Posted by News Express | 22 August 2019 | 686 times
The good relationship between Nigeria and Lebanon has been strengthened with the establishment of an endowment programme by the Lebanese Nigeria Initiative (LNI), a non-profit organisation. LNI was established by business leaders of the Lebanese community in Nigeria and the endowment fund will award full MBA scholarships to two young Nigerians, every year, in perpetuity, at the prestigious American University Beirut (AUB).
The LNI-AUB MBA endowment fund worth $1.5m will enable two Nigerians to attend AUB every year for life.
Speaking Tuesday in Lagos at the media presentation of Mr. Ajibola Olubando as the first beneficiary of the LNI MBA scholarship, the Consul General of Lebanon in Nigeria, Mr. Elias Nicolas, said the scholarship scheme which adds “to other economic and social development contributions of the Lebanese community in Nigeria” is aimed at further strengthening the existing friendly relations between the two countries. According to the Consul General, the Lebanese community has always seen itself as part of the social fabric of Nigeria, noting that the current programme is a sign of its commitment towards the educational upliftment of young Nigerians. He thanked the Chairman of LNI, Mr. Faysal El Khalil, and other members of the Board of Trustees “for their huge efforts in birthing this noble project”.
The Consul General said that Lebanon, at the crossroads of three continents and many civilisations along history, accommodates several internationally recognised higher institutions, including the AUB, that have produced several high calibre scientists, heads of states and prime ministers around the Middle East and beyond.
In his remarks at the event, LNI Vice-Chairman, Mr. Ali Safieddine, said that the endowment was conceived to identify young Nigerians who can acquire requisite knowledge from global institutions who would be willing to come back and invest the same in Nigeria for the benefit of the country. Safieddine, who traced the history of first Lebanese to settle in Nigeria to 1880, thanked Nigeria for giving the Lebanese an opportunity to live peacefully within the communities and to do business, saying that this spirit of unity was part of what contributed to the establishment of the endowment fund at American University of Beirut.
He said that the beneficiaries while at AUB would be ambassadors of Nigeria in Lebanon and when they are back, would be ambassadors of Lebanon in Nigeria as they would be sufficiency immersed in the two cultures.
Speaking on the criteria for selection, Safieddine said that the candidate emerged out of numerous applicants who satisfied the stringent admission requirement of AUB and are also ready and willing to return to Nigeria to use their education to impact the society. He said lots of rigour went into the selection process of the candidates who were interviewed by a panel of LNI and AUB before it was narrowed to four, whom were further interviewed by the LNI board, and a winner was selected.
The LNI-AUB MBA endowment fund scholarship awardee, Mr. Ajibola Olubando, a Petroleum and Gas Engineering graduate of University of University of Lagos, while thanking LNI for the opportunity to study at AUB, said he will use his global education to impact Nigerian society upon returning to Nigeria after graduation.
•Photo shows, from left; Elias Nicolas, Consul General of Lebanon; Mr Ajibola Olubando, 2019 Lebanese Nigeria Initiative scholarship awardee and Ali Safieddine, Vice-Chairman, LNI, at the presentation of first LNI Scholarship programme awardee held at the Lebanese Consul General's Office in Lagos on Tuesday
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