The Outreach and Civic Engagement (OCE) unit at LAU integrates civic engagement with the extra-curricular activities of students on both campuses, Beirut and Byblos, encourages students to broaden their horizons within and outside Lebanon, and provides students with leadership training, skills development and volunteer opportunities.
OCE is dedicated to the advancement of LAU’s commitment to civic engagement, education of the whole person and the formation of leaders in a diverse world. It seeks to ensure students’ academic and professional success to bridge the gap between students and civil society and to establish networks for international exchange and collaboration.
Since 2010, OCE has offered a plethora of volunteering, enrichment and extra-curricular activities which are beneficial and relevant to the students’ needs. During the period 2010-2015, more than 6,196 LAU students were engaged and more than 17,640 external beneficiaries participated in its volunteering and civic engagement activities, projects and programs.
Among a growing list of activities and services, OCE organizes:
From Leadership Programs to Workshops and Outreach Activities
Outreach and Civic Engagement educates students about civic, social and leadership responsibilities and provides LAU’s constituencies from faculty, staff and students with leadership activities, programs, and skills development training.
Outreach and Civic Engagement strengthens students’ cognition of international diplomacy, UN ways, procedures, institutions, functions and substantive work in the realm of development, human rights, inter-cultural dialogue through various simulation models of international organizations. LAU student leaders are selected, trained and empowered to train high school and middle school students on issues of public concern.
LAU Model United Nations - a school of leadership “par excellence”
The LAU Model United Nations (LAU MUN) high school program is a school of leadership ‘par excellence’. It was first launched in 2005-2006 with 541 students from 76 participating schools. In 2010-2011, LAU MUN inaugurated its Middle School program and today, the program has witnessed exponential growth in both the numbers of students and the number of schools participating in the program. In its 11th year, the LAU MUN program hosted more than 2,750 students from 174 participating schools coming from all over Lebanon throughout its training sessions and conference.
The program brings the UN culture of global awareness and the implementation of peaceful means for conflict resolution to Lebanese high schools, middle schools, and the community at large. It consists of training sessions that increase student knowledge of the UN procedural rules in a United Nations conference as well as improve students’ ability to research and write position papers and successfully engage in public speaking and role playing, conflict resolution and negotiations, caucusing and resolution writing, among others. By the end of the sessions, students become delegates who take part in UN Committee simulations. The simulations occur over a two-day conference where students play the role of ambassadors in UN Committees and discuss a variety of current topics.
For the past 10 years, more than 1,000,000 hours of teaching peace building and diplomacy were offered by 1,500 LAU student leaders to a total of 16,000 Middle School and High School students from around 174 schools.
In 2015, the United Nations Foundation entrusted LAU with the ownership of the Global Classrooms International Model UN conferences in New York City beginning spring 2016. Two international conferences in New York City are held, one conference for Middle school students and a separate conference for High school participants. Over the past 16 years, these conferences have engaged more than 4,000 student leaders coming from around the world including Ivy League universities and more than 48,000 High school and Middle school students coming from 250 schools in 20 countries.
For more information, visit the LAU Model United Nations website.
LAU Model Arab League Program
In 2011, LAU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) and now has exclusive rights to use the title of ‘Model Arab League’ (MAL) in its simulations in Lebanon. For the past 4 years, LAU has partnered with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development (HFSHD) to implement the MAL program in Lebanon.
The LAU-MAL program helps engage students from various religious and political backgrounds in Lebanon to discuss social, political, and economic subjects that affect and shape the Arab World. Representing one of the Arab League’s 22 member states, student delegates work to achieve consensus on questions that diplomats face every day. Student leaders debate and form coalitions to draft and pass resolutions that seek to resolve some of the Arab countries’ most difficult challenges. Skills are honed through seven training sessions that prepare students for a two-day conference simulating the various sessions and committees of the Arab league.
For the past 5 years, more than 2,900 High school students from 73 schools have participated in the training sessions and the conference of the LAU MAL program. Under the slogan “5 Years of Diplomatic Finesse”, LAU MAL has allowed high school students to engage in an exploration of current Arab world issues through interactive simulations and curricular material.
