VISION is a newly founded NGO which aims to address all aspects of gender equality in Lebanese society. The brainchild Political Science student and founder of the NGO, Mario Doueiry, VISION was conceived after he and his colleagues attended the FLOW program in summer 2019, under the supervision of Rouba El-Helou, Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) Department of Government and International Relations – Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS). “The experience was mind-blowing, and we have decided to form after we had completed the program,” said Doueiry.
Doueiry went on to describe how the firm grounding in social justice he received at the NDU FLPS also played a major role: “The FLPS played a crucial role in transforming me as a person, and pushed me to create this NGO. Without the gender studies classes offered at FLPS, this project would have never emerged. Having a Feminist Dean, Dr. Cedar Mansour, supporting all the projects and student’s activities done by these courses is a real blessing, and the FLPS has soared under her leadership. Thanks also goes to our chairperson, Dr. Dany Ghsoub who has made it his mission to offer us such classes. The biggest thanks goes to two very special people transforming the FLPS who work tirelessly to expose the students to field work and contacts that none of us would have the opportunity to experience otherwise: Rouba el Helou and her husband, Professor Eugene Sensenig, are always creating events in our faculty and are the heartbeat of gender studies and gender equality at NDU.”
VISION’s primary focus is on promoting gender equality in Lebanon, but with an eye towards fighting oppression. “We stand against oppression in all its forms,” said Doueiry. “For us VISION is a revolutionary movement opposing the toxicity of the Lebanese patriarchal society, aiming to create a change. By patriarchal we also mean the abuse of power and all coercion against people from all walks of life.” The current goal is to pass a national resolution which deals with gender equality and tackles the issue of minorities and domestic workers in Lebanon. They also want to focus on gender-based violence (GBV), work place discrimination, and implementing family-friendly policies. “We believe that the family is the right place to start tackling the issues and we want to mainstream the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5.”
In the long term VISION aims to mainstream equality all over Lebanon through academic and scientific research, awareness campaigns and educational modules. As such, VISION is working to bring together several groups and NGOs in Lebanon as a think tank to strategize bringing about such changes.
“We are following the second wave feminists slogan ‘The personal is political.’ We would welcome anyone looking to join us to create a bigger chain of like-minded people, and give them a place to talk, share, and drive change.”
Many NDUers have already signed on, with students from other Lebanese universities starting to take notice as well. Those who want to lend a hand can send their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting Mario on +96171550058, or VISION co-founder Diana Salloum, on +96170796718, via WhatsApp or phone call.