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Cablegate: Lebanon: Nominations for Mepi Student Leaders Program

VZCZCXRO0268
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #0409/01 0800919
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200919Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1334
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 09 BEIRUT 000409

SIPDIS

NEA/PI FOR SULLIVAN

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMPI KPAO PREL LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: NOMINATIONS FOR MEPI STUDENT LEADERS PROGRAM

1. (U) On March 7 and 10, a four-member Embassy panel conducted
interviews with short-listed applicants for this summerQs MEPI
Student Leaders Program. Ten principal candidates and four
alternates were selected based on their qualifications for the
program and interview performance. The ten principal nominees are
in rank order: Nermine Chatila, Dima Matta, Maria Hamalian, Mohamad
El Amin, Yara Zogheib, Roldy Arrouk, Amal Dib, Raghid Charara,
Brenda Iara Younes, and Sandra Ayoubi. The four alternates are in
rank order: Adel Nehme, Lana Salman, Ashraf Shouaib, and Elias
Karam.

2. (U) Following is complete biographical data and post
justifications for the ten principal nominees:

Nermine Shatila

a. Shatila;

b. Nermine;

c. Abdul Sattar;

d. 10/28/1988;

e. Beirut;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. Maamari Basha bldg, 2nd floor, Bahrain Street, Caracass, Beirut,
Lebanon;

k. Mobile: 961-3-550575;

l. nas22@aub.edu.lb;

m. None;

n. American University of Beirut (AUB);

o. BA Economics Q minors in Human Rights, Anthropology and
Transitional Justice (September 2006-present);

p. Research Assistant at the Career and Placement Service at the
AUB Student Affairs Office since February 2007. Guide at the
VisitorsQ Bureau at the AUB Office of Information and Public
Relations since September 2006;
q. Citizenship award for extensive involvement in community
services and extra-curricular activities;

r. Member of the AUB Awareness Club;

s. Reading, writing, drawing, painting, jewelry making, soccer and
morning jogging;

t. Assistant Editor at UBQs Outlook Student magazine since
September 206. Secretary of the UNESCO Club at AUB since August
2006. Co-founder and leader of local group Aie Serve since March
2007 (see section x);

u. None;

v. Excellent oral and written English as evidenced by application
and interview;

w. Master Program in Public Policy;

x. Nermine plans to pursue a career in public policy-making in
Lebanon with an emphasis on culture and education. This choice of
career comes from her passionate desire to change, develop and
improve her country rather than immigrate to a more sheltered and
peaceful nation. Since high school, she has intensively engaged in
clubs and activities that work to build a better community. In
pursuit of this goal, she founded a student group named Aie Serve in
February 2007 which she currently leads and plans to develop into a
more effective and influential institution. As a team, Aie Serve
members have been able to adopt a less-privileged school in Beirut
and introduce changes to its curriculum by establishing its
first-ever co-curricular block for high school students. This block
centers around a debate club which aims to increase awareness and
activism amongst its students, in addition to teaching leadership,
critical thinking, communication, and research skills. Besides the
co-curricular block, weekend activities aimed at environmental
improvement were introduced in collaboration with environmental

BEIRUT 00000409 002 OF 009


organizations. The MEPI summer leadership program will indubitably
enable Nermine to develop her newly established and infant group by
providing her with proper leadership, management, and team-building
skills. At the same time, fellow participants will greatly benefit
from NermineQs creative ideas and extensive experience in community
activities;

Dima Matta

a. Matta;

b. Dima;

c. Mikhael;

d. 09/29/1988;

e. Beirut;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. Abadjian bldg, Bloc B, 6th floor, Mar Mkhayel Street, Mar
Mkhayel El Nahr, Beirut, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-1-443485 ;

l. dima.matta@haigazian.edu.lb;

m. None;

n. Haigazian University;

o. English Literature Major and Teaching Diploma (September
2006-present);

p. Since October 2006, Dima has served as the Assistant Director at
the Haigazian University ActorsQ Club. Specifically, she leads the
cast in play rehearsals and manages schedules and performance
publicity drives. While still in high school, Dima also led a
Beirut summer camp in 2005 where she supervised different children
activities, including swimming, dancing, art and crafts;

q. None;

r. None;

s. Acting, writing, dancing, reading, public speaking;

t. In October 2006, Dima joined a philanthropic club QDesert
StreamsQ which provides basic supplies to poor families, organizes
charity events and helps renovate schools and clinics. Since
October 2007, she has been a member of Haigazian UniversityQs
Education Club which organizes book fairs and promotes reading
awareness. From October 2006 to July 2007, Dima was a member of a
kick boxing team. She participated in tournaments and competitions
and obtained an orange belt.

