• WE CREATE OPPORTUNITY

  • EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION

  • OUR SCHOLARS FLOURISH

We are LEO

A Gateway to Learning and Leading

About

About

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, Christian and Muslim, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

Established as a new non-profit organization in August 2015, we serve bright young Palestinians, women and men, from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan by securing and managing scholarships to American colleges and universities. We enhance personal development through guidance and academic mentoring.

As a 501.c.3 charitable educational foundation we work in partnership with U.S. colleges, businesses, host families and relief organizations to make our mission a reality.

Mission

WHAT WE DO?

Scholarships and Guidance for Success.

The LEO Mission

Our mission is to secure and administer valuable undergraduate scholarships and educational opportunities for qualified Palestinian students from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. We believe that education and intercultural exchange is the essential path to peace, stability and development.

As a 501.c.3 charitable educational foundation we work in partnership with U.S. colleges, businesses, host families and relief organizations to make our mission a reality.

 

What Makes LEO Unique

The LEO process shepherds the development of Palestinian student scholars from the beginning to the end of their American undergraduate education. In addition to our belief in the significance of education, we at LEO also believe in personal development. Through personal guidance, academic mentoring, internships, job placement assistance and graduate school applications, we believe that our scholars will flourish and make significant contributions to the cultural, economic and political fabric of their societies and countries of residence. We are confident that their contributions will lead to a climate of peace, resolution, prosperity and long-term stability.

Working with well poised partners in the region, we start identifying and developing bright and motivated students as early as the 10th grade. We get to know the students and their families early. We gain an understanding of their individual challenges, and we assist them in preparation of a higher education. Students are reviewed by a team of academics and have psychological and medical evaluations before being accepted.

Our personal histories with the students and graduates of predecessor programs provides the unique opportunity for peer mentorship of our students.

How the Process Works

Our partners identify and begin working with bright and qualified youth as early as the 10th grade. They offer support through English language classes and SAT and TOEFL preparation. Mentors assist by guiding the students during the college application process and identifying the appropriate college for the student’s area of study. LEO evaluates the candidates with their partners, and facilitates and manages scholarships and funding from a variety of sources including institutions, individuals and organizations for the benefit of the scholar.

LEO currently does not accept applications directly.

Our Platform

Founding Officers

Meet the team who built the dream

DEYA' LEONARD DRESNER<br />
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Executive Director

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DEYA' LEONARD DRESNER
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

ANDY WOLFE<br />
DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

Development and Public Relations

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ANDY WOLFE
DEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

NANCY HARTLESS<br />
DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS & TREASURER

Director of Student Affairs & Treasurer

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NANCY HARTLESS
DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS & TREASURER

Partners

Here are some of the partners we have worked with so far

UnitedUnite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP) is our partner in Lebanon. They support undergraduate education for Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. ULYP prepare students for study abroad. LE•O supports ULYP by securing and managing scholarships while shepherding their   scholars while they are in the United States.


UnitedThaki is empowering refugee and disadvantaged children to learn and thrive through self-paced, motivational electronic tools.


c2c Challenge to Change is a Swiss Non-Profit Organization founded in 2014 to raise awareness on mental health among women in the Middle East through the sharing of digital content and through running online and on the ground interactive programs.
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cogitoCogito The Cogito Scholarship Foundation is a UK-based charity. The Foundation identifies the brightest teenagers from the poorest communities in the Middle East and North Africa, and gives them scholarships to some of the best academic institutions in the UK. Access to these schools gives them a springboard to the best universities. Like LE•O, Cogito believes that with the right education and opportunities, children from these underprivileged communities can become their countries’ future mentors and leaders. Helping teenagers today, qualifies them to help their countries tomorrow.


The Horizon Foundation brings exceptional young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Middle East (particularly Palestinians and Syrians) and Asia (particularly Tibetans and Afghans) to leading boarding schools for their final two years of secondary education.By providing educational opportunities and support to young people, the Foundation seeks not only to offer new horizons for students but also to foster positive change in their communities.


jubilee Jubilee Institute The Jubilee School focuses on providing a rich and diverse program that caters to refining students’ minds and personalities,and that stimulates their creativity, motivates them to focus on scientific research skills, high achievement and initiative. 

