AlumniUM
International Academy - Scholarship holders

By FNF Lebanon
Scholarship Holders

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Scholarship Holders - International Academy.

The life of the scholarship holders of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation is multifaceted: from seminars on liberal or other exciting topics and networking meetings, to exchanges with scholarship holders of other foundations. What is also part of it is the International Academy, which is conceived and prepared in cooperation with the respective foreign office of the foundation. The International Academy is more than just a study trip. It allows the scholarship holders to participate in the work of the foundation on site and is a tremendous eye-opener for country- and region-specific background knowledge. After a preparatory seminar in Berlin, which introduced them to the history of this wonderful country, the group was to travel to Lebanon at the end of May.

On the first day, the scholarship holders were able to immerse themselves in the cultural and political past of the Lebanese capital Beirut as part of an "alternative city tour." In the subsequent discussion with the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lebanon, Andreas Kindl, the perspective of today's Lebanon was then also illuminated - with all its crises and problems. A reception at the Orient Institute about the religious diversity of the country successfully rounded off the first day.

The second day was dedicated to different thematic focuses - from development cooperation, freedom of the press and expression, and political activism to work with Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In addition, the scholarship holders had the opportunity to talk with the newly elected member of parliament, Michel Moawad. 

The next day, they traveled to southern Lebanon to the Maritime Task Force of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The admiral in charge of this task force, Andreas Mügge, gave the group an overview of the mission and the cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces. A subsequent tour of the ruins of Tyros provided further insight into Lebanon's diverse and rich history.

Thursday morning, the scholarship holders were able to visit the Lebanese President's summer residence before heading to the Al-Chouf Nature Reserve for the adoption of a cedar tree. At noon, the Nation Station gave an overview about their work since the Beirut Port explosion in August 2020 - something that greatly impressed the scholarship holders. The afternoon also included a discussion with the United Nations Head of Mission for the Drugs and Crime Unit, Wolfgang Aigner, about the fight against drug trafficking and crime in Lebanon.

Friday was devoted to the economic and financial crisis in the country with a visit to Saint Joseph University in Beirut. This was to be followed by a discussion - with a more positive outlook - on the startup scene in Lebanon. The education system and related challenges were also discussed in the afternoon at the American University of Beirut.

On the last day of the International Academy, a visit to a well-known wine region and the port city of Byblos could not be missed. A guided tour through the ruins of the city ended an exciting and, in many ways, impressive journey through Lebanon.

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