u. None;

v. Excellent oral and written English as evidenced by application
and interview;

w. English teacher;

x. DimaQs career goals are very focused. She wants to become an
English teacher because she rightly believes that her country is in
dire need of fresh and qualified teachers. The MEPI summer
leadership program will help her achieve her goals by intriducing
her to native English speakers and the American culture. More
importantly, she convinced the Embassy panel that this program will
give her the leadership skills needed to become a better teacher and
a strong role model for her future students. She wants to inspire
her future students to chose the right path, expand their horizons
and help them master the learning and English language skills they
will need to succeed in life;

Maria Hamalian

a. Hamalian;

b. Maria;

c. Garabet;

BEIRUT 00000409 003 OF 009

d. 01/01/1987;

e. Bourj Hammoud;

f. Leanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. Sfeir bldg, 2nd floor, Jbeil main street, Blat;

k. Mobile: 961-70-843425 ;

l. whitebutterfly25@hotmail.com;

m. None;

n. Lebanese University;

o. English language and literature (November 2006-present);

p. Hair dresser since March 2006;

q. Started an internship in a translation office in January 08;

r. None;

s. Writing (poetry, plays, novels), reading, dancing, oil painting,
traveling, learning languages;

t. Worked as a volunteer at an orphanage in the summers of 2001 and
2002;

u. None;

v. Good oral and written English as evidenced by application and
interview;

w. Translator;

x. Maria comes from a lower middle class background. She has been
working as a hairdresser for the past two years to pay her own way
through university. She is self-confident, poised, ambitious and
hard working. She chose translation as a future career because she
sees it as a cultural mission aimed at bringing people from
different backgrounds closer together. The MEPI summer leadership
program will give her a unique opportunity and practical experience
in dealing with people from different cultures and backgrounds. At
the same time, we believe that MariaQs participation in this program
will have a very positive impact on the group because she has a lot
to give and share with others. Her volunteering experience in
humanitarian activities has shaped her personality, developed her
team work spirit and unfolded her leadership potential. On several
occasions, she was assigned to lead groups in the QBirds Nest
orphanage where she successfully supervised a number of activities
which brought smiles on young childrenQs faces;

Mohamad El Amin

a. El Amin;

b. Mohamad;

c. Naaman;

d. 02/28/1988;

e. Tyre;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Male;

j. El Nour bldg, Block A, 7th floor, Tyre, Abbassiye crossing;

k. Home: 961-7-345459; Mobile: 961-70-843425;

l. mohamad.amin@lau.edu.lb;

m. None;


BEIRUT 00000409 004 OF 009


n. Lebanese American University (LAU);

o. Economics (September 2005-present);

p. Since October 2007, Mohamad works as a Web journalist/Developer
at the Lebanese Red Cross. From May 2006 to October 2007 he held
the positions of team leader and fundraiser with the Greenpeace
Mediterranean organization;

q. University Academic Recognition: Distinguished List Spring 2006,
Honor List Fall 2006, Distinguished List Fall 2007;

r. None;

s. Chess, cultural and environmental tourism, economics,
philosophy, music, writing, poetry;

t. Volunteer in Greenpeace oil spill team and the Oceans campaign
marine reserves team. Volunteer in summer camps organized by the
Ministry of Social Affairs in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Member of the
UNESCO club at the LAU since February 2006;

u. None;

v. Good oral and written English as evidenced by application and
interview;

w. Pursuing a career in a non-governmental organization;

x. Mohamad is from Tyre, South of Lebanon. He comes from a lower
middle class background and has impressively combined paid work in
NGOQs, work study programs at LAU and a full-time course load. Even
though a job in the provate sector may have eased his financial
situation a bit, he opted to work with NGOs because he strongly
believes that work is not only a way to earn money but more
importantly to contribute to the well-being of society. His
commitment is impressive. Mohamad is determined to pursue a career
in the NGO field and we believe this program will provide him with
the necessary skills to achieve his long-term goal of serving the
community in the best possible way. At the same time, MohamadQs
extensive volunteering experience with Greenpeace will help raise
awareness amongst fellow participants on the impact of such action
both on the personal and community levels.

