Ali Ghandour Leadership and Civic Engagement Center

Established in 2019, the Ali Ghandour Leadership and Civic Engagement Center (AGC) marks the first community-based learning center of its kind at the secondary school level in the region.  

Jointly funded by IC and the Ghandour family, the AGC offers an intensive leadership and dynamic citizenship program through a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) model. Spread over three years, starting with the 10th grade, the program mentors students through a sequenced journey, beginning with extensive volunteering with an array of grassroots organizations and culminating with students leading Community Service Projects (CSPs). 

Half of the students enrolled at the AGC are scholar students from disenfranchised neighborhoods in the greater Beirut Area. Through an outreach effort, these scholars are selected from Lebanese public schools in the capital’s Governorate. Selection criteria include academic excellence and proven financial need. Shortlisted candidates take the IC entrance exam and sit for an interview to explore leadership potential, interests and talents.

Non-scholarship IC students are selected through the same application process. Together with the scholars, they undertake the three-year journey into community based learning, which in addition to their regular academic requirements, encompasses rigorous training in critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, innovation and activism. 

The program also exposes enrolled students to national, regional and international competitions in a wide range of fields, among them social entrepreneurship, project design, implementation and evaluation and public speaking, all with the aim of providing students with the skills and tools to become active agents of change.

By 2021, a minimum of 36 students will be enrolled at the Center.  The scope of the program will also allow for IC students from grades 10, 11 and 12 who are not enrolled in the full program to participate on a project by project basis.

The center is named in honor of Ali Ghandour (class of 1950) who is an avid believer in social activism and a true visionary. The center is endowed by two of his children, Fadi Ghandour and Raghida Ghandour al Rahim.