At a recent meeting of the European Commission’s Working Group on Legal Migration, the Middle East Scholars Program in Lithuania was presented as a role model for all European Union countries working to create educational pathways for individuals in need of international protection. As a small country in the European Union, Lithuania is making notable changes, providing new opportunities for outstanding young people from war-torn Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. For the fall semester of 2020, 56 of these students are studying at LCC International University, located in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda. As an American-style higher education institution where all studies are conducted only in English for students that come from more than 50 countries, LCC International University is also the only university in Lithuania to offer a special educational program for young people in the Middle East.
“I am extremely grateful to LCC International University for the opportunity to continue my studies. LCC International University gives me more than just knowledge. These studies open up opportunities for me to interact with people from different countries with different experiences, which helps me to remain a positive and broad-minded person. I believe that a Master's degree in International Management will help me find the key to unlocking the door to a better life for my entire community,” says Nadhim Ghanim, who has been living with his family at Khanke Camp in Iraq for five years. Nadhim is currently taking care of food for his community, and is teaching children English voluntarily. He has completed a bachelor’s degree in English literature and hopes that one day the country will change and he will be able to return to his hometown and rebuild his home and community, to be one without fear.
The Middle East Scholars Program is aimed at the most outstanding young people from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The aim is to ensure that young people in the countries of the Middle East do not become a lost generation but instead receive an opportunity for education and return to help rebuild their countries for the future with democratic and human rights principles.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in medicine. I am currently working at a hospital in Mosul, but with the opportunity given to me by LCC International University, I will have a master’s degree that I believe will be a starting point in my life to start projects in more than just medicine. Traveling to Europe, meeting people from different cultures, gaining international knowledge, I believe these will also help to open new doors for me and give me the opportunity to benefit my country,” says Hanan Darweesh Shammo. Hanan is the only one in her family who has stayed in Iraq and is trying to be a self reliant and independent woman.
The goal of the Middle East Scholars Program, developed by LCC International University together with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is to develop citizens of war-affected countries into new leaders. It also aims to strengthen local communities in war-affected countries by providing education, knowledge and an international experience that helps broaden the thinking of young people and contributes to change in these war-affected Middle Eastern countries. It is believed that with a Western-patterned education, young people will be able to initiate and implement positive change in their countries.
Currently, 13 students from Afghanistan, 39 from Iraq and 4 from Syria are studying in various undergraduate and graduate programs at LCC International University. They all believe this new opportunity to develop life skills and professional skills here at LCC International University will help them be useful to the future of their countries.
This project is supported by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which contributes to the implementation of the goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda until 2030.