Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. concluded a two-day visit to Lebanon today. During his visit, Under Secretary Shannon met with a range of representatives from Lebanon’s national and municipal institutions and engaged with the Lebanese people. Under Secretary Shannon met with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Jean Qahwagi, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag. Shannon also visited the National Museum of Beirut with Minister of Culture Ronny Arayji and met with a group of Lebanese Parliamentarians who visited the U.S. earlier this year.
On September 2, Under Secretary Shannon visited the Bekaa Valley, where he discussed the challenges facing local communities hosting Syrian refugees with municipal officials. Under Secretary Shannon reiterated the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to continue its support to Lebanese host communities. In this regard, he announced a $20 million grant to support UNICEF’s school retention activities for academic years 2016-2018. This initial investment from the U.S. government ensures that at least 17,000 children who are at-risk of falling behind in their formal education programs are provided with adequate support to succeed.