Students and faculty in the Department of Government and International Relations (GIR) at the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), are teaming up with ABAAD - Resource Centre for Gender Equality to study Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Lebanon. This research project is being carried out with the support of the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University (GWU), through a grant from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, US Department of State (DoS). Titled “Relationship between Gender-Based Violence and Mental Health among Female Survivors in Lebanon”, focus will be placed on the border regions of Akkar and the northern Bekaa Valley. Overall project team coordinator from ABAAD, Rassil Barada, is interfacing between the American and Lebanese partners, and carried out the pre-testing and student training phases at NDU.
This marks the first time in which the FLPS will be collaborating in empirical field research with GWU and ABAAD. The Global Women’s Institute (GWI) is one of the most experienced American research and training centers in the areas of gender studies, women’s rights, and security related issues in the Global South. ABAAD is partnering with FLPS to help develop capacity in advanced field research methods and raising awareness in Lebanon. Working with ABAAD’s service centers on the border areas with Syria, the project will be studying the nature of violence against women within the marginalized Lebanese host populations and the refugees in these regions. The American DoS is funding this project in order to improve services to female survivors and to encourage both women and men to combat all forms of gendered violence and exploitation.
According to Alina Potts, coordinator for the project from GWU, this research “represents the Global Women's Institute's approach to partnership with women's organizations in various countries, in order to develop capacity for nationally-led, safe and ethical research on issues of gender-based violence in conflict-affected settings. It follows a manual and toolkit developed through global consultation and freely available online: (https://globalwomensinstitute.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs1356/f/downloads/Manual%20and%20Toolkit%20-%20Website.pdf). Partnering with ABAAD and NDU ensures that national research capacity is built and promotes complementary partnerships between practitioners and academics, with each recognizing the expertise and skillset of the other.”
The Dean of FLPS, Dr. Cedar Mansour, pointed out that “the working relationship with GWU will be in line with our commitment to develop relationships with academic leaders in the United States in the social sciences.” In a working dinner between FLPS, GWU, and ABAAD during the kick-off the project Mansour, Potts, and the director of ABAAD, Ghida Anani, discussed possibilities for closer collaboration in future research in the MENA region.
Professor Eugene Sensenig, as Primary Investigator (PI) for the project, emphasized that FLPS is gaining valuable research capacity on the international and regional level, which it will be able to apply while gender mainstreaming its teaching and training profile in areas such as sustainable development, refugee and migration studies, and security related issues.