The School Scholarship Fund provides partial or full scholarships for about 96% of their regular students. The full scholarships cover the annual school fees, but not the registration or graduation costs, nor transport, books or uniform expenses, including the summer orientation. The scholarship amount depends on the financial situation of the student, and requires the student’s consistently high academic achievement to continue.

LEO Scholars

Ali Shalaby

Ali Shalaby

“My name is Ali Shalaby. I was born in the village of Iksal, Palestine ’48. My family moved to Jordan in more recent years to provide me with an opportunity to further my education on a more advanced level. I applied to colleges and universities in the USA a few years ago but was unable to receive the scholarship I needed to be able to attend. After taking a gap year to discover my interests in music and exploring nature while working hard to strengthen my college applications I applied again through LE.O. With their committed help and support through my process, I was accepted into the University of Richmond where I plan to follow my passion and Major in Psychology.”

Omar Hamad

Omar Hamad

“My name is Omar Hamad. My family is originally from Jerusalem, my mother and four siblings live alone in Amman, Jordan, while my father supports us financially to the best of his ability and has another family now. I attended The Jubilee School in Jordan on a scholarship and graduated top in my class in the Baccalaureate exams. Through the LE.O support process, I applied to schools in the US and was accepted to the University of Rochester. I am very happy to have the opportunity to receive a universuty education and to study at Rochester, where I plan to major in Mechanical Engineering and continue to pursue my interests in Graphic Design and Publication.”

Sief Addeen Fuad Atari

Sief Addeen Fuad Atari

“I grew up in Amman, Jordan. I attended the Jubilee High school where I achieved good grades and was very involved with environmental protection projects . Last year, my father lost the only job that brought income to our family and we have been dealing with many hardships ever since. My father, who is 60, has resorted to working as a freelancer making financial budgets for small companies as it is very hard to find jobs at his age. With no fixed income and little savings, my family has been struggling to make ends meet. It is very important for me to attend university and gain an education to be able to support my family. When I connected with LE.O they were incredibly supportive throughout my college application process. With their help, I was accepted into The University of Bridgeport where I plan to major in Electrical engineering and continue to follow my passion for Soccer.”

Mahmoud El Khattib

Mahmoud El Khattib

“I was Raised in the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon and I am of Palestinian descent. Through the Cogito scholarship foundation I earned a
scholarship to attend Eton College in Berkshire,UK, for my senior years of Highschool. The CSF, partners of LE.O, connected me with the LE.O mentoring division who would go on to fully support my every step of the college application and selection process. Through the help of LE.O I was accepted into the University of British Columbia, Canada where I plan on studying to become a doctor. LE.O prepared me for college while facilitating and helping me with my visa applications, paying for travel and running webinars to acclimate me to the educational experience and much more.”

Fuad Abu Heit

Fuad Abu Heit

“I come from the Al- Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon. Throughout my life I have struggled with poverty and undergone many hardships. While my mother supports us to some degree with her government teaching job, my father is unable to find a work simply because he is Palestinian. Even with a job he will be paid significantly less than the national average in the same position ,so he must work as a freelance tutor. I hope to someday be able to return to my family with the knowledge and capabilities to support them. I received a scholarship through Horizons,UK to attend Eton College, UK. Through Horizon’s partnership with LE.O I received college prep guidance and applied to colleges and universities in the US. I recieved a generous scholarship from The University of Rochester where I intend to major in computer Science.”

Rami Kuttab

Rami Kuttab

“My name is Rami, I was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. Throughout my life, my parents have always supported me in every way possible to achieve my goals in life. My brother and I have always been raised to put education before anything else and to excel in life and try to do our best in everything. I have always been interested in technology, art, sports and graphic designing and with the help of the LE.O organization I was able to earn a scholarship to attend Syracuse University and pursue my education in the States. As a result, I am looking forward to pursuing a bachelor degree in Computer Science with a minor in video game creation and hope to continue playing basketball.”

