U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ethan Goldrich met with Lebanese American University leaders and a group of U.S. Government-sponsoredscholars, and toured the university's Beirut campus on March 27, along with a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. LAU President Michel E. Mawad welcomed the delegation on campus. He said, 'As an American Institution of higher education in the Middle East, we at LAU are proud to work closely with the U.S. Government, specifically with the U.S.Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). We are particularly grateful to the American people and their generosity as they are supporting us in fostering scholastic activities, leadership and scholarship in this part of the world.' Goldrich was glad to meet with LAU leaders and the students. 'It was particularly helpful to understand and learn firsthand of the impact of the U.S. scholarships, and how their experiences within the different programs have played out, especially as they are living through times of crises in Lebanon,' he said. The university currently hosts 391 Lebanese and Arabnationals who are recipients of the life-changing Higher Education Scholarships (HES) and the Tomorrow's Leaders (TL) scholarships granted by USAID and U.S.-MEPI, respectively. Some of those students were on hand for a roundtable discussion, namely HES recipients Sara El Turk and Mohamad Ballouz; TL undergraduate scholar Meriem Msilini; TL graduate student Nabila Arab; and TL gender scholar Sara Hamadneh. The session was moderated by LAU Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management Elise Salem. The students shared how the programs offer them a lot more than just tuition coverage. Goldrich was accompanied in his visit by USAID Mission Director Julie Southfield; USAID Education Officer Tim Curtain; MEPI Coordinator David Lewis; USAID Project Management Specialist Ahmad Al-Amine; Public Diplomacy Emerging Voices Spec ialist Elie Ferneiny; and MEPI Program Grants Manager Maya Barhouche. Source: National News Agency - Lebanon