Viewing cable 10VILNIUS36
Title: WHY SO MANY LEBANESE AT KAUNAS MEDICAL SCHOOL?

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
10VILNIUS362010-01-21 14:26:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHVL #0036 0211426
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 211426Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4074
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0023
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0281
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT PRIORITY 3270
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000036 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FRANKFURT FOR RCO KBROUGHAM 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2020 
TAGS: CVIS KFRD LH
SUBJECT: WHY SO MANY LEBANESE AT KAUNAS MEDICAL SCHOOL? 
 
Classified By: DCM Damian R. Leader for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Embassy officers traveled to Kaunas January 
12 to meet with Kaunas University of Medicine officials and 
discuss their international student program, specifically its 
large number of Lebanese students.  This fact finding trip 
was done after eight Lebanese medical students from this 
university applied for their first U.S. visa in a one month 
period late in 2009, for short term travel over the 2009-10 
holiday season.  ConOff sent Visa Condor cables with 
passport, family, past travel, and purpose of travel 
information to the Department for reasons 7E -- Lebanese 
nationals applying for the first time for a U.S. visa outside 
their country of origin.  Embassy has so far received a "no 
objection" response for seven of the eight applicants, and 
issued to those seven.  As of January 21, none of the seven 
issued visas have been used.  End Summary. 
 
¶2. (C) Neringa Pauziene, Vice Dean of the International 
Relations and Study Center at Kaunas University of Medicine, 
described the existence of a robust international student 
population, with 334 students representing 35 countries 
starting the 2009-10 academic year.  The two largest groups 
entering this year are from Israel (107 students) and Lebanon 
(62).  She said that students from Lebanon started coming to 
the snowy, off-the-beaten-path city of Kaunas to study 
medicine as far back as 1990, when a Minister of Education 
looked to European universities, and specifically Kaunas 
University of Medicine, as a more stable and safe alternative 
to the Beirut medical schools at that time.  The school 
currently has 270 Lebanese students enrolled. 
 
3, (C) According to Pauziene, the relatively large number of 
Lebanese at Kaunas University is the result of word of mouth 
or family tradition over the previous 15-20 years.  Pauziene 
said many of the current students are relatives or close 
acquaintances of previous Lebanese medical students who 
attended Kaunas.  She also noted that while the university 
does recruit in Lebanon, mainly through alumni, the numbers 
of Lebanese are actually declining, from 74 starting the 
academic year 2006-7 to only 62 this year. 
 
¶4. (C) Fluency in Lithuanian is not required.  There exist 
three entry tracks to the six year course of study - two 
offer instruction in Lithuanian, a third in English. 
Pauziene said most Lebanese opt for the third track however 
they do take the Lithuanian language classes offered on the 
side.  This is also recommended by the university for 
livability reasons.  Conversely, she added, Israeli students 
typically do not bother taking Lithuanian language 
instruction, instead they attempt to rely on Russian, which 
many of them speak as the children or grandchildren of 
immigrants from former Soviet Union countries. 
 
¶5. (C) Both Pauziene and Kristina Kavaliauskaite, the 
Coordinator at the International Relations Center, described 
the Lebanese student population as overwhelmingly male, and 
well integrated with the student body as a whole.  Unlike 
other international students, they are happy to live in 
university dormitories; most learn and speak Lithuanian, and 
many have married Lithuanian women.  (Note -- two of the 
eight visa applicants mentioned in paragraph 1 have 
Lithuanian wives).  According to Pauziene, Lebanese students 
typically use family money to pay for education, unlike other 
European students who receive grants or loans from their 
respective governments. 
 
¶6. (C) Comment: Four things about the eight Lebanese medical 
student applicants raised concerns: they all came to apply 
within one month of each other; they all wanted to travel to 
the U.S. within weeks or even days of potentially getting a 
visa; they all came from a country which requires a Visa 
Condor for first time applicants outside the country of 
origin; and lastly, Embassy Vilnius just does not get many 
Lebanese applicants.  Only 56 have applied for visas over the 
previous ten years, with roughly half issued. 
 
¶7. (SBU) A validation study of the years 2007-8 revealed that 
11 Lebanese nationals applied for visas at U.S. Embassy 
Vilnius.  Ten were issued, one was refused.  All ten 
applicants with visas used them and returned to Lithuania in 
a timely manner.  None of the seven Lebanese issued visas in 
late 2009 has used his visa for travel to the U.S. 
Information gained from this fact finding trip does not give 
Embassy Vilnius a complete picture of Lebanese life in 
Lithuania, however it does give ConOffs a greater knowledge 
base with which to use in adjudicating Lebanese student visa 
applicants who live in this country. 
DERSE