The Arab Institute for Women


Project: “Reconstructing the Stories of Unsung Heroines”

The Arab Institute for Women (AiW) at the Lebanese American University implemented a project entitled: “Dealing with the Past, Memories for the Future, Reconstructing the Stories of Unsung Heroines” that was funded by the United Nations Human Rights Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa and the UN Peace Building Fund. 

The first activity of the project entailed holding three focus group discussions and three key informant interviews which included women activists in the civil war; women who lost the family’s primary provider in the civil war; women who are sisters, mothers, or daughters of the missing or enforced disappeared during the civil war; researchers of war, peace, and conflict; women activists in the October 2019 uprisings… The purpose of the discussions was to underscore the crucial yet sidelined role that women undertook and continue to undertake as peacemakers in Lebanon. The debates also shed light on the unspoken economic, social, cultural, and legal challenges and burdens that women are forced to shoulder in times of war and conflict.

Drawing on the focus group discussions and the interviews, the AiW drafted a report in English and in Arabic documenting the consultations’ findings. This written account aimed to populate the dearth of data recorded on women’s participation in peace building and seeks to encourage further research on the subject matter. The report also included recommendations on how to better engage women in public debates in order to establish peaceful transitions in times of conflict.

Two documentaries narrating the peaceful initiatives as well as economic, social, cultural, and legal burdens bore by women were also produced. The first documentary covered the civil war period i.e. from 1975 until 1990, whereas the second explored the modern era i.e. from 1990 until 2020. Interviews with women who were key activists in both periods, as well as with researchers on the subject matter were filmed. 

Following the production of the outputs, the AiW sought to disseminate the findings through an event held at LAU. The event included uncovering the findings of the report as well as screening the two documentaries. The AiW invited focus group discussion participants in addition to the UN, embassies, international organizations, governmental organizations, and civil society organizations and activists working on the issue or related topics. For more details on the event, please click on the following link.