After four years of academic enrollment, leadership training, and professional development, the second cohort of USP scholars is getting ready to walk the aisle during the 55th commencement ceremony of Haigazian University (HU), which also coincides with the institution’s 60thanniversary.
The University Scholarship Program (USP) at Haigazian University was established in 2010, with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The objective of this partnership between HU and USAID is to offer full scholarships to 65 public school students with financial need, while also ensuring a gender-balanced representation from each of Lebanon’s 26 districts. For four years, USP scholars at HU received full undergraduate tuition, stipends, and funding for housing and books.
“With this prolific partnership, USAID not only responded to the academic and social needs of the selected students, but also instilled in them a clear sense of personal and communal responsibility,” says Haigazian University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian.
The USP program achieves both academic excellence and professional development. Students are required to attend leadership training sessions, hosted by renowned consulting and training institutions and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). After two years of preparation, also students acquired the skills needed to manage their own social enterprise or business. Every scholar is required to complete an internship with a reputable establishment and give back to society through community service. Additionally, students benefit from intensive career guidance and acquire skills needed to find jobs through career boot camps and other methods.
The majority of USP students have success stories to share both on and off campus. For example, three HU USP students have been accepted to Google’s Building Opportunities for Leadership and Development (BOLD) immersion program in Dublin, Ireland, a program that seeks solutions to challenges that technology firms face. Eleven others have already been accepted at Teach for Lebanon, an NGO that recruits recentgraduates to teach in public schools to elevate the schools’ academic levels. Most recently, USP scholar Sarah Hatoum was chosen to give the valedictorian speech during the 2015 commencement on behalf of the graduating class. Hatoum expressed her pride by saying “it is truly an honor to speak on behalf of the students of Haigazian. I shall always be proud of this institutions’ commitment to excellence and merit”!