Lebanese American University

Tomorrow’s Leaders

Graduate Program (TLG Academic Year 2021-2023)

TLers during the snow showing outing

The TLG Program (Background and Criteria)

The Lebanese American University (LAU) has launched the Tomorrow’s Leaders Graduate (TLG)  Program funded by the U.S. Department of State, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The program supports academically qualified and economically deserving graduate students, from the MENA region with an opportunity to earn a master’s degree and be involved in organized research. This program prepares emerging leaders to propose local solutions to shared problems at U.S. accredited institutions of higher learning and earn a master’s degree in one of the following fields: Applied Economics, Education, Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, International Affairs, Migration Studies, and Molecular Biology.

Who Can Apply?

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  1. Be committed to complete your Master’s degree within two years (Starting fall 2021)
  2. Be committed to pursue hands-on public policy research and work as part of your Master’s program.
  3. Demonstrate academic excellence (Maintain a GPA of 3.0 throughout the academic years)
  4. Be a citizen of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria (residing outside the country), Tunisia, and Yemen
  5. Demonstrate financial need status per MEPI and LAU’s Financial Aid policies. Applicants should be underrepresented or economically deserving students and should submit the relevant Financial Aid application as per the below.

Note: American citizens and Green Card holders are not eligible to apply.

What Does the TLG Program Cover?

If you are accepted, the program will cover the following:

  1. Full tuition fees
  2. Medical insurance
  3. Monthly Stipend
  4. Student housing (for non-Lebanese students)
  5. Laptop
  6. Internship/practicum opportunity
  7. Annual round-trip economy air ticket from home to campus (for non-Lebanese students)

Eligible Research Programs at LAU

  1. M.A. in Applied Economics - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
  2. M.A. in Education – 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
  3. M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
  4. M.A. in International Affairs - 30 credits (Beirut or Byblos Campus)
  5. M.A. in Migration Studies - 30 credits (Beirut Campus)
  6. M.S. in Molecular Biology – 30 credits (Beirut or Byblos Campus)

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Economics

The Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Economics provides interested candidates with an in-depth understanding of economic theory and applied quantitative methods.

The program prepares future professionals for jobs as applied economists in the private and public sectors. The student will learn how to gather, read and assess economic data, as well as conduct relevant policy analyses that are most valued by businesses, organizations, and policymakers. The program is also designed to be an intermediate step to the PhD in Economics or related fields.

Youth and Female Economic Exclusion in the Middle East

Overview: The Department of Economics is the largest department in Lebanon in terms of full-time faculty members. Members of the Department have published extensively on the economics of the Middle East and have conducted numerous consultancy assignments with local, regional and international organizations on economic problems afflicting the region. Moreover, the department edits the international journal Review of Middle East Economics and Finance. It is noteworthy, that members of the department received a substantial research grant funded by the European Commission entitled the SAHWA project “Researching Arab Mediterranean Youth: Towards a New Social Contract” (www.sahwa.eu). A unique dataset on Arab youth resulted from this project.  We envisage exploring this unique dataset with the current and incoming MEPI-TLG cohorts.

Research Focus: The objective of this M.A. in Applied Economics is to understand the drivers of economic exclusion in the Middle East focusing on Arab countries. Namely, the focus will be on the following drivers: unemployment and in particular youth unemployment, low female labor force participation in the context of improved female educational attainment, poverty, and marginalization. The Department of Economics will recruit under the MEPI TLG program a diversified group of future leaders from underprivileged backgrounds. The two-year program’s expected outcomes include equipping students with the necessary skills to tackle real-life economic problems through course work, internship, research work, graduate assistantship, and engagement in departmental and university life.

Program Requirements: 9 courses (27 credits) are required for the degree in addition to a capstone project (3 credits) described as follows: The Applied Economics Project course is a research project written under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to use economic models and tools to tackle an applied economics problem. Students are then required to present their work in a forum open for economics faculty and graduate students.

Further information about the M.A. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Nagham Sayour.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education

The master’s degree program is for students who wish to study a particular field in education, acquire a general theoretical background for past and future field experiences, or develop new skills for use in professional work in the field of education.

The program was designed for educators who would like to remain on the cutting edge of information, technology, and policies affecting the field of education. Some educators merely want to update their teaching and counseling strategies, research skills, or management techniques needed to play a unique role as teachers, counselors, special educators, administrators, and material developers in leading educational institutions in Lebanon and the Arab world.

