News & Media

October 24, 2013
UN, Lebanon University Launch Student Engagement Course on UN Day

On Thursday October 24, 2013, Under the patronage of the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut) and on the occasion of the United Nations Day, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) launched a new course entitled “Student Engagement and Capacity Building on the Work of the United Nations” with the aim of raising awareness among youth about the work, issues and priorities of the UN.

In a ceremony attended by UN officials and USEK professors and students, the course was launched by the Higher Institute of Political and Administrative Sciences and its Student Affairs Office of the University.

UNIC Beirut Director Bahaa Elkoussy gave a presentation on how and why the UN system engages youth around the world and the Public Information Officer of the World Food Program (WFP), Laure Chedraoui, outlined assistance and support given by her agency and other UN entities to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

The ceremony started with statements by USEK’s Pro-Rector and Director of Higher Institute of Political and Administrative Sciences Georges Yahchouchi and USEK’s Deputy Director of Student Affairs Office, Khalil Abboud. Yahchouchi said the university decided to boost its students’ UN experience and knowledge, noting that “This course, which was designed by joint efforts of USEK and UNIC, will enhance our students’ engagement in UN programs and build a better understanding of the UN system and activities.” He said 36 USEK students already volunteered to experience this new academic initiative. Divided into groups, they will develop projects responding to the challenges of this year as defined by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. Mr. Khalil Abboud saw the course as one way to “…ensure that UN development messages will reach youth.” and they will drive the future of the country.

Mr. Bahaa Elkoussy took attendees through many programs, activities and events through which the UN system seeks to intensify commitment to and investment in youth, enhance their political participation and inclusion, strengthen partnerships with their organizations, boost inter-cultural understanding among young people, as well as a range of many other similar pursuits. “The UN has long recognized that the imagination, ideals and energies of young people are vital for the continuing development of societies.” the UNIC chief said.

Ms. Laure Chedraoui explained about the UN aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and particularly WFP’s role in providing them with food assistance. She said WFP’s assistance to Syrian refugees benefits both the refugees and Lebanon’s economy and host communities. She spoke about the newly introduced WFP voucher and E-card programs through which the agency is ensuring that “…refugees are able to meet their food needs while injecting millions of dollars into the Lebanese economy.” She added that so far this year WFP has delivered around three million food vouchers worth US$ 82 million, in addition to 1,467 tons of food parcels to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, noting that the UN agency is moving from paper vouchers to e-vouchers in order to reach people in need more effectively.

Speaking on behalf of students, Tamara Boulos described the course as a “value-added” program “…that will constitute a great asset for us all as we will certainly be able to understand the various fields of action of the UN, to adopt the universal values and moral code entrenched in the UN Charter...”

The ceremony also included the screening of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the occasion of the UN Day. 
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