Youth Empowerment Programme: empowering young people to create change


The Youth Empowerment Programme gives talented and motivated but disadvantaged young people the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge to actively contribute to the development of their societies, whether in the Arab world or in the UK. By encouraging young people to become ‘engaged citizens’, the Youth Empowerment Programme is closely linked to the Foundation’s work on civil society.

The Programme consists of four sub-programmes.

Postgraduate opportunities for Arab students in the UK: UK Scholarships

The UK Scholarships Programme has offered, in cooperation with UK universities, Masters scholarships for Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian students (including Palestinians from Lebanon and Syria and Palestinian citizens of Israel). In the 2015/16 academic year the Foundation is supporting one Syrian, one Lebanese and three Palestinian students at the universities of East Anglia and Edinburgh, and at Imperial College London. In partnership with Medical Aid for Palestinians, it is also supporting four scholarships in medical/health related fields for Palestinian health professionals at universities across the UK.

Given the thousands of young Syrian refugees who are unable to access university education, from 2016 the Asfari Foundation will be setting up higher education support programmes in Syria’s neighbouring countries. This will it allow it to support far more Syrians than through its current UK Masters scholarships. Announcements will be made in due time on the Foundation’s newspage on which partners we will be working with. 

Education for young people in the Arab world: Middle East Scholarships

The Middle East Scholarships Programme continues the Asfari Foundation’s existing scholarships at universities in its Arab target countries until commitments are met. Since 2008 the Foundation has supported 32 Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian students at the American University of Beirut. The Programme has also contributed to scholarship endowment schemes at Bethlehem University and one for Syrian students at the American University of Sharjah.

As of January 2016, the Foundation had 75 alumni who had been supported through an Asfari scholarship or fellowship scheme.

Helping disadvantaged young people into work: Middle East Young People

The Middle East Young People’s Programme makes grants to organisations that help disadvantaged young people move into employment, with a particular focus on promoting youth entrepreneurship. Current partners in Palestine include Asala, the Arab Cultural Association, and Gaza Sky Geeks (Mercy Corps). In Lebanon, the Foundation works with the Child and Mother Welfare Association amongst other vocational training projects. The Foundation has supported a number of enterprise projects, including competitions for young Syrians run by SPARK and Jusoor/Oasis500.

Helping young people in the UK into work: UK Young People

The UK Young People’s Programme provides grants to organisations helping young people in the UK move into employment. Current partners include Centrepoint, Fight for Peace, MyBnk, Street League, Tomorrow’s People, Volunteer it Yourself, and WorkingRite.

Raneem Salameh - CF028567

Syrian students of Sociology and Nutrition and Dietetics at the American University of Beirut. (Permission for photos given)

Empowering People To Create Change