January 24, 2020 – Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Education Development Center (EDC) as part of the USAID’s “Higher Education Capacity Development Program”. The agreement commits both parties to collaborate on the training of soft skills through EDC’s Work Ready Now materials and other related career center and job readiness supports to be provided by Florida State University. The signing took place at NDU President’s Office between NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem, and the EDC’s chief of party on the USAID Higher Education Capacity Development Program in Lebanon, William Potter.
NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem, welcomed everyone to the proceedings and spoke briefly about what the MOU means for the University. “Despite the harsh economic situation, the EDC has decided to work with NDU because it believes in our potential as one of Lebanon’s premier educational establishments.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs at NDU, Dr. Elie Badr, spoke next thanking USAID for the collaboration and saying, “the objective is to teach students soft skills in accordance with the university’s mission of a holistic liberal arts education with an emphasis on preparing students for the workplace.” Dr. Badr reflected on the work the Career and Placement Office does to help students reach their full potential, and how the MOU helps to further that goal.
Finally, William Potter reflected on the need for soft skills in all aspects of the modern workplace. “We believe in the importance and prominence of this agreement,” said Potter. “I am encouraged by NDU’s level of engagement, and believe that this agreement indicates a new level of effort on both our parts in our work together – the US Ambassador has shown great personal interest in the project and will be following up closely.”
Over the course of the program, the EDC will work closely NDU’s faculty, staff, and the Career and Placement Office to focus on specific elements and build capacity in faculty and students. The EDC will provide guidance and training to the faculty and staff on implementing this material – either through a 3-credit course imbedded into the curriculum, or through direct student training organized by the NDU Career and Placement Office. In keeping with the dynamic atmosphere generated by the signing, work is already underway, with planning sessions on how best to implement the program scheduled for the coming weeks.