AJYAL: A Programme to Support Arts Education | Joint Programme with Saint-Joseph University of Beirut (USJ): Postgraduate Degrees in Theatre and Film Studies

Academic Year | 2024-2025

Ettijahat–Independent Culture, in partnership with the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Beirut – The Institute for Theater, Audiovisual And Cinematic Studies (IESAV), hereby announces the open call for the sixth edition of AJYAL: A Programme to Support Arts Education for Syrian and Syrian-Palestinian art students residing in Syria and Lebanon wishing to enrol in the Master of Arts Programme in Theatre or Film Studies at IESAV, USJ.
This joint call aims to increase opportunities for academic growth and development amongst Syrian artists by providing two annual grants of 7,000 euros each for artists or aspiring artists wishing to pursue postgraduate studies in the field. 
This component was added following the recommendations of Ettijahat’s first ten-year evaluation conducted in 2022 which emphasized the importance of designing additional responses to the cultural scene in Syria and as a result of a cooperation agreement signed with USJ Beirut in 2022.

Who can apply to AJYAL?

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Syrians and Palestinian-Syrians under the age of 35 residing in Syria or Lebanon wishing to enrol in an MA in Theatre or Film Studies at IESAV, USJ. Applicants must have already obtained an undergraduate degree from an internationally recognised university or academic institution with a “good” or above result in their final examination and/or certification;
  • Have the ability to travel to Lebanon and establish residence there, assuming the relevant costs independently;
  • An advanced proficiency level in written and spoken French language is required for students enrolling in an MA in Film Studies. If needed, USJ Beirut will provide support complimentary French language courses;
  • An intermediate level of French or English is required for students enrolling in an MA in Theatre Studies. If needed, USJ Beirut will provide support with complimentary French and English language courses;   
  • The scholarship does not cover BA degrees, PhDs, or postdoctoral studies.

What costs and expenses are covered by the grant?

The grant offered by the AJYAL programme is designed mainly to cover registration costs and tuition fees. However, if the student can secure these costs from alternative sources of funding, the AJYAL grant can instead be used to cover any of the below according to the student’s needs:

  • Educational resources such as books, stationery, equipment, etc;
  • Travel costs from Syria to Beirut if applicable;
  • Transportation; 
  • Accommodation.

What kind of support is provided by the Saint Joseph University of Beirut?

  • In case the student needs additional financial support, USJ will facilitate in case the student needs additional financial support, USJ will facilitate the application to their financial aid programme, available exclusively to students residing in Lebanon with their family members;
  • If available, internships, education, and student job opportunities will be provided  to the recipients of the AJYAL scholarship; 
  • If necessary, free courses in the English or French Languages will be provided;
  • If needed, support in finding accommodation will be provided.
  • Assisting Students in finding accommodation

Criteria for Applicant Selection

  • The Selection Committee will select the grantees based on the following criteria:
  • The applicant must indicate the link between their academic background and their chosen field of specialisation;
  • The applicant must demonstrate a high level of academic and extra-curricular achievement.
  • The applicant must portray commitment and interest in pursuing work in their chosen field of artistic specialisation post-graduation.
  • The extent to which the student has contributed to the Syrian cultural scene as a result of their academic achievements.

Support mechanism

  • Applicants are expected to fill out the application form in full and provide all required supporting files and documents before the submission deadline on the 8th of May 2024 at 23:59 Beirut time.
  • Applications that are incomplete, missing documents, or do not meet the selection criteria will not be considered. Eligible applications are assessed by a joint Selection Committee between Ettijahat – Independent Culture and USJ Beirut. 
  • Depending on each application, the Selection Committee will make its final decision following online interviews with the shortlisted applicants.
  • Upon commencement of the study programme, Ettijahat will follow up with the grantees to ensure they are content, satisfied, and progressing well with their studies, and to address any potential concerns.

How is the jury selected?

The joint Selection Committee between Ettijahat and the USJ includes artists, academics, and trainers/teachers/pedagogists, all of whom are experienced in the field of arts education. The Selection Committee members are specialised in the fields of theatre and filmmaking, thus guaranteeing an expert reading of the applications and a more in-depth level of deliberation during the selection process. The Selection Committee members will remain anonymous until after the announcement of results.

Documents Required for Application for Master’s Degree Programme

  • Motivation letter consisting of 700 words;
  • Copies of past high school and BA certificates;
  • A copy of the applicant’s valid passport or ID;
  • An official or certified copy of the applicant’s baccalaureate or equivalent degree that is recognized by the Equivalence Commission at the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE);
  • A BA certificate of achievement;
  • An official transcript of grades from the applicant’s high school and BA degrees;
  • A recommendation letter drafted by the applicant’s previous university teacher;
  • A certified recognition of equivalence/approved copy of the applicant’s latest certificate of academic achievement issued by the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education; 
  • A copy of the applicant’s Master’s thesis proposal (Optional).

Post-Selection Required Documents:

1. Study-related documents required from Syria:
  • Grade certificates of the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, in addition to the Baccalaureate Certificate, all of which must be certified from the below entities:
  • The Syrian Ministry of Education;
  • The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • The Lebanese Embassy in Syria or the Syrian Embassy in Lebanon;
  • The Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. After issuing the Baccalaureate Certificate and having it certified at the Syrian Ministry of Education and Foreign Affairs, the same Baccalaureate Certificate will need to be certified at the Lebanese Ministry of Education. 
3. Travel-related documents required to travel from Syria to Lebanon:
In case of entering Lebanon using a Syrian ID or Passport
  • Valid passport or photo ID;
  • Two passport photos;
  • Proof of regular income for student residency applicant (wire transfers are acceptable);
  • Legal pledge not to work, issued from a notary office;
  • Statement of residence from the local mayoral office;
  • Original university registration receipt.

Key Dates for the Current Edition

Online Q&A session over Zoom: 17 April 2024
Deadline for submission of applications: 8 May 2024
Interviews with shortlisted applicants: Second half of May 2024
Announcement of results: June 2024
The signing of grant agreements: June 2024
This edition of AJYAL is made possible with the support of the Ford Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, and the RRLI Initiative.
For inquiries, feel free to send an email to ajyal@ettijahat.org
To check the FAQ and to apply, please click here.

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