Photos: (above) Falak with her host family in 2003/2004; (below) Falak with her husband and children now in Lebanon.
In the 15 years of the YES program, we have had hundreds of students from Lebanon! As we celebrate their country this week, we caught up with two of the outstanding YES alumni from the very first cohorts from Lebanon.
Falak Tinaoui (YES 2003 – 2004, Lebanon, hosted by Ayusa in Richland, WA)
Falak still remembers her YES experience from 15 years ago as if it were yesterday. She reflects, “No one is luckier than us, YES students. We grow to have two families that care about us. This is aside from the great experience we had that shaped our personalities and mindset. We enriched our lifelong achievements with the year spent in the U.S.”
Upon completing her undergraduate studies in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the American University of Beirut, Falak earned a Master’s degree in Engineering Management. Falak is now a university instructor at the American University of Science and Technology teaching engineering and engineering management courses. She is currently preparing to start Ph.D. studies in Engineering Management.
If you ask Falak what her greatest accomplishment is, she would tell you being a mother to two wonderful children. Her kids are her motivation to keep pursuing education to set an example for them.
Kawthar Taleb (YES 2003 – 2004, Lebanon, hosted by Ayusa in Fleetwood, PA)
For Kawthar, the YES program helped her plan the future she always aspired to have. She comes from a small town in the north of Lebanon and studied in a boarding school called the Lebanese School for the Deaf and Blind. YES gave Kawthar the opportunity to travel and experience a totally different culture for the first time in her life.
Kawthar's YES journey did not come to an end after completing the program. She earned a bachelor's degree in social work and has been giving back to her home community. Kawthar is currently a teacher for blind students and teaches English language in after-school sessions as her way of transferring her American experience to the people in her local community.
Photos: (left) Kawthar in her host community in 2003/2004; (right) Kawthar in Lebanon in 2017.