Director’s Update: December 2015

Wonderful wishes for 2016!

2015 ended on a strong note! In the beginning of December, I was in the LAU New York Academic Center meeting with stakeholders and potential partners and planning collaborations between IWSAW and LAU NY. There are many exciting possibilities, including bringing our monthly speaking series Food 4 Thought to New York as well as conferences, courses, and other learning events. 

December also brought the continuation of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. November ended with a panel discussion with renowned journalist and producer Diana Moukalled and the film screening of the documentary-film sura ghab el-talab [Image Upon request] produced by Fe-male organization. On December 1, World AIDS Day, IWSAW organized a joint activity with the Dean of Students’ Office-Health Services to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS as well as to highlight the challenges faced by women living with HIV and AIDS.

On December 2 and 3, we organized our Food 4 Thought monthly discussion on this subject of masculinity, entitled: Are you MAN enough?! Human rights activist and masculinity expert from ABAAD organization, Anthony Keedi, led an animated discussion on what it means to be a man in our society today. Check out this article for more info: http://www.lau.edu.lb/news-events/news/archive/food4thought_guest_talks_manli/

On December 7, IWSAW screened the documentary “I am a Girl” directed by Rebecca Barry. The film addressed the issues faced by six young women in six different countries coming of age today. The screening was followed by a discussion led by LAU’s Intersectional Feminist Club and Human Rights Club on what similarities and differences these girls share with girls in the Arab world.

On the last day of the campaign, December 10, 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 addressed women’s right to access decision-making positions in politics and the need to introduce a quota system in Lebanon.

The Institute keeps growing! We now have Dr. Nida Qamar working with us to produce Country Gender Profiles for the 22 countries that are part of the Arab league. This is critical information because these profiles will provide a background on the gender equality situation in each country. They are a starting point for information, and something we will build on and share.

Nida is a dentist by training and has a Postgraduate Degree in Public Health. She brings rich experience working on gender issues - specifically gender-based violence. She has extensive experience working with the UN agencies, local NGOs and refugees and IDPs across the globe. She was also part of the peer reviewers of the national curriculum on GBV Case Management.

In December we also launched our exciting new project on gender training for the police and internal security forces in Lebanon. This builds on previous work at the Institute and aims to embed principles of gender equality and human rights while also providing training on how to prevent and respond to cases of gender-based violence safely, ethically, and appropriately. More on this to come!

December also brought a partnership between IWSAW and HREA - the Human Rights Education Associates - a globally-recognized leader in human rights education. HREA is dedicated to quality education and training to promote understanding, attitudes and actions to protect human rights, and to foster the development of peaceable, free and just communities. Read this for more: http://www.hrea.org/hrea-partners-with-the-institute-for-womens-studies-in-the-arab-world/

We’re delighted to be collaborating with such a strong partner and look forward to the interesting initiatives that will emerge!

And finally, for those students who are interested in enrolling in our Gender Studies Masters’ program next semester, they can start by taking the two courses offered in Spring 2016: Research Methods (MIG720), and Gender and Migration (MIG715).

Wishing you all happiest holidays and a successful start to 2016!
Lina