Important Update regarding the Management of the
Libyan-North American Scholarship Program

May 25th, 2015

Dear Institutional Partners,

CBIE is writing to you today with an important update regarding the Libyan-North American Scholarship Program.

In order to maximize the use of available Libyan resources, the Libyan authorities have asked us to transfer the management of the Program effective October 1, 2015. Details regarding the new program administrators will be confirmed by CBIE as soon as we receive them. CBIE is committed to ensuring as smooth a transition as possible for you, our institutional partners, for the students and their families, and for all other stakeholders in the Program.

CBIE is deeply committed to international education and to supporting capacity development in countries around the world through cross-border educational mobility and partnerships. We provide an array of services for our members and partners. We undertake projects that engage our members in providing training and education in Canada and abroad. Our scholarship management role is rooted in our mission. We are gratified at the accomplishments of the thousands of students whom we have served and are delighted at the impacts of graduates’ work in building their countries in a range of professional realms – among them, health, education, applied science, information technology and agriculture. This is true in Libya, as well as in the diverse countries with which we work and have worked in the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Over the past few months, we have worked diligently in an uncertain environment and endeavoured to navigate between the various decision-makers within two governments in Libya. We know that both governments are supportive of the students, have their best interests at heart, and wish to ensure the smooth progress of the Program. Nevertheless, as you are aware from our earlier communications, Program funding has been delayed several times in the past year, and the Program currently lacks funds to cover students’ essential benefits, including living allowances, health insurance and tuition fees.

Respecting the wishes of the Libyan authorities, CBIE will work towards a smooth transfer of the Program. At the same time we continue to urge officials to send overdue funds to cover students’ essential benefits, and we continue to reinforce in our messaging the critical nature of paying outstanding invoices for 2014/2015. We have stressed the consequences of the delay related to students’ immigration status, as well as the numerous other risks affecting the lives and well-being of students and their families.

At this time we appeal to you, our institutional partners, for assistance and flexibility as we work through the details of the transition over the next two months, which includes coordination with the Libyan authorities regarding Scholarship Status Letters for fall 2015. In the meantime, we ask for your support in allowing continuing students to register for the fall semester and to also consider applications on behalf of new Libyan students. While we recognize the risk that this entails for you, we hope that the longstanding relationship between your institution and the Libyan government will warrant your ongoing generosity in support of the students who are caught in a situation not of their own making.

We know that many of you have already taken steps to provide health insurance to students and we sincerely thank you. As well, many of you have agreed to release grades and transcripts to the students; again, our warmest thanks. We also ask other institutions to consider taking these steps.

Many of you have been engaged with us in this Program since 2010 and through the 2011 upheaval. During that time, we appreciated greatly your patience as we worked with our respective governments in Canada and the United States, and with the United Nations, to obtain funding in support of the Program. Thanks to your outstanding support of the students, they weathered all of this. To date about 1,000 students have graduated in the US and 300 in Canada, and are now positioned to serve their country, as conditions back home permit.

Going forward, our dedicated people here at CBIE will continue to work with you. We are committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information as quickly as possible. In that regard, please note that we have arranged to hold a meeting in Boston at the NAFSA conference on Thursday, May 28, from 12pm - 1:30pm immediately following the Sponsored Program Administration Roundtable (BCEC Room 254B, which is the IEM Networking Center) to update institutions on the latest developments regarding the Program. The meeting will be led by Dr. Basel Alashi, CBIE Vice-President of International Partnerships, Ms. Jennifer Humphries, CBIE Vice-President of Membership, Public Policy and Communications, and Ms. Deidre Serrano, Director of the Program’s US Academic Unit. If you are interested in joining the meeting, kindly confirm your attendance by filling out the electronic registration form found here.

CBIE will also arrange a webinar for our partner institutions in Canada and those who were not able to attend the meeting at NAFSA. This will be held on Monday, June 1, at 1pm Eastern; details will be sent via email.

We will do our best to support you in your efforts on each of your campuses and in your local communities, and we are currently reaching out to stakeholders in government and non-government groups to identify additional resources that might be helpful and reassuring for the students at this unusual and, frankly, anxious time for them.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in support of Libyan students – the people we are preparing, ultimately, to become the new generation of professionals and leaders of their country.

The Libyan-North American Scholarship Program