Yara Zogheib

a. Zogheib;

b. Yara;

c. Youssef;

d. 11/21/1989;

e. Zabbougha;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. Bldg 29, 3rd floor, Ain Aar, main street, Metn, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-4-911709; Mobile: 961-3-164502;

l. yara.zgheib@gmail.com;

m. None;

n. Notre Dame University (NDU);

o. International Affairs and Diplomacy;

p. Provided private tutoring in English and Math for 11-12 year old
students;

q. University Academic Recognition: DeanQs list;

r. None;

s. Ballet and latin dancing, piano playing, acting (she was part of
her high school drama club), reading, writing (she was the editor of
her high school magazine);

t. Yara joined the Scouts Movement in Lebanon in 1997 and has
continued her involvement in the organization. She is currently the

BEIRUT 00000409 005 OF 009


assistant troop leader of the QCaravellesQ branch (for girls aged 15
to 17). She is also a member in the University Christian Outreach
(UCO) which aims at bringing college students together to educate
them more about their faith. In November 2006, she took part in an
inter-scholar and inter-confessional effort to reenact the Lebanese
peopleQs declaration of unity and independence. Specifically, she
worked with 24 other high school students from diverse religious
backgrounds to write a unified declaration of LebanonQs unity,
sovereignty and independence. The document was presented to, and
acclaimed by the main religious leaders in Lebanon. In May 2006,
she was selected to attend the Model United Nations-Global
Classrooms in New York where she won, along with another Lebanese
student, the QBest Delegation awardQ;

u. Traveled to New York from May 20-27, 2006 to attend the Model
United Nations-Global Classrooms;

v. Excellent written and oral English skills as evidenced by
application and interview;

w. International Affairs and Diplomacy;

x. Yara is strongly attached to her country and has chosen to
pursue a political career in Lebanon because she genuinely believes
that this is how she can best contribute to its development. She is
aware however that it is still very difficult for a woman to be
taken seriously in politics in Lebanon, but she is convinced that
her generation will be the one to change that. The MEPI summer
leadership program will provide her with the necessary tools to gain
more self-confidence and hence assert herself in her future career.
At the same time, we strongly believe that YaraQs participation will
add a lot to the program. She has a vibrant and joyful personality.
She smiles often, laughs a lot and came across as someone who
stands up for what she believes in. She has so far engaged in many
diverse interesting activities despite her young age. Scouting
taught her discipline, teamwork, determination and integrity. Model
United Nations taught her leadership, diplomacy, negotiation skills
and respect for others. Ballet taught her to put her heart in
everything she does. If admitted to this program, she will enrich
it with heartfelt enthusiasm and willingness to give both alone and
in a group a unique Lebanese perspective to the debate, a
good-humored attitude and a disposition to serve.

Roldy Arrouk

a. Arrouk;

b. Roldy;

c. Miled;

d. 10/20/1988;

e. Chiah;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Male;

j. Nouhad al Boustany Bldg., Basement floor, Antonios Street,
Adonis, Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-9-222926; Mobile: 961-3-481153;

l. roldy-a19@hotmail.com;

m. None;

n. Notre Dame University (NDU);

o. Marketing;

p. Waiter and Cook's assistant at La Maison restaurant (August
2002-October 2007); waiter at Orange restaurant (October 2005-May
2006);

q. Notre Dame University, Marketing degree expected in June 2008;
listed on the university's Dean's List of Academic Recognition;

r. Member of SEF Amicale (Service de l'Enfant au Foyer), member of
the Pastoral Club and member of the Marketing and Advertising Club
at NDU;

s. Photography, camping, drawing, and reading;


BEIRUT 00000409 006 OF 009


t. Volunteer at Caritas since 1999, certified member of QCentre
d'entrainement aux methodes d'education active du Liban
(C.E.M.E.A.L.) since 2005, an organization that organizes training
camps for youth; volunteer at Anta Akhi, 1998-2004, an organization
that provides a decent life for individuals with physical and/or
mental disabilities;

u. None;

v. Good oral and written English as evidenced by application and
interview;

w. Marketing Manager;

x. Roldy comes from a poor neighborhood in BeirutQs southern
suburbs. He lost his father at a very young age and started working
since the age of fourteen (as a waiter and a cook assistant) to
sustain his familyQs needs. He is hard working and ambitious and
this program would provide him with his first opportunity to travel
outside of Lebanon. His dream is to become a successful marketing
manager and to serve consumers by delivering what they need and
want. This leadership program will teach him how to better use
power, influence, persuasion, conceptual and communication skills to
achieve his career goal. At the same time, Roldy has a lot to share
about his extensive volunteering experience mainly with humanitarian
organization CARITAS since 1999 and Anta Akhi which empowers
individuals with physical and mental disabilities. He said that
these organizations helped his family during difficult times in the
past and it is a testament to his character that he has learned the
importance of giving back at such a young age.

