The Lebanese Nigeria Initiative has endowed the MBA programme at the American University Beirut for the sum of $1.5m for Nigerians. The Lebanese Nigeria Initiative (LNI), a non-profit organization 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 at the media presentation of Mr. Ajibola Olubando as the first beneficiary of the LNI MBA scholarship in Lagos, 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 program 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.
Mr. Nicolas said Lebanon at the crossroads of three continents and many civilizations along history, accommodates several internationally recognized 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, Mr. Ali Safieddine, Vice-Chairman Lebanese Nigeria Initiative said 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. Mr. 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 the beneficiaries while at the American University of Beirut 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, Mr. Safieddine said the candidate emerged out of numerous applicants who must satisfy the stringent admission requirement of AUB and also be ready and willing to return to Nigeria to use his/her 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 the 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.