Partner Spotlight: American University of Beirut

  1. Who are you, and how best can we describe your work? 

My name is Raya Kalash, I am the Associate Program Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and a Certified Career Advisor, I hold both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Business Administration and certifications in career advising. I play a pivotal role in shaping and executing the Scholars program’s vision, ensuring a transformative educational and transitional experience for Scholars coming from more than 20 countries. 

My work revolves around fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for Scholars, overseeing the program’s operations, and cultivating strategic partnerships. I am deeply committed to facilitating the holistic development of our Scholars, equipping them with the tools and skills needed to prepare them to become transformative leaders who can impact positive change and contribute to their communities’ development. 

  1. How do you support MCF alumni in returning to the African continent and contributing to its development? 

The program team works closely with Scholars throughout their journey at AUB to support their career development planning and ensure their smooth transition to the continent. Through mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and targeted resources, we aim to empower our alumni to leverage their education for the betterment of their home countries. This includes facilitating skill-building and career readiness programs, connections with potential employers, providing guidance on entrepreneurial endeavors, and encouraging a sense of responsibility towards community development. 

  1. How would you like to benefit from the vibrant Mastercard Foundation University Partners network? 

I envision leveraging the vibrant Mastercard Foundation University Partners network to amplify and expand the impact of our programs to support the Scholars. Collaborating with other institutions within the network allows us to share best practices, exchange innovative ideas, circulate opportunities, grow our networks, collaborate on, and create a collective force for positive change. Strengthening these connections will enhance our ability to provide enriching experiences for Scholars, build their networks, and expand their opportunities. 

  1. What are your current and future projects? 

We are actively engaged in preparing our Scholars to transition to the workplace and providing support activities such as one-on-one career advising sessions and group career success workshops to enhance their employability skills. One of our projects for this upcoming year is to initiate an Employers Network which will aim to support the Scholars’ transition to the workplace and help them accelerate their leadership and professional development. This network will be supported by a portal that will provide Scholars and Alumni with access to career opportunities posted by employers from Lebanon and the African continent. 

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