Amal Dib

a. Dib;

b. Amal;

c. Antoun;

d. 01/09/1988;

e. Bterram;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. University of Balamand, P.O. Box 100-606, El Koura, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-6-416080; Mobile: 961-3-882313;

l. amal.dib@hotmail.com;

m. None;

n. University of Balamand;

o. Major in Mass Communication and minor in Political Science and
International Affairs;

p. Assistant at the Office of Students' Affairs at the University
of Balamand since February 2006; free lance journalist at a monthly
newspaper called Hamzet Wassel since May 2007;

q. University of Balamand, Mass Communication degree and minor
degree in Political Science and International Affairs; placed on the
Dean's List in Fall and Spring semesters of 2005, 2006, and 2007;
winner of Fares el-Hajj scholarships for two consecutive years 2006
and 2007;

r. Co-founder of the Balamand Students Support Group (BSSG), member
of the Miss University of Balamand committee, member of the Astro
Club, Photography Club, Cine Club, and Oriental Choir at the
University of Balamand, member of the Youth Coalition for Electoral
Reform and the University Initiative for Electoral Reform, president
of the Human Rights Club at the University of Balamand;

s. Reading and writing political studies and articles and an active
person in favor of humanitarian issues;

t. Assistant Chief in the Scout National Orthodox Scout group since
1992; volunteer at Offre Joie NGO that promotes inter-confessional
dialogue and tolerance, organizes youth camps and helps in
reconstructing schools and prisons; member of the European Project
for Interreligious Learning (EPIL), a roaming course that aims at

BEIRUT 00000409 007 OF 009


building dialogue among women from different religions in Europe and
the Middle East;

u. None;

v. Excellent oral and written English as evidenced by application
and interview;

w. Journalism;

x. Amal Dib is a brilliant student as evidenced by the
scholarships, awards and honors she received. She has a lively and
energetic personality and came across as a confident, open-minded
and tolerant person. She is preparing to become a journalist and is
always looking to broaden her outlook. The MEPI Summer leadership
program will help sharpen her communication and leadership skills
which are essential for her future professional goals. At the same
time, Amal has a lot to share about her experience with the Scouts
movement, her volunteering activities with NGO Offre-Joie, her
participation in the European Project for Interreligious Learning,
her human rights activities at her university club and her action in
support of electoral reform in Lebanon.

Raghid Charara

a. Charara;

b. Raghid;

c. Nabil;

d. 01/01/1989;

e. Beirut;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Male;

j. American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236/4326, Riad
el-Solh, Beirut, 1107 2020, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-1-857037; Mobile: 961-3-070614;

l. rns27@aub.edu.lb;

m. None;

n. American University of Beirut (AUB);

o. Biology Pre-Med and minor in General Business Administration
(September 2006-present);

p. Assistant Teacher at the International College Summer Camp (July
2004-September 2004; July 2005-September 2005), private tutoring
(July 2005-October 2005);

q. Award of Achievement in Mathematics (CAAP test, part of IORA
research center) AUB; Distinguished Scholars' Award from the
International College, 2004, 2005, 2006; Acting Award, International
College 2006; Community Service Award, International College 2006;
Information Technology Award, International College 2006;

r. Member of Drama Club at the International College, 2005 and 2006
and the Arabic Club at the International College 2006;

s. Acting;

t. Assisted children suffering from cancer at the Saint Judes
Cancer Center; provided educational assistance to Palestinian
children at the Bourj el-Barajneh Palestinian camp, voluntary work
at the al-Nasma NGO that packed food, water, and basic needs for the
displaced during the July 2006 war; Mouvement Social, provided
community service activity at the International College where major
social problems were discussed and feasible solutions were sought;

u. None;

v. Excellent oral and written English as evidenced by application
and interview;

w. Physician;

x. Raghid is a brilliant student as evidenced by his grades and the
special honors and awards he received. His application essays

BEIRUT 00000409 008 OF 009


thoughtful, thought-proviking and extremely well-prepared. This
leadership training will significantly contribute to his aspirations
of becoming a successful physician as he hopes to improve his
communication, decision-making, and coordination skills for later
use in emergency and operating rooms. Furthermore, the community
service training that the program offers complements RaghidQs
personal interests. He has volunteered with various NGOs in Lebanon
working on projects targeting Palestinian refugee camps, and others
with children suffering from cancer and underprivileged families.
His exposure to community service projects in the U.S. will allow
him to acquire methods to enhance his involvement and participation
in voluntary social services in Lebanon. Raghid also dreams of
starting his own organization that delivers vaccinations and
healthcare to poor children. This training will help him develop a
vision for his organization and provide him with the necessary
skills to bring it to life, lead it and inspire others to join him
on this project.

