July 31, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Under the patronage of the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Ashraf Dabbour, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Matthias Schmale, and with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, the UNRWA Siblin Training Center – South Campus organized a graduation ceremony for its 429 students for the academic year 2014-2015, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
The ceremony was attended by around 1500 guests, including Head of the Cooperation Section at the EU Delegation, Dr. Alexis Loeber, the UNRWA Chief of Education Program, as well as national and international partners, representatives of the Palestinian factions, mayors, school principals and teachers, and the families of the graduating students.
The ceremony opened with the screening of a short film, entitled: “Partners for Palestine Refugees Since 1971”, reflecting the long-standing and dynamic partnership between the European Union and UNRWA.
Speaking on behalf of all graduates, the student Aya Al-Sayyah thanked all parties that made this day possible: “A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart”. She added that she and her fellow graduates remain thankful for “UNRWA and the European Union for their continued and genuine support and interest in the Siblin Training Center”.
The Director of Siblin Training Center, Mr. Samer Serhan described his joy in seeing the class of 2015 graduate “after acquiring the theoretical and practical skills, expertise, capacities and competencies that will enable students who have diligently persevered, under the watchful eye of their parents, to find competitive job opportunities. Hence, we attained our common goal to guarantee success”.
Stressing on the importance of life-long education, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Matthias Schmale congratulated the students and urged them to rise above the challenges and carry on with their journey to seek advanced education: “During my first three months as UNRWA director I have been truly inspired by the many Palestinians I have met, who started their education in an UNRWA school, then went to Siblin, and then against all odds became successful in their professional career”.
Urging the graduates to be active players in life, the representative of the EU Delegation, Dr. Alexis Loeber, said: “Changes are affecting the political, economic, technological and cultural landscapes and we should be prepared to face their effects. But with changes come opportunities. What is clear is that continuous learning and re-training will be necessary. They will be your tools to unlocking the opportunities of the future.”
Congratulating the students and their families, the Palestinian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Ashraf Dabbour assured the students that “you have proven wrong every person who believed you would be a trigger to extremism in the region. You proved to be Palestinians who are committed to your people, your cause and your country Palestine, by choosing the path of education and knowledge to achieve our dream”.
The ceremony was concluded with the distribution of the diplomas to the graduates of the class of 2015 in Siblin Training Center – South Campus.
A similar graduation ceremony was held on Friday, July 31, 2015, in Siblin Training Center – North Campus, where another 104 students graduated, in the presence of the representative of the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Lebanon, Consul Ramzi Mansour and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, Mr. Matthias Schmale, with the participation of the Lebanese – Palestinian Dialogue Committee, representatives of the Palestinian committees and factions, and local, national and international partners, guests and parents.
Speaking on behalf of the graduates of the North Campus, Ms. Marwa Al-Saadi thanked all those who accompanied her and her fellow graduates throughout their journey: “You have all worked to guide us down the right path, the path of success, brilliance, hope, goodness, development and hard work. Yes, we were children and under your responsibility. But you rose up to the challenge and assumed the responsibility with dedication and devotion”.
In its speech, the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee praised the graduates, their parents, staff members and distinguished guests and partners, congratulating “UNRWA for obtaining an official accreditation for Siblin Training Center, through the Cabinet, which will open up vast prospects for students in their professional lives. Furthermore, we are currently working with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to issue applied decrees and decisions in order to complete the process of strengthening this scientific and successful edifice”.
Diplomas were distributed at the end of the ceremony to the graduates of the class of 2015 in Siblin Training Center – North Campus.