October 2020 Updates
This month was a flurry of activity! No pandemic or economic crisis or political drama is going to keep us from doing the work that needs doing!
We’ve been (virtually) all over the world this month! And we’re taking on some challenging topics – from economic empowerment and the role of Lebanese women entrepreneurs to girls’ education and the risks of violence (watch the full event here) to the impact “bad leadership” has on women’s movements to abuse of power in times of crisis – and MORE!
To advance the women, peace, and security agenda, we also participated in the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 54th annual conference to talk about the invisibility of peace activists in Lebanon. It’s baffling to us that we still have to explain why women need to be involved in all aspects of peace and security. Could anyone possibly argue otherwise?! Of course not – because peace simply isn’t possible when half of the population is excluded!
In other news, we hosted two of our LAU alumni, Laury Haytayan and Sara El Boustani. Haytayan is a Lebanese oil and gas expert and the MENA Director of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), while El Boustani is the first and only woman to be working offshore in Lebanon – two true pioneers! We also learned about the Women Offshore MentorSHIP program for women who work in the maritime or offshore oil and gas industries - applications will open in December 2020!
To dive into another important industry, The Institute just published the second of its mini policy briefs – this one focused on mental health in Lebanon – an often-overlooked urgent health need. These days our mental health is more fragile than ever, with a global pandemic, a government in chaos, an economic collapse, and the raw trauma of the explosion. This brief draws on interviews with experts from Embrace, an organization raising public awareness on mental health in Lebanon, and the Mental Health Programme of the Ministry of Public Health. More briefs - about education and the economy - coming soon!
In other research news, we’ve fused two feminist journals - Al-Raida and Kohl – for a collaboration on Writing Beirut, a project built from feminist solidarity to create space for critical reflections on gender, race, ability, and class in the aftermath of the explosion. This effort will document and spotlight the powerful work of activists, advocates, and workers who push for accountability and social justice. Be a part of this power – submit your writing to: email@example.com. Your voice is important!
And in November, we’re gearing up for our annual campaign to support the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, a campaign to raise awareness on the need to end violence against women and girls worldwide. In previous campaigns, we’ve written about the origins and significance of this period. Check out previous updates if you want the backstory!
For the Institute, our advocacy to end violence against women is not restricted to 16 days – it’s EVERY day! But this period is special because we re-launch our awesome annual art-as-activism competition in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Check out the video on our previous campaign and the winners for 2016, 2017, and 2018!
This year, we’ve gone through a LOT in the region - from the COVID-19 pandemic, to chronic conflict and occupation, to natural disasters, to toxic explosions – and so we chose the theme “Life in Times of Emergency” to focus on the impact of these emergencies on women and girls.
The competition is open to all youth in the Arab region under the age of 30 and will run from 25 October to 27 November 2020. Create hope out of the emergencies and send your activist art to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the following application!
Together we can make a difference!
In solidarity - until next month,
The AiW Team