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TOKTEN Worldwide History

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In this respect, the body of outstanding Lebanese specialists who have settled abroad especially since 1975, constitutes a valuable but largely untapped potential source of know-how, which, if mobilized, can be an asset.

As such, the TOKTEN project appears to be very relevant to the Lebanese situation to which the protracted civil war has inflicted a severe brain drain. The departure of a large number of highly skilled and qualified persons has had a serious effect on the Lebanese economy.

The TOKTEN programme was launched in Lebanon in 1993 through a project document signed between the Lebanese Government and UNDP. It was funded by UNDP and undertaken in cooperation with the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR), UNESCO and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

This programme has evolved and grown considerably since its inception in 1995. TOKTEN has set up a database of Lebanese professionals in various fields of specialization and established links with Lebanese Associations abroad as well as with research centers of leading universities.

From January 1995 to January 2000, 40 Lebanese expatriates established in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Kuwait volunteered their services through the TOKTEN programme.Of 40 TOKTEN volunteers brought in, 6 have already settled back in Lebanon after their mission gave them a first-hand taste of life in the country they left years ago.

The project recorded several achievements in terms of strategic policy consultancies, reinforcing capacity building, return visit for follow-up missions, initiation of active dialogues between the expatriate and the host institution.

With this growth, the need has arisen for an improved framework of policies and procedures to revitalize this programme. Thus, UNDP and CDR have designed this new TOKTEN programme to better respond to the needs and enthusiastic national demand, in a more "user friendly" manner.