Moving Partnerships Forward: LAU

wordThe Lebanese American University (LAU) is the first academic institution that the World Youth Alliance (WYA) partnered with in the Middle East because of their pioneering spirit and willingness to reach out and take risks with partners from across the globe. September 13, 2013 marked another important milestone in the history of LAU as they inaugurated their Academic Center in New York on 46th street right next to the Head Quarters of the United Nations.

This fall, the Academic Center will start hosting students in the US offering them classes in Islamic banking and finance, gender studies in the Arab world, peace education, and Arabic language. The inauguration was followed by a two-day international conference on global outreach, leadership and civic engagement (GOAL). The second panel of the conference hosted WYA’s own Director of Advocacy, Ms. Elyssa Koren, alongside the UN Secretary General Youth Envoy, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi. Ms. Koren introduced the context in which WYA was founded explaining the need for organizations to monitor the negotiations at the UN in order to ensure that the human rights project does not steer away from its foundations and ends up becoming another tool for individual nations to push their political agendas on smaller less developed states.

The conference was a great opportunity to network with different organizations in the US and Lebanon including the Makhzoumi Foundation, Arab NGO Network for Development, Rene Mouawad Foundation, and the Safadi Foundation.

Representing WYA at the conference were Mr. Obadias Ndaba (President) and Mr. Cedric Choukeir (Director of the Middle East Office). Mr. Ndaba received the key of the Academic Center from Dr. Joseph Jabbra, the President of LAU, to mark the admission of WYA as an associate of the center alongside renowned institutes across the globe.

With this new partnership in mind, the World Youth Alliance looks to build on this initiative with further collaborations with the Lebanese American University through our headquarters in New York and our regional office in Beirut.

Cedric Choukeir is the Regional Director of the World Youth Alliance in Middle East.