Outreach and Civic Engagement
Outreach & 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, the 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 beneficial and relevant to students’ needs. During the period 2010–2017, more than 7,296 LAU students were engaged and more than 33,540 external beneficiaries participated in its volunteering and civic engagement activities, projects and programs.
Among a growing list of activities and services, OCE organizes:
Leadership Programs, 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, the inner workings of the UN, as well procedures, institutions, functions and substantive work in the realm of development, human rights, and inter-cultural dialogue. It does so 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 was first launched in 2005– 2006 with 541 students from 76 participating schools. In 2010–2011, LAU MUN inaugurated its Middle School program and has witnessed exponential growth in both the number of students and the number of schools participating in the program. In its 12th year, the LAU MUN program hosted more than 3,000 students from 194 participating schools coming from all over Lebanon.
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 UN procedural rules 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 other skills. 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 12 years, more than 1,008,400 hours of teaching peace building and diplomacy were offered by 2,150 LAU student leaders to a total of 21,700 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 are held annually in New York City, one 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 six years, more than 4,100 High school students from 80 schools have participated in the training sessions and the conference of the LAU MAL program. Under the slogan “Six years of Distinction and Excellence,” LAU MAL has allowed high school students to engage in an exploration of current Arab world issues through interactive simulations and curricular material.
LAU Model European Union
The Outreach and Civic Engagement department at LAU launched the first annual LAU Model European Union program in partnership with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development and in cooperation with the Bringing Europeans Together Association (BETA Europe).
The program is composed of five training sessions and final conference whereby high school students will be simulating member of parliaments in the European Parliament and Ministers in the Council of the European Union.
300 delegates from 36 schools (33 private and 3 public) are receiving the training in English and French in both LAU Byblos Campus and OLA Sidon.
Since 2011, OCE has organized a 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 in the skills of successful thinking and planning.
Outreach and Corporate Visits/Projects
In addition to 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
- The ‘Young Arab Voices’ is a regional project, jointly launched by the British Council and the Anna Lindh Foundation, aims at developing skills and opportunities for youth-led debate across the Arab region. The motions of the debate session are taken from the National Youth Policy document. In 2016, the Young Arab Voices was launched for the first time in Lebanon.
- The Outreach and Civic Engagement Unit at LAU is cooperating with NGO MMKN, under the Volunteer Teacher Program, for the 4th year in the realm of recruiting and training LAU students to teach reinforcement sessions in public schools for Grades 8 & 9 in Beirut and Byblos. LAU Students contributing in this project gives public school students the assistance they need to pass their classes
- The Outreach and Corporate Visits are field trips organized by the Outreach and Civic Engagement unit at LAU to give the chance to LAU students to explore various institutions in terms of work environment and civic engagement.
NGO Annual Fair
The NGO Annual Fair is held by LAU to encourage students to volunteer for community service. The annual event aims to bridge the gap between students and civil society, giving students the unique opportunity to channel their creative potential, energy, and passion into the important networks of constructive and positive social work.
LAU-NGO Mobile Application
In spring 2014, OCE launched a mobile application, “LAU-NGO network.” This innovative application gives the LAU community the opportunity to directly link itself with NGOs and the broader civil society. It 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, as well as to an LAU-NGO map that will eventually cover the MENA region, Europe and the U.S.A.
For the 11 consecutive years, LAU has had a strong presence in the annual Beirut Marathon. In 2016, LAU operated for the first time the largest water and cheering station on the course, involving 150 student volunteers. 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. Previously, in 2013, LAU students raised 12 million L.L. for charity and won the event’s “Best Spirit” award for mustering the largest running team.
The USAID University Scholarship Program
OCE manages LAU’s USAID University Scholarship Program (USP), which allows academically qualified but financially underprivileged Lebanese students from public high schools to attend the university. The program aims to provide quality education in various majors and develop the leadership potential of the students, providing them with the skills necessary to build their communities.
For more information, visit the USP webpage.
Outreach & Leadership Academy (OLA)
In operation since 2014, the Outreach & Leadership Academy (OLA) in Sidon is run by OCE in partnership with the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development (HFSHD). Housed in newly restored eighteenth-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.
In 2016, OCE launched OLA Solidere and devised an action plan based on the bellow 8 pillars:
- Simulation Models;
- Entrepreneurship programs and activities;
- Internship opportunities and workshops;
- Leadership Certification for public employees, NGOs, educational sector and young professionals;
- Professional Development for Rafic Hariri High School (Board of Advisors);
- International Programs & Business Development;
- “Our Constitution” (Dostourona): a program aimed at enlightening students about the constitution & the Taef Accord; and
- NGO program for sustainable development.