University Innovation Fellows

The UIF is an international program from Stanford University to empower students as agents of change in Higher Education.
Mars 2019

“In our school meetings we plan with the students instead of talking about them

In the students board we take decision with the students instead of for the students

USJ and the UIF program give students the stage and recognition they deserve”, Pr Salim Daccache s.j., Rector

Innovation is one of the pillars of Saint Joseph University of Beirut. The University Innovation Fellows program (UIF), of the Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, is a key enabler for the innovation culture at our university. Each year, the USJ Fellows travel to Silicon Valley to develop their skills and connect with other fellows from all over the world. USJ is one of the 254 universities in the program.

Until now, the UIF program has trained 1838 fellows from 254 schools from around the world. The UIF program believes that students can change the world. Through empowerment and training in entrepreneurship and innovation they will gain the necessary skills and attitudes to become the leaders of change and compete in the economy of the future.

Two students from INCI, Peter Bachour and Charbel Howayek, accompanied by Professor Flavia Khoutounian from ESIB, were the first students trained in Stanford University and Google in Silicon Valley as University Innovation Fellows. This program was initiated by Ursula El Hage and sponsored by INCI.

In 2019, this program grew to other programs at university. A variety of students applied after realizing they wanted to learn how to make a difference on their campus. Four student were selected for the 2019 change leaders’ cohort:

Tatiana Wakim and Charbel Abou Younes from the engineering School (ESIB)

Elio Gerges from the Institute of Management (IGE)

Joséphine Balaa from the Dentistry school (FMD).

The UIF fellows are student leaders who create opportunities for their peers to develop the entrepreneurial mindset, build creative confidence, seize opportunities, define problems and address global challenges. They collaborate with faculty to develop new classes, create opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, host events and workshops. Fellows could be from any major or level, all they need in to demonstration passion for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Students selected at USJ will participate in a six-week online program, where they connect with the international network of fellows, examine the university entrepreneurial ecosystem, plan and execute their ideas. They are sponsored by USJ for the training and the meetup in Silicon Valley at Stanford University and Google. Then they will bring all of this back to campus, develop and implement a plan and make a difference!

2018 Silicon Valley UIF Meetup

Pictured above the UIF Cohort at Google () USJ students traveled to the 2019 Silicon Valley meet up at Stanford's March 22-27. They visited Google's headquarters, collaborated with a global network of fellows, attended various workshop and came back with inspiration for USJ innovation and entrepreneurship culture on campus.

Read the UIFs Silicon Valley Meetup Recap and see photos of their experience here. (

How can you learn more?

Contact Ursula El Hage (, Dany Mezher (, Flavia Khoutounian (, Peter Bachour (

Visit UIF Program website:

Watch the following video about the UIF Program:

Read about UIF 2018 cohort: