Outreach and Civic Engagement And Study Abroad and International Exchange

The Outreach and Civic Engagement (OCE) at LAU integrates civic engagement with the extra-curricular activities of LAU students on both campuses, in Beirut and Byblos, encourages students to broaden their horizons both within and outside Lebanon, and provides students with leadership training, skills development and volunteering opportunities.

The Outreach and Civic Engagement is committed 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.

Among a growing list of activities and services, OCE organizes:

1. From Leadership Programs and Workshops to Outreach Activities

OCE 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.

OCEstrengthens students’ cognition of international diplomacy, UN ways, procedure, 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 in their turn train high-school and middle-school students on issues of public concern:

a.       LAU Model United Nations—a school of leadership “par excellence”

The Global Classrooms Lebanese American University Model United Nations (GC LAU MUN) High School program was first launched in 2006 with 541 students from 76 high schools. Today, after launching the 10th annual High School and 5th Middle School program under the slogan of “10 Years of Student Leadership”, the numbers have grown to a total sum of 174 schools and over 2,600 students.

GC LAU MUN is a program that 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. The program consists of training sessions that increase student knowledge of the United Nations and rules of procedure 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 United Nations committee simulations. The simulations occur over a two-day Final Conference where students play the role of ambassadors in United Nations Committees and discuss a variety of current topics.

For more information please visit the LAU Model United Nations website.

b.      LAU Model Arab League Program

In 2011, LAU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) and now has the exclusive right to use the title of “Model Arab League” (MAL) in its simulations in Lebanon. LAU has partnered with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development (HFSHD) to implement the first MAL program in Lebanon.

The LAU MAL program helps engage students from various religious and political backgrounds in Lebanon to discuss various social, political, and economic subjects that affect and shape our 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 are given the opportunity to debate and form coalitions in order to draft and pass resolutions that seek to resolve some of the Arab countries’ most difficult challenges. The transfer of skills is conveyed through seven training sessions that prepare the students for a two-day conference simulating the various sessions and committees of the Arab League.

c.       Leadership Training

   i.   MAJAL: The Outreach and Civic Engagement unit (OCE) organizes a series of workshops for High School and Middle School students within the framework of “Moderation & Justice Academy for Leaders” (M.A.J.A.L). This year’s theme is entitled: “How Do Successful Students Think?” Through various interactive activities on the pedagogy of successful thinking, students will learn the importance of engaging in focused thinking, harnessing creative thinking, benefiting from shared thinking, employing reflective thinking and employing legal thinking.

  ii.   Leadership and Constitutional Education Academy: The OCE organizes a series of workshops about leadership skills within the framework of “Leadership & Constitutional Education Academy”. High school and middle school students are trained through interactive activities and various role play dynamics on the fundamentals of leadership from both a practical and legal perspective.

d.      Outreach Projects

In addition to all of the above, OCE strives to provide all possible outreach opportunities for LAU students in diverse areas including:

  i. Projects with UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNIFIL, UNIC, and a “UN Aware” Certification program

  ii. Global Design for UNICEF Challenge

iii. A Leadership and Civic Engagement Certification program

iv. Residential training camps, reforestation campaigns, and beach cleaning campaigns

 v. Student participation in international leadership and civic engagement conferences

vi. Training workshops on issues related to leadership skills, communication skills, conflict resolution, effective team building, and emotional intelligence

2. Yearly NGO Fair

LAU holds an annual NGO fair to encourage students to engage in community service and volunteerism. The annual event aims to bridge the gap between students and civil society whereby NGOs are given the chance to make students aware of their work and students are given the unique opportunity to channel their creative potential, energy, and passion into the important networks of constructive and positive social work.

For more info please visit the LAU–NGO Fair webpage.

3. LAU-NGO Mobile Application

In spring 2014, the OCE launched a mobile application, “LAU-NGO network.” This innovative app will play a major role in creating exposure when it comes to NGOs and will give the LAU community the opportunity to directly link itself with NGOs and the broader civil society. The app provides a listing of youth-related NGO networks in Lebanon in addition to some prominent international NGOs. The app 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.

4. Beirut Marathon

For the 10th consecutive year, more than 250 LAU students participated in the annual Beirut Marathon event, on Sunday November 9, 2014. What was special about this year is that LAU promoted the spirit of unity and national solidarity, by adopting the cause of LAU alumnae Lebanese singer Tania Kassis, through One Lebanon, an apolitical cultural movement.

The Outreach and Civic Engagement department at the Lebanese American University called runners, volunteers and cheerleaders to assist in the preparations of the marathon and to vigorously participate, by completing the 10K Fun Run.

For the 2013 Beirut Marathon, LAU put in place a huge campaign in support of the Order of Malta- Al Fadi Center, Chabrouh under the slogan of “Run for the Dignity of Humankind.” An LAU team of more than 1,200 runners mobilized for the marathon held on November 10, 2013, and 105 LAU students volunteered for the day. As a result of this effort, LAU raised 

L.L. 12,000,000 for the benefit of Al Fadi Center, Chabrouh, and won the “Best Spirit” award for the biggest running team.

5. The USAID University Scholarship Program

The USAID University Scholarship Program managed by OCE once students enroll at LAU, targets needy and academically qualified Lebanese students from public high schools throughout the country. The program aims to provide quality education in various majors as well as develop the leadership potential of the students so that they acquire the necessary cognitive and leadership skills to work in order to build their own communities.

For more information please visit the USP webpage.

6. Outreach & Leadership Academy (O.L.A)

OLA-Outreach & Leadership Academy- in Saida, was inaugurated on February 20, 2014 and is in partnership with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development. A newly restored 18th century premises, OLA, located in Old Downtown Sidon, is the South of Lebanon headquarters for LAU and HFSHD which 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 and until present, 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. OLA will continue to host leadership and civic engagement activities that engage teachers, school advisors and students of the Saida School Network which is composed of 55,000 students and 5,500 faculty and staff. OLA, based on assessed needs and skills, will also be providing tailor-made training for skills development in the form of workshops, activities and programs which will target different constituencies. 

Last modified: February 12, 2019