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Embrace the Middle East Partner Conference & Visit

Embrace the Middle East (formerly BibleLands) held the Lebanon Partner Conference in the Commodore Hotel in Beirut from 8 to 9 July 2013. On Monday 8 July Embrace hosted the partner dinner in the evening, and on Tuesday July 9 the Partner Conference was held in the same venue.

The conference started at 9.30 AM with devotion and prayer by Rev. George D. Haddad. Embrace CEO Jeremy Moody then introduced the conference objectives and the principals of partnership, and he gave an overall Embrace update about the major changes of the last few years.

Claire Barham, Embrace Partnership Manager, introduced the Embrace Country Strategy for Lebanon. Jamie Eyre, Embrace Head of Partnership, then provided guidance on grant applications for 2014-16 and monitoring and evaluation procedures.

The day included coffee breaks, lunch, and plenty of interaction and exchange of information between the Embrace team and partners, and among the partners themselves. Some old partners were missed, and new partners were introduced mainly the Middle East Council of Churches and its DSPR program, the Papal Mission Charity, and Habitat for Humanity. It was a successful conference highly appreciated by all.

Claire and Jamie in JLSS Both Claire and Jamie arrived to Schneller School from Anjar on Monday 15 at 6.30 PM. They stayed in our guesthouse overnight and spent the following day visiting the school and meeting with the director. Discussions covered recent developments in Embrace and the implications on Schneller School.

Embrace is moving away from supporting core budgets and is phasing out the sponsorship program. The interest now is in projects with limited time frames in accordance with set criteria. The good news is that the process of stopping support for core budgets and the phasing out of the sponsorship program will be gradual taking two to three years.

A good development is the news that embrace is finally starting the long awaited volunteer program. This is a program that JLSS is very much interested in and will benefit from once the security situation improves in Lebanon.

The development among Western charities to move away from support of core budgets in favor of limited projects is not new to JLSS. Our Swiss partners SVS went down that path the last few years, and now we face the same situation with Embrace the Middle East.

We fully recognize that appeal to donors warrants this change, but Christian institutions that have been caring for underprivileged children have additional burdens as a consequence of such developments. This adds to the mammoth financial challenges facing them, especially in Lebanon as a consequence of the recent enormous increases in teachers' salaries decided by the Lebanese government.

We discovered that our school was among the lucky ones that have been given two to three years for the phasing out of core support. Other partners, mainly Armenian schools, have already stopped receiving support from Embrace the Middle East.

We thank the Embrace team for a good conference and we also thank Claire and Jamie for their visit to our school. We look forward to our continued partnership with Embrace the Middle East as it develops into a different scope. We will always be grateful to BibleLands and Embrace for their wonderful support.

We trust in the loving kindness of our living God whose work we are entrusted with. We strongly believe that God will enable Christian institutions that are serving poor and underprivileged children in our region to survive the challenges of our modern times, and to keep a few beacons shining through the darkness that is engulfing our world.

Schneller School Name in Arabic
Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule

Education for Peace since 1860