Empowering MENA Women to become Leaders in STEM Education

Overview: Literature and economic policy reports show that the imbalance in the gender composition of STEM student body and workforce is negatively affecting the economy and the fulfillment of the job market needs. The extent of this imbalance varies depending on many factors. These include, but might not be limited to historical, religious, cultural, socio-economic, and educational factors. It is important to have a deeper understanding of those factors as they specifically pertain to each country and culture. In Lebanon and the MENA region, social, cultural, and religious values, together with strong parental influence weigh heavily on male and female youth choices of their fields of study and subsequently their careers. The educational system itself is also a main factor. Studies show that instructional approaches and teachers’ differential interactions with boys and girls in the classroom affect females’ self-image and evaluation of their own abilities to engage in scientific activities or to use technology efficiently. While Lebanon is starting an endeavor of reviewing its curricula, more research is needed to inform the long-due review and pinpoint the inequity problems in the curricula and textbook, as well as the inconsistencies and alignment problems.

Research Focus: This program aims to contribute to the preparation of STEM educators who are aware of gender inequities and differences in learning styles, and trained to raise and empower a responsible generation of young women who will confidently engage in STEM fields. There will also be a research agenda for the TLG students that will have a rich applied research component.  Some of the research focal areas that students could choose include the following research questions:

  1. How do secondary students choose whether they would like to pursue STEM-related tracks at the secondary level in Lebanon and/or the MENA region? To what extent does gender play a role in shaping their decisions? To which extent do perceived gender stereotypes play a role in the choices made?
  2. Is there any correlation between secondary students’ gender patterns in scientific tracks at the secondary level and gender patterns in STEM-related departments at the tertiary level?
  3. What are the levels of teachers’ consciousness on gender issues and of their awareness of gender stereotypes in the textbooks that they use?  Do they take any action in their classrooms or unconsciously perpetuate the status quo? To what extent do they aim for gender-inclusive education? What are their perceptions when it comes to gender-inclusive education?
  4. Investigating the instructional approaches used in schools, in Lebanon and/or the MENA region, to teach STEM subjects. Do these approaches use diverse methods to address gender differences?
  5. Exploring, developing, and testing gender-inclusive approaches to teaching and learning STEM subjects, suitable to MENA-region K-12 educational settings, and taking into consideration the cultural, religious, economic, and educational factors that lead to gender disparities in the STEM fields.

Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree. Additionally, by the end of the program, students are required to work on a 6-credit thesis reporting original research work in the field and in line with empowering MENA women to become leaders in STEM education.

Further information about the M.A. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Iman Osta.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies

Bringing Gender into the Core of Public Policy: A Participatory Approach 

Overview: The M.A. Program in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies serves as a concrete embodiment of one of LAU’s values, namely promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. The program focuses on gender, the socially-constructed understandings of what it means to be female or male, and how understandings of gender affect people across all social categories. This program is built on a foundation of equality, human rights, and social justice. As such, it is inclusive in nature and combines both academic rigor and social activism. By scrutinizing the power differential between females and males, students begin to understand the intersection of other inequalities. Graduates of this program can pursue careers in governmental organizations and ministries as well as national, regional, and international agencies focusing on gender across a broad range of sectors. 

Research Focus: Under the theme of “Bringing Gender into the Core of Public Policy,” TLG students will be exposed over two years to diverse perspectives on how issues of gender affect public policy and visa- versa. Students will be prodded to think critically about and conduct research on the links between gender and public policy. Issues to explore include: 1) What actors design public policy in the Arab world in various realms? 2) Is there a gender balance among public policy architects? 3) How well are women voices incorporated in formulating policies? 4) How are women impacted by policies; and what are the lingering built-in biases that detract from their inclusion? 5) How can policies be redesigned to ensure the full participation of women at all stages of the policy process? The expected outcomes Upon graduation include the following:, students are expected to (1) analyze public policy processes and their impact on young Arab women; (2) accumulate knowledge about major approaches in the study of public policies; (3) Understand how gender is relevant for public policy processes in the Arab world and beyond; (4) Propose solutions to improve the formulation and implementation of policies; (5) Produce research papers on the nexus of gender and public policy and (6) Execute a capstone project in which students explore one of the questions raised above. 

Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to an Active Learning and Research course (6 credits) described as follows: Students are required to complete an internship in a local, regional, or international organization working on gender issues and/or women’s issues in the Arab region. The internship will be assessed on the basis of a written evaluative report and discussion with the faculty advisor.

The major is strongly supported by and linked to AIW .

Further information about the M.A. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Zina Sawaf.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in International Affairs

Fostering resilience & wellbeing in post-Arab Spring Societies: Pathways & Opportunities

Overview: The M.A. Program in International Affairs seeks to prepare students to become effective professionals and leaders in national and international institutions while upholding the highest intellectual and ethical standards; dedication to public service and international cooperation; and understanding among people. An M.A. in International Affairs prepares students for a variety of professions including diplomacy, work in international organizations, journalism, research, and politics. In addition, many graduates also pursue Doctoral degrees in Lebanon, Europe, and North America.

Research Focus: MEPI TLG students will grapple throughout the two-year program with the following core thematic approaches that are rooted in “real life” problems: (1) Identify forms of chronic marginalization and their implications; (2) Understand the impact of policies and legal systems on low female participation in politics; (3) Understand the factors underlying the state’s limited capacity to deliver collective goods; (4) Identify the implications of risks such as radicalization, gender-based violence, and displacement for citizens with an emphasis on women, the youth, and vulnerable communities; and (5) Critically engage with the literature on fostering resilience by exploring the policy and grassroots adaptive mechanisms that seek to boost societal and individual “robustness.”

Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to 6 credits for the thesis. The extra-curricular component of the M.A. is described as follows: To meet the goals of a graduate degree, the program encourages students to get engaged in a large variety of extra-curricular activities that take place on and off-campus. Students have the opportunity to participate in conferences, workshops, simulations organized by the school, departments, and affiliated institutes and centers, especially the Institute of Social Justice and Conflict Resolution and the Institute for Migration Studies.

Further information about the M.A. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Marwan Rowayheb.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Migration Studies

Mobility and Development in the Middle East

Overview: Migration and refugee issues have become high priorities on the global agenda. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) is among the largest source, transit, and destination regions for migrants and refugees in the world. Migration studies (emigration, immigration, transit migration, labor migration, return migration, replacement migration, regular and undocumented migration, family reunion, transnational and diasporic relations, remittances, ‘brain drain’, etc.), which is rapidly developing in many universities around the world, has emerged as a multidisciplinary field of study at the graduate level. Potential employers of MA graduates include: government agencies dealing with migrants and refugees, integration, labor, and employment, etc.; international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration, International Labor office, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Fund for Population, United Nations Development Fund for Women, etc.

Research Focus: The objective of this proposal is to shed light on the various drivers of cross-border and internal mobility in the Arab Middle East. These drivers are analyzed in their local, regional, and global contexts, under the overarching theme of “Mobility and Development in the Middle East.” The program will focus on the following questions: Why is it that many Arab nationals, especially the youth, are increasingly seeking work outside their home country whether within or outside the Arab region, while at the same time the same sending countries are also receiving emigrants from the region and beyond? Accordingly, what are the economic, political, and social drivers of this multi-directional mobility? More precisely, this project will focus on examining the links between human mobility and development within local, regional and global contexts (development is used here in the broad sense of the term including not only economic development, but also political, social, and cultural development). The program will also examine the multiple repercussions of heightened human mobility on gender relations.  

Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to 6 credits for the thesis. In addition, graduates need to either complete an internship at an organization working with migrants/refugees or show active involvement in an institutional research project that examines elements of population movements.

Further information about the M.A. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Paul Tabar or Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury.   

Master of Science (M.S.) in Molecular Biology

Evaluation of the Current Status and Molecular Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii and its Effect on Women in Lebanon and Other MENA Countries

Overview: Toxoplamosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate, intracellular protozoan parasite. T. gondii imposes a threat to pregnant women as it can cause severe consequences in newborns such as brain or ocular tissue damage, mental retardation, deafness, and psychomotor impairment. Transmission of T. gondii is usually through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, or water contaminated by the feces of an infected cat. With the absence of national surveillance programs for incidences of toxoplasmosis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, scarce data exists on the seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG in the region. Alarmingly, in Lebanon, a recent study suggested a prevalence rate as high as 87%, greatly exceeding worldwide occurrences.  Therefore, we aim at building a regional database that encompasses all recorded cases of T. gondii seropositivity by obstetricians, encompassing Lebanon, and other MENA countries. Representative samples will be subjected to molecular characterization through whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to gain a better understanding of the genetic background behind the pathologies caused by this parasite. The obtained results will be used to establish guidelines to help in reducing infections especially in pregnant women and decrease the prevalence and burden of T. gondii in the region. Our research group focuses at the use of WGS (e.g. Tokajian et al, 2015; Tokajian et al, 2016; Tokajian et al, 2017), and other molecular typing approaches to study human bacterial and parasitic pathogens (Hasartani et al, 2014; Salloum et al, 2016) making this research project another challenging milestone aiming to better understand the burden and pathogenomics of toxoplasma in the MENA region. 

Research Focus: Toxoplamosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate, intracellular protozoan parasite. T. gondii imposes a threat to pregnant women as it can cause severe consequences in newborns such as brain or ocular tissue damage, mental retardation, deafness, and psychomotor impairment. Transmission of T. gondii is usually through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, or water contaminated by the feces of an infected cat. With the absence of national surveillance programs for incidences of toxoplasmosis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, scarce data exists on the seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG in the region. Alarmingly, in Lebanon, a recent study suggested a prevalence rate as high as 87%, greatly exceeding worldwide occurrences.  Therefore, we aim at building a regional database that encompasses all recorded cases of T. gondii seropositivity by obstetricians, encompassing Lebanon, and other MENA countries.

Program Requirements: 8 courses (24 credit hours) are required for the degree in addition to 6 credits for the thesis. The expected outcome of the study is to establish a database that builds a comprehensive overview over taxoplasmosis, its burden, and its impact on fetal and maternal health in the MENA countries.

Further information about the M.S. is available on the department website and any inquiries can be sent to Dr. Sima Tokajian.

Application and Selection Process

How can one apply to the TLG Program?

To apply, complete, and submit parts A & B below:

A. Email the below-required documents to: graduateadmissions.mepi@lau.edu.lb

  1. Completed LAU-TLG admission application (Application Deadline)
  2. A recent passport-size photo.
  3. Identity card or passport (should be the same as the nationality to be used in the registration process at LAU).
  4. Educational certificates or diplomas (Bachelor, License, etc).
  5. Official transcript(s) of grades from all colleges or universities attended. 
    Upon acceptance, applicants will be requested to present the official transcript(s) in a sealed envelope(s). Failure to declare enrollment at other institutions could result in invalidation of admission, and any credits or degrees earned.
  6. Personal Essay, of at least 1,000 words (describing your background and reasons for pursuing graduate studies, how your character and experiences have formed you into someone who will contribute positively and effectively to not only the department but also the academic discipline as a whole. Provide details of social, educational, cultural, or economic obstacles you have overcome in your journey. Please highlight what is unique about you and how you will advance diversity within the institution.
  7. A research statement describing your research interests and professional goals, how you plan to accomplish them, and why one of the four programs is best suited for you to do so. Be specific about your specialized interests within your major field and how it relates to the description listed in the below programs description and research focus. Identify how this opportunity could contribute towards addressing local, national, and regional problems relevant to the region. Be clear about the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan connects with your previous training and future goals.
  8. Recommendation letters from two professors who are familiar with your academic performance. Recommendation letters could be sent by your professors directly to graduateadmissions.mepi@lau.edu.lb
  9. Certificate(s) of employment with a CV, if you have relevant work experience(s).
  10. Official scores of English proficiency test (depending on the university/college attended) by submitting one of the below:
    1. Internet-based TOEFL (IBT), with a minimum score of 90. The code for LAU is 2595. The institutional TOEFL is not accepted. 
    2. Academic IELTS with a minimum score of 7.

Applicants with Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) scores between 80 and 89 and IELTS scores of 6.5, have to register for ENG009 Remedial English, a three-credit course, or retake and pass the English test within the first year of enrollment. IBT and IELTS scores below 80 and 6.5 respectively are not acceptable.

N.B. English proficiency exams may not be required from applicants from universities recognized by LAU where the language of instruction is English.

B. Download and complete the compulsory financial aid application

  1. Fill out the MEPI FA Application (Application Deadline: )
  2. Email it with all financial aid supporting documents to: finaid.beirut@lau.edu.lb (make sure you indicate “TLG-MEPI applicant” in the subject line).

What is the process used to evaluate potential candidates?

In addition to the general admissions requirements, short-listed TLG students will need to demonstrate academic literacy and research potential via a thorough interview process.

The interview will be necessary in order to:

Programs Description and Research Focus

Applicants who demonstrate academic excellence should express how they wish to develop their knowledge in one of the six programs, obtain substantial advanced practical experience, and further their capacity to be community or business leaders who contribute on the regional level.

 


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