The Department of Architecture at the Ramez G. Chagoury Faculty of Architecture, Arts, and Design (FAAD) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), in partnership with Bauhaus Universität-Weimar (BUW), organized an international seminar titled “Challenges of Sustainable Affordable Housing: Cases from Lebanon and International Contexts.” Professors from the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese American University (LAU), and the Lebanese University (LU) attended the event, in addition to representatives from Germany, Egypt, Jordan civil society and NGOs, and UN-Habitat. The Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Dr. Michel El Hayek, gave the welcoming address, following the opening notes from FAAD Associate Professor and Event Coordinator, Dr. Nadine Hindi, and FAAD Dean, Dr. Karen Boujaoude.
Moderating the first session, under the title, “Housing Challenges in MENA region,” was FAAD Assistant Professor, Dr. Kristine Samra. Presenters included Dr. Mai Karram of Alexandria University (AU), Dr. Yasmin Kandil of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), Dr. Raed El Tal of the German Jordanian University (GJU), and Mr. Elie Harfouche (LAU), who offered their perspectives surrounding the theme. The second session was moderated by FAAD Associate Professor, Dr. Nadine Hindi, and co-moderated by Dr. Aliaa Al Sadaty from the Cairo University (CU). Professor Frank Eckardt (BUW), Professor. Mona Fawaz (AUB), Professor Mosbah Rajab (LU) and Mr. Tarek Osseiran (UN-Habitat) highlighted the major issues of the session, titled “Housing, Community, and Policies.” Al Sadaty then moderated the final session, co-moderated by Dr. Amr Yaghi from University of Petra (UP), hosting representatives from the following NGOs: Mr. Abdul Halim Jabr of the Beirut Heritage Initiative (BHI), Mr. Mohamad Ayoub of Nahnoo, and Ms. Tala Alaeddine of Public Works Studio (PWS). The session was additionally livestreamed to accommodate remote attendees and engage a wider audience.
The seminar was one part of a four-day workshop, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). With this international outreach, the Department of Architecture is bringing attention to the different challenges of Housing in Europe and the MENA region including Lebanon. The perspectives brought forth from the representatives of Jordan, Egypt, and Germany provide a larger picture from which to draw inspiration and offer long-term solutions and action plans.