The Human Rights Club and the International Relations Club students at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) took part in two training sessions for the “Young LeaderSHE” program organized by Lebanese NGO Women in Front (WIF) and supported by the Netherlands Embassy in Lebanon, which aims to help competing students to suitably present a project relating to human rights. The winning team went on to win a cash prize and received public acknowledgement during the closing ceremony.
WIF, established in 2012, aims to empower women and increase their participation in political and public life. The NGO organized two training sessions on December 6, 2017, in the Projection Room at the University main campus to help university students from across Lebanon, including Human Rights Club students at NDU, learn and gain practical experience from industry professionals. Participating students were given the opportunity to take a closer look at the application of advocacy in campaigns and to benefit from a self-actualizing session to learn the key aspects of correct body language, and much more. The goal was not only to educate but also to allow teams to compete against each other for a US$2,000 cash prize based on creating the best project related to human rights and based on the quality of a small presentation they were asked to give on gender equality.
The presentation of projects was held in front of a jury panel who selected the winners based on predetermined criteria. The jury members were; Nora Mourad, UNDP LEAP; Imad Bazzi, advocacy trainer and blogger; Roula Douglas, Journalist at L'Orient-Le Jour, Joelle Rizkallah and Nada Anid, co-founders of WIF; and Dr. Jennifer Abou Hamad and Dr. Soha Abdelnour Fahed from NDU.
Students were split in groups. The NDU groups were: Group 1 (composed of Gaelle Tawk, Stephanie Abboud, and Lea Bou Doumith), Group 2 (composed of George Hakim and Elias el-Rayes), and Group 3 (composed of Vana Minassian, Elise Nassif, and Melissa Harrouk). All three groups started their presentation by explaining their cluster for gender equality and then proceeded to their chosen human rights-related project. Although the three groups were all well prepared, Group 1 emerged victorious.
The closing ceremony, hosted by the WIF, was held on Saturday, the February 3, 2018, at 11:00 a.m., in the Movenpick Hotel, under the auspices of Minister of Information Melhem Riachi and former Minister of Education Elias Bou Saab. The ceremony began with welcome speeches, followed by the winners of each university partaking in panel discussions on their views, regarding the two selected topics: “Gender Equality in Academia and the Workplace in Lebanon” and “Lebanese Women in the Media.” Gaelle Tawk, represented NDU’s winning team in the first panel. The participants were all given certificates and the winners received the well-deserved cash prize. The Department of Community Service and Awareness (CSA) received a trophy for its continuous support knowing that 4 training sessions were held at NDU on March 27-29 and April 2-6, 2017. One shield was dedicated to Majed Bou Hadir, Director of Public Affairs and Protocol, for his efforts; Melhem Rechdan, Assistant Dean of Students, received both trophies on their behalf.
A lunch reception followed.