For the past years, OCE has organized series of workshops for High School and Middle School students for the development of their leadership and life skills within the framework of two academies: Moderation & Justice Academy for Leaders (M.A.J.A.L) and the Leadership & Constitutional Education Academy (L.C.E.A). Through various interactive activities and various role play dynamics on the fundamentals of leadership from both the practical and theoretical perspective, more than 800 high school and middle school students were trained on the pedagogy of successful thinking and planning.
In addition to all of the above, OCE strives to provide outreach opportunities for LAU students in diverse areas including
- projects with UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNIFIL, UNIC, and a ‘UN Aware’ Certification program,
- Global Design for UNICEF Challenge,
- a Leadership and Civic Engagement Certification program,
- residential training camps, reforestation campaigns, and beach cleaning campaigns,
- student participation in international leadership and civic engagement conferences, and
- training workshops on leadership skills, communication skills, conflict resolution, team building, and emotional intelligence.
NGO Annual Fair
The NGO Annual Fair is held by LAU to encourage students to engage in volunteerism for community service. The annual event aims to bridge the gap between students and civil society when students are given the unique opportunity to channel their creative potential, energy, and passion into the important networks of constructive and positive social work and NGOs make students aware of their work.
LAU-NGO Mobile Application
In spring 2014, OCE launched a mobile application, ‘LAU-NGO network.’ This innovative application plays a major role in creating exposure when it comes to NGOs giving the LAU community the opportunity to directly link itself with NGOs and the broader civil society. The application provides a listing of youth-related NGO networks in Lebanon in addition to some prominent international NGOs. The application also posts internship and volunteer opportunities offered by the listed NGOs in addition to an LAU-NGO map that will eventually cover the MENA region, Europe and the U.S.A.
For the 11th consecutive year, LAU operated for the first time the largest water and cheering station on the course. More than 150 LAU students volunteered to cheer and to distribute more than 27,000 water bottles to the runners. In cooperation with the Lebanese NGO “G”, LAU operated, for the first time, a recycling station in which around 50 LAU students gathered more than 6,900 plastic bottles for recycling and saving the environment. Runners, volunteers and cheerleaders were called by OCE, to assist in the preparations of the marathon and to vigorously participate, by completing the 10K Fun Run.
Prior to this, for the Beirut Marathon held on November 10, 2013, LAU mobilized 1,200 runners in a gigantic campaign in support of the Order of Malta-Al Fadi Center, Chabrouh; 105 LAU students participated under the slogan of ‘Run for the Dignity of Humankind’ and won the ‘Best Spirit’ Award for the biggest running team, raising L.L. 12,000,000 for the benefit of Al Fadi Center, Chabrouh.
The USAID University Scholarship Program
The USAID University Scholarship program, managed by OCE, targets students in need of financial assistance newly enrolled at LAU who are academically qualified Lebanese students from public high schools throughout the country. The program aims to provide quality education in various majors and develop the leadership potential of the students necessary to acquire cognitive and leadership skills to build their communities.
For more information, visit the USP webpage.
Outreach and Leadership Academy (OLA)
The Outreach and Leadership Academy (OLA) in Sidon, was inaugurated on February 20, 2014 and is in partnership with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development (HFSHD). Housed in newly restored 18th century premises, OLA is located in Old Downtown Sidon and is the South of Lebanon headquarters for LAU and HFSHD. It acts as a beacon for civic engagement and an open space for all parents, students, teachers and practitioners to learn more about LAU and to engage in all its leadership and civic engagement initiatives.
With its motto ‘Educate, Empower, Engage’, OLA aims at establishing a culture of civic engagement, social awareness, leadership formation and citizenship reinforcement with the ultimate objective of strengthening human development through enhancing social peace, building human capacity and promoting economic opportunities.
Since its inauguration, LAU has conducted more than 124 sessions and activities at OLA with more than 2,640 trainees engaged. The four pillars of OLA revolve around the four Ps, Partnership, Place, People and Prospect. Based on the consolidated strong partnership between LAU and HFSHD, the efforts of the two institutions are channeled at OLA as a place for enriching and nourishing ‘real people with real needs’ in order to activate and foster the spirit of civic engagement, educational leadership and volunteerism. The Outreach Leadership Academy continues to host leadership and civic engagement activities that engage teachers, school advisors and students of the Saida (Sidon) School Network which is composed of 55,000 students and 5,500 faculty and staff. Based on assessed needs and skills, OLA also provides tailor-made training for skills development in the form of workshops, activities and programs which will target different constituencies.