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International Contribution to Arab Society – 2022

The Leonard Education Organization (LE.O) was founded in 2015 by Deya’ Leonard Dresner to honor her American father, who has dedicated his life’s work to the education of Palestinians.

Alongside Palestinian students already studying in the U.S., they set about establishing a unique program that could take a holistic approach to address the full needs of under-served Palestinian youth from the region studying in the U.S.

The program grew out of the need to ensure success, and programs were added to support existing students’ guidance with master’s and Ph.D. programs and job placements. Established in 2016, the Leonard Education Organization has worked with 115 Palestinian youth enrolled in, or graduates of, 32 institutions in 12 countries. They have matched students with existing scholarships worldwide, valued at over 10 million dollars. 

LE.O’s approach succeeds by building small cohorts of students, each under the careful guidance of older students, a team of higher education experts, donors, and volunteers.

The program involves a comprehensive, personalized orientation for each incoming scholar and matches each scholar with existing scholarships, host families, mentors, internships, post-graduate scholarships, and future careers. LE.O strives to provide young people with the tools they need to get through their education with their well-being and dignity intact. LE.O’s philosophy also honors the privacy of the community members and their families. 

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at the United Nations approved the accreditation of three NGOs recommended by the Committee Bureau in 2022, the Leonard Education Organization (LE.O.) being one of them.