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Connecting the Mediterranean 2018

UWC short courses bring UWC’s mission to a wider audience outside of our regular school year and often away from our 17 campuses. Connecting with the Mediterranean – UWC Short Course Summer 2018 took place from the 8thuntil the 18thof July at the American University of Beirut.

We started off the course with ice breakers

The course brought together 37 participants from 22 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to spend 10 days exploring identity, the environment, future, technology, and the cultural complexities of Lebanon. The aim of the course was to connect youth from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds to one another and provide a platform to discuss sustainable solutions to today’s global challenges.

Participants spent 10 days on the campus of the American University of Beirut in the heart of the capital. The campus is strategically located in one of the most culturally vibrant areas in the city. The participants were participated in a holistic learning experience from workshops to hands on experiences in different areas of Lebanon.

The workshops covered different topics that ranged from community building, sustainability, science, self-perception to privilege and inequalities. The participants were also invited to initiate their own projects and share their stories.

Taking a walk in the Cedars of Chouf

The participants were immersed in Lebanese culture. They were able to enjoy the rich Lebanese cuisine, music, and learn the most familiar Lebanese phrases. In addition, outings were an integral part of the short course experience as participants get to visit different regions of Lebanon and meet university professors, NGO leaders, local politicians, and experts in fields such as history, sustainability, and design thinking.

Students presenting their ideas during a workshop on the garbage crisis in Lebanon

The participants were able to enjoy quality free time in which the interactions with their peers and facilitators, most keep in touch after the course.

Participants made strong connections with their peers

One of the days was dedicated for a trip to Byblos. We visited the UNESCO Human Science Centre and were introduced to the center by their former director. Dr. Dima de Clerck gave a talk on the history of Lebanon followed by a talk by the Mayor of Batroun Marcelino Harek.

Mayor of Batroun Marceilno Harek speaking to the group

We had lunch in the mountains above Byblos, and then went down to Byblos for a guided walk through the oldest still-inhabited city in the world. The day wrapped up with the World Cup Semi-Final at a venue in Batroun.

Participants enjoyed great food and great views in the mountains

After 10 days full of learning, exploring, and having fun, our participants were in tears as they were leaving. It was a transformative experience that has impacted their lives. We are certain they will carry the values of UWC into their endeavors in life. We wish them all the best and hope to see them again!

The group posing in the American University of Beirut on their last day.

The short course was a collaborating with many local partners who we thank dearly. We couldn't have done this without all of them!