The Levantine Institute of Tripoli offers high quality Arabic courses for foreigners, teaching both Levantine Dialect and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)

The Institute also provides volunteering opportunities to teach French, English and/or participate in different programs related to education in partnership with local NGOs in North Lebanon.

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The Levantine Institute of Tripoli (part of Sham Development) was created in January 2017 in response to a growing need for well-structured and intensive Arabic language courses in a less westernized environment than Beirut.

The purpose of the institute is to also provide displaced/disadvantaged children with free tutorials with well educated foreign students :

Out of the 500,000 Syrian children in Lebanon, only 150 000 are enrolled in public schools. A large number of these children are dropping out of the system as they are facing major difficulties with the French and English language. As a matter of fact, the Lebanese school curriculum has half of its content in French or English while in Syria everything was in Arabic which makes it very challenging for these children (More info in the Community engagement section).

The Institute, set in Tripoli's oldest neighborhood, Zehrieh, has the advantage of combining high quality educational programs with an immersive cultural experience. Only a few meters from the city center of Tall, you will be charmed by this district and its inhabitants. 

About Sham Development :

Sham Development is a social entrepreneurship created by Alexandre Khouri and Serge Harfouche.

It aims to encourage, build and develop social entrepreneurship projects as well as Eco-social projects. The organization is strictly secular and a-political. We aim to work with humanity regardless of the social background, religion, gender or origins.

Alexandre Khouri -Founder- is a Humanitarian aid worker who has been living between Europe and Lebanon. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from St Joseph University of Beirut and an Msc in Migration, Mobility and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies. He has worked with the major UN agencies working on migration but also with the International Committee of the Red Cross.  

Serge Harfouche -Co-Founder- is a psychology and literature major. He worked as a librarian for 5 years before becoming the communication and administration officer of St. Joseph University's UPT (Université Pour Tous) program. Born and raised a few km south of Tripoli, Serge has a solid experience as an administrator and knows North Lebanon like the back of his hand.

Sophie Harfouche -Head of education program-is a translation major (Lebanese University). She holds a Master's degree in Arabic as an Applied Foreign Language from the Lebanese University. Sophie has substantial experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language to learners of different nationalities and levels (France, USA, China, Argentina)

Najla Sayadi -Arabic teacher- is a translation major (Al Jinane University). She holds a Master's degree in Arabic as an Applied Foreign Language from the Lebanese University. Najla has substantial experience in teaching Arabic as a foreign language to learners of different nationalities and levels (Turkey, China).


Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon, has always been an important urban center for Arab empires in the Levantine region. While Beirut was a tiny fisherman village in the 19th century, Tripoli was already the capital of the Turkish Wilayat of Tarabluss, a prosperous city embracing the Mediterranean coast for centuries. From the Crusader Castle of St-Gilles, to the endless souks, from the ski stations to the islands, not to forget pubs, nightlife in Mina and the culinary art, Tripoli’s authenticity and vibrant atmosphere is of a great choice for any international Arabic student searching for a place to study in this part of the world.

Located only 85km away from Beirut (50mn drive ), North Lebanon's capital offers a perfect setting for a linguistic immersion into Levantine culture and history. As many former Arabic students in Lebanon would tell you, the westernisation of Beirut makes it very difficult to practice Arabic on a daily basis, making this city less and less attractive for international students.

You will also appreciate the incredible architectural scenery in Tripoli. This city is known to have the second largest Mameluke heritage in the world after Cairo : mosques, hamams, souks, mansions from that era are countless. Other advantages of studying in Tripoli would be the low rent and affordable living, the proximity of clean public beaches, the absence of traffic jams, the cedar mountains and last but not least , its very hospitable and generous people.

Our exchange programs facilitates linguistic educational support for children lost within the Lebanese school systems and will surely leave you with a long-lasting memory of your time spent in Tripoli, volunteering/exchanging while also improving your Arabic skills in complete cultural immersion.