Brenda Iara Younes

a. Younes;

b. Brenda Iara;

c. Nader;

d. 04/07/1988;

e. Cordoba;

f. Argentina;

g. Lebanon;

h. She holds an Argentinean passport, but is also a Lebanese
citizen and can obtain a Lebanese passport if needed;

i. Female;

j. Nagib Younes Bldg., 2nd floor, Blat Jbeil, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-9-795722; Mobile: 961-70-140791;

l. yara_younes@yahoo.com;

m. Allergic to caffeine;

n. Notre Dame University (NDU);

o. Journalism;

p. Activity leader at Arne Osland, local refugee house in Forde,
Norway where she entertained refugees and gave English lessons to
refugee women;

q. Award in the Lebanese American University's Science and Arts
fair: first place in essay writing; Saiid Akel award for her
performance in a play; placed on the Dean's List for academic
recognition at NDU since her first semester;

r. Member of Avaaz, a web movement involved in various
economic/political and environmental petitions and action plans; a
participant in the American Islamic Congress, she attended one of
their workshops in Amman Jordan last spring;

s. Dancing, skiing, reading, and writing;

t. Has organized a Book Club with friends that meet every three
weeks to discuss novels; Cine Club, a weekly movie session followed
by a discussion; member of the Board of Advisors of her previous
school, Universal School of Lebanon;

u. None;

v. Excellent oral and written English as evidenced by application
and interview;

w. Writer;

x. Brenda aspires to make change through what she does best,
writing. She wants to become a successful journalist and looks
forward to an idealistic new generation of thinkers, philosophers,
political analysts and opinion leaders who can educate others. This
leadership training will help her assert herself both as a woman and
a journalist. In addition to her passion for writing, Brenda is
very active. At school, she took on many responsibilities: the
school magazine, the yearbook committee, the organization of major
events, plays, musicals, projects and contests. When she was later
admitted to the United World Colleges in Norway, she acted in the

BEIRUT 00000409 009 OF 009


same way: she joined the Red Cross group and became a first aid
responder. She was also elected to represent the student body in
the student council and worked on the environmental committee. She
also conducted community service activities, including weekly visits
to a refugee center. If admitted to this program, she will bring a
lot of enthusiasm and know-how to the group.

Sandra Ayoubi

a. Ayoubi;

b. Sandra;

c. Nabil;

d. 08/12/1986;

e. Tripoli;

f. Lebanon;

g. Lebanon;

h. Lebanon;

i. Female;

j. Massoud Center, 10th floor, Jemayzat Street, Tripoli, Lebanon;

k. Home: 961-6-428988; Mobile: 961-3-137016;

l. sandra.ayoubi@hotmail.com;

m. None;

n. Lebanese University;

o. Civil Engineering;

p. None;

q. Seven Honorary Awards from her school and a Thank You Award from
Inma2 summer camp;

r. None;

s. Music;

t. Supervisor at the Inma2 summer camp (July-September 2003),
debater at the Chaen and Injaz workshops (2006-2007), and scout at
the College National Orthodoxe Scouts (June 1997-September 1998;

u. None;

v. Good oral and written English as evidenced by application and
interview;

w. Civil Engineer

x. Sandra Ayoubi comes from Tripoli, North of Lebanon. She is
ambitious and hard working. She is currently studying civil
engineering at the Lebanese University, a public university, and
would like to pursue an MBA after she graduates. She has a
sustained high level of academic achievement as indicated by the
numerous honorary awards she received at school. She is timid but
has a lot of potential. Engaged in various cultural and community
service activities, she has already demonstrated strong leadership
when she led a youth summer camp in 2003. This program is a key
opportunity for her personal, social and professional development.


3. (U) Post action officer: Jacqueline Ward; telephone number:
961-4-542600 ext.4432; fax number: 961-4-544318; email address:
wardjl2@state.gov

4. (U) Biographical data and justification for alternate candidates
will be provided as needed.

SISON

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