarship recipients started undergraduate classes this month
LAU welcomed over 100 new scholarship students last week with an opportunity to mingle with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale.
Beneficiaries of the University Scholarship Program (USP) attended a welcoming reception on October 2, where they were able to meet each other and introduce themselves to Hale and LAU President Dr. Joseph G. Jabbra. USP, which is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides LAU with funding to offer full scholarships to outstanding but economically disadvantaged students from Lebanese public schools.
Fidaa Al-Fakih, a business management student, said the reception offered students a chance to show USAID how far their help was going. “It’s a great opportunity to thank USAID and the American people for their support. Being part of USP has given me great self-confidence, improved my leadership skills, and shown me where my real passions in life lie.”
This semester, some 106 students received the scholarship, which covers tuition fees, leadership and civic engagement training, medical insurance, housing, book costs and a monthly stipend. It is the third consecutive year of the highly competitive program, bringing the total number of USP students at LAU to 210.
The program is designed to offer much more than a simple scholarship, said Houda Houbeish, a communication arts student from USP’s second cohort. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Students are mentored by previous USP recipients and are part of a community. Many students are also active members of LAU’s numerous extra-curricular groups, such as Model United Nations.”
The program is part of LAU’s ongoing efforts to attract a diverse student body characterized by academic strength rather than economic status, said Elie Samia, executive director of LAU’s Outreach and Civic Engagement unit, which oversees many of the leadership courses for USP students. “LAU is striving to make quality American higher education available to deserving students from across the country. The USP program is proof of the faith the American people and LAU have in what Lebanon’s hardworking students can achieve,” said Samia, who is also USP program director.
The values nurtured by USP don’t end with graduation, noted Al-Fakih. “The day that we graduate from LAU marks the beginning of a lifelong mission to contribute to our society and to give back.”