Director’s Update: February 2016

How did February disappear so fast?!

Here’s what we’ve been up to…

We added a new member to the IWSAW Board – Ms. May El Khalil. Ms. El Khalil brings a rich background as a pioneer and activist. She is the award-winning Founder, General Manager, and President of the Beirut Marathon Association. The Beirut Marathon Association oversees the annual Beirut International Marathon – something I should probably attempt one of these days!

In 2013, the race and social movement attracted over 36,000 runners from 104 countries! Additionally, Ms. El Khalil has been recognized for her work nationally and internationally – and she spoke at the TED global conference in Edinburgh Scotland in 2013.  She says that “peacemaking is not a sprint – it’s a marathon” – exactly. The same can be said for gender equality and human rights! We’re honored to have Ms. El Khalil with us!

Our February Food 4 Thought featured Kate Rougvie, our visiting researcher and expert on gender and security sector reform. Kate shared her experiences working on gender-based violence in many conflict countries – including Jordan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and others. She shared videos and photos and sparked interest and debate – both in Beirut and Byblos. Kate has now returned to Australia to continue her masters’ at the University of Queensland – but she will continue to follow up with the Institute as we advance our project on gender and gender-based violence training for the police and Internal Security Forces. Check this out for more information on Kate’s talk: http://www.lau.edu.lb/news-events/news/archive/do_you_trust_the_police/

IWSAW loves having interesting, committed, high-caliber researchers come to the Institute – get in touch if you would like to spend some time with us!

IWSAW also had a very fruitful meeting with the Gender Liaison Committee. The committee is a group of faculty across all of LAU’s departments that are committed to integrating gender issues across the university curriculum - critical partners for the Institute! And a great way to demonstrate that gender issues are indeed relevant everywhere!

And finally, I’ve just gotten back from Berlin where I attended an expert dialogue hosted by the Center for International Peace Operations where we discussed the role of peace operations in the region and in the world, and what this means for gender issues. We know that conflict affects women differently – and the engagement of women in peacebuilding is critical. In fact, there is no peace if half the population is excluded from peace processes. Women should be engaged at every level of these processes – their role is critical in ensuring that any peace is just, inclusive, and sustainable. We know this is non-negotiable – for the Arab world, and the rest of the world!

Stay tuned for more in March!

Lina