Mohammed Abumuaileq

Mohammed Abumuaileq

“I am Mohammed Abumuaileq, a seventeen-year-old Palestinian. Reading is my number one passion for I love the transcendence I feel when I read the words on pages of the book. Furthermore, I have always been determined to give back to my community; volunteering has been an essential activity in my life. I want to major in Biomedical Engineering. What fueled my passion towards this field is seeing the casualties from the last three bombardments I had witnessed. In other words, I feel obligated to help those victims through using my skills in this field when I start working as a bioengineer. I come from a big family; I have four sisters and one brother. In addition, my paternal grandmother lives in the same house as us. My oldest sister has been married for over a year, and two of my sisters have graduated from college but still live in the family home. Moreover, my fourth sister and my only brother are still in college. My father works as a civil engineer in a construction company, and my mother is a housewife.”

How LE•O Helped:

LE•O, along with partners OIP and AIS in Gaza worked with Mohammed to best prepare him for SAT testing, essay writing and with college selection .We are happy to announce that LE.O helped him secure a scholarship to attend The University of Rochester.

 

marah abdin

Marah Abdin

I was born to a Palestinian family in the city of Jerusalem. Throughout my life, even though my parents never got the chance to attend college, my two sisters and I have always been raised to put education before anything else and to understand that it is our voice in this world. I have always been interested in technology and the marvelous revolution it has caused, and I had the opportunity to develop this interest at Al Nayzak Organization for Supportive Education and Scientific Innovation. As a result, I am looking forward to pursuing a bachelor degree of science in Computer and Electrical Engineering.

How LE•O Helped:

After self-studying the SATs and with the help of the Leonard Education Organization (LE•O), I was offered a full scholarship to study at the University of Rochester. It was through Al Nayzak organization that I was introduced to LE•O and had this chance. Hopefully, this opportunity will make a great and a very significant change in my life and education.

 

Yazan Meqbil 

“My name is Yazan Meqbil. I was recently accepted at Goshen College, Indiana and will enter this Fall. After I had graduated from high school, I quickly decided that I wanted to study engineering. However, after I had taken a gap year and profoundly considered my experiences, I decided to double major in both Engineering and International studies. I did not want to choose one major and leave the other one and regret it in the future, so I decided it would be best for me to combine both degrees from different fields. This is resembling of my passion for education. I took general courses at Ivy Tech, with the hope of preparing myself academically and socially to transfer to a four-year college.

There are multiple reasons that boost my passion for education. My background is perhaps my most powerful driving force. I am a Palestinian refugee who lives in area C, which is under complete Israeli authority, next to an Israeli settlement. For years, my family has continuously been threatened that our house would be demolished. Thus far, we have received 10 demolition orders to our house. With this harsh political reality and even harsher economic circumstances, I am gifted with parents who share my passion for education. My father, who lost his education due to the first Palestinian uprising, always presses the value of education. My mother was also unable to continue her education due to her family financial situation. They planted this profound love for education in me, as if I embody both of their dreams; as if me, continuing my education is a fulfillment of all they ever desired.  This passion towards education helped me keep high grades that gave me the chance to stay the first in my class till 11th grade. My academic excellence gave me the chance to represent my school in different events. I was also selected for English Access Microscholarship program back in 2010. I stayed on the honors list at my different schools for seven years.

Education for me is not restricted to the classroom. Since I was a little kid, I had a passion toward leadership training, speeches and summer camps. I genuinely liked meeting new people. I consequently participated in different summer camps in Palestine, which helped develop my personality and offered me the platforms to voice my own struggle and story. In 2012 I spent one week in an extensive leadership program funded by ActionAid Denmark. They helped fund me to form “Local association for youth-Beit Ommar,” which focused on empowering teenagers and giving them enough skills to be effective leaders and help their own communities. All of those experiences helped me make the decision to apply to Seeds of Peace Summer Camp in the United States, which I attended in 2013.

I chose to pursue my bachelor’s degree in the United States for many reasons. First, this will offer me the opportunity to pursue a double-major. When it comes to international studies, many American colleges are leading institutions. Second, I am always introduced to new experiences, perspectives, networks, and even books, which help me shape the person I want to be. Upon graduating from high school with a 92.3% average, I decided to take a year off to prepare myself, academically and socially, to study in the U.S. After fighting to secure enough funds to pay for my TOEFL and SAT preparatory exams, I could not secure enough funds and scholarships to come to a four-year college. Considering our financial hardships, my parents cannot cover any of my education’s costs. Eventually, with overwhelming help from many people, I secured enough funds to travel to the U.S. and start attending Ivy-Tech Community College. During my gap year, I worked hard in different jobs to secure some money to pay for my summer semester’s tuition.”

How LE•O Helped:

LE•O offered me the opportunity to apply to a four-year college to continue my studies in the U.S. They arranged my finances and scholarships. I am grateful for their support and guidance. Through LE•O I have a mentor assigned to help me with my college applications and now I am moving into my next step in my education.

Service Recipients

 

 

 

LE•O currently supports 33 Palestinian students as Service Recipients. They are generally new students from the Middle East who have been led to us for our wide range of services and support.  They are separate from our LE•O scholars because they do not receive our academic scholarships. Some of our Service Recipients are also older graduate students that we have been working with for many years and still require assistance and advice.

At LE•O we believe in the strength of partnerships. We are a part of a network of organizations that work to prepare under-served Palestinian youth for higher educational opportunities starting as early as 10th grade. We work closely with these organizations from the Middle East and in Europe, and offer our mentoring programs to assist with their college preparation, applications, and acceptances into US colleges and universities.

LE•O’s support network is vital to ensure success. Considering the fact that colleges and donors invest heavily in the futures of these young people, their failure is not an option.We established our unique program to offer a broad range of services to these youth, including summer program host family placement, negotiating and understanding college scholarships, travel and visa information and guidance, cultural adjustment, graduate school application assistance and housing arrangements, internship placements, employment introductions in their countries of residence, moral support, personal development, introductions to older students already studying in the US, 24/7 emergency care, and soft skills development.

Read some of their comments, quotes, and testimonials

 

ALUMNI

Mohammad Noubani

Mohammad Noubani 

I graduated magna cum laude from The University of Rochester in Spring 2018 with distinction in the field of Neuroscience . I am currently attending medical school at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine.
How LE•O Helped:

With the help of LE•O I was able to achieve my goals and received a full scholarship to attend The University of Rochester. Rochester has a uniquely organized neuroscience major with a medley of advanced courses in molecular neuroscience that range from neuropharmacology to molecular neurophysiology. The latter courses prepared me for lab work in Professor Edward Brown’s lab. This opportunity to work allowed me to master the use of advanced laser scanning microscopy to study cancer development. I implemented these techniques to study transport through the blood brain barrier. After my long training, I want to become one of the major researchers in the field of brain cancer, thus longing for a future free of this disease.

I was born in Lebanon. Family life was very challenging ever since my father left us. I struggled to protect my family, and I fought to excel in my academics while also working as a volunteer teaching younger students in hopes to pursue a higher education on a scholarship. I won a scholarship with the help of ULYP (United Lebanon Youth Project) to study at AUB (American University of Beirut). I was interested in studying neuro-oncology, however due to the lack of facilities and research opportunities in the Biology department for this field I decided to apply as a transfer student to the University of Rochester with the support of LE.O.

Wael Haidar

Wael Haidar 

In May, 2018 I graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I am currently seeking work experience while volunteering with LEO as an Advisor. During my years at Lehigh, I worked on various catalysis-related research projects with Lehigh professors. My senior project was sponsored by Merck where my team and I worked on developing a model for downstream processing of protein drug substance of 400 L batch size. In addition, I spent a co-op semester, Fall 2016, at Infineum, where I worked on developing a series of tests for car lubricants’ aeration. I also worked in the Career Services office from summer of 2016 till graduation, where I helped students with resumes and other career related projects.
In the future, I plan to go back to school to pursue a masters degree and eventually a PhD in Chemical Engineering.
I was born and raised in the Bourj Al-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon. I went to UNRWA schools due to financial burdens. Because I was one of the high achievers, an organization reached out to me and encouraged me to apply to United World Colleges, a prestigious International Baccalaureate high schools chain around the world that offers scholarships for students from different countries and gives them a unique opportunity to live together and learn from each other’s very different backgrounds. I got accepted to UWC India in 2014 and I spent my 11th and 12th grades there.

After the amazing experience I had in India, I was accepted to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.The Leonard Education Organization were instrumental in backing my academic and personal development.Having such a strong support network in place in the US while I studied, enabled me to better navigate the many challenges I was to face, while studying abroad.

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