Monday, December 19, 2011

Lebanese Military’s Commander-in-Chief Honors LOST


The Commander-in-Chief of the Lebanese Military Jean Qahwaji commended LOST for its “noble national sentiments,” cooperation with the institutions and personnel of the Military and initiative on the Independence Day of Lebanon in 2011 involving the Lebanese Army orphans.

LOST organized an Independence Day celebration event in November of 2011 honoring the nation’s heroes and thanking them for their selfless dedication to Lebanon’s security and independence. The event was attended by the families and orphans of the Lebanese Army martyrs and also representatives of the Military and included an opening ceremony, entertainment, gifts and food.

Recognizing the significance of the Military in preserving the nation’s Democratic institutions and its civil society, LOST involves the Lebanese Armed