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Advocating for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, 2015

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence is an international event that starts on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on December 10, Human Rights Day. It is a period when the whole world mobilizes its efforts to shed light on gender-based violence (GBV).

To raise awareness among the LAU community; especially students, this year IWSAW organized a series of activities that included: a panel discussion with journalist Diana Moukalled, two film screenings, a joint activity with the Dean of Student’s Office - Health Services on World AIDS Day, an interactive play, and the monthly Food 4 Thought lecture on both Beirut and Byblos campuses that addressed issues related to masculinity and what it means to be a man.

On November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence, IWSAW hosted renowned journalist and producer Diana Moukalled to talk about her ‘Twenty Years’ Experience in Covering Women’s Issues’. Moukalled shared with the audience footage from 9 documentaries that she produced over the course of 20 years. Her presentation highlighted several topics related to women in different countries in the Arab world such as women in times of war, women as suicide bombers, crimes of honor, women and the Arab Spring. Moukalled managed to engage the students and audience attending and highlighted how the status of women in the Arab world has hardly changed, except give or take a few gains. She also discussed professional ethics while covering human and personal tragedies.

On November 30, IWSAW hosted a film screening entitled sura ghab el-talab [Image Upon Request], directed by Jad Ghosn and produced by Fe-male organization. The 20 minutes documentary-film talked about the image of women in the media and ads. The film was also followed by a discussion on the negative image of women in the media and how we can change it.

On December 1, World AIDS Day, IWSAW organized a joint activity with the Dean of Students’ Office-Health Services (Beirut campus) to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS as well as to highlight the challenges that women living with HIV and AIDS face. The activity took place on LAU-Beirut campus, where students were invited to pick-up messages displayed in a bottle to learn more about HIV and AIDS while at the same time winning discount vouchers. They even executed their own graffiti paintings with the help of a very creative LAU student and graffiti artist, Biblal Issa, and took pictures to promote messages such as: “stigma kills”, “equal access to testing”, and “be aware, take control, get tested”.

On December 2 and 3, IWSAW organized the Food 4 Thought monthly informal discussion in Beirut and Byblos. This month’s talk was about masculinity: Are you MAN enough?! Human rights activist and masculinity expert from ABAAD organization, Anthony Keedi, discussed with students what it means to be a man in our society today. The discussions were very lively and touched upon issues related to gender, masculinity and femininity, gender identity, stereotyping, and patriarchy.

On December 7, IWSAW screened the documentary-film “I am a Girl” directed by Rebecca Barry. The documentary-film addressed the issues faced by six young women - Manu, Kimsey, Aziza, Habiba, Breani and Katie, coming of age today. The screening was followed by a discussion lead by the Intersectional Feminist club and the Human Rights club. The discussion reflected a high level of maturity among the students who talked about gender inequalities and human rights in the Arab world.

On the last day of the campaign, December 10, that marks Human Rights Day, the institute hosted an interactive play produced by the Lebanese Democratic Gathering entitled el-rjeil lal siyessi w nahna leish la’ [Politics is for Men, Why not for Women Too]. The Play raised awareness about the rights of women to reach decision-making positions in politics and the need to introduce a quota system in Lebanon. A vibrant discussion followed the play where the audience were split in their opinions between those who were in favor of the quota system, and others who believed that no real change will happen as long as we are still adopting the current political system and electoral law.

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Panel discussion with renowned journalist and producer Diana Moukalled

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I want a woman to be the president of Lebanon because she CAN! #notanobject

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Why all these plastic surgeries? #notanobject 

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If she says No it’s rape! #notanobject

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Students advocating for “Equal access to Testing”

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Students renouncing stigma: “STIGMA KILLS”, “Get INSPIRED” 

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Students doing their own graffiti artwork with the help of LAU student and graffiti
artist Bilal, Issa. Thank you Bilal! 

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Students picking up their message of the day. Raising Awareness about HIV and AIDS.

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Food 4 Thought: An informal discussion about what it means to be a man
in our society with human rights activist and masculinity expert Anthony Keedi

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Panelists from the Intersectional Feminist Club and the Human Rights Club

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A very lively discussion following the documentary-film screening “I am a Girl”

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Interactive theatre jointly organized by the Lebanese Democratic Gathering

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A student trying to set an example of how women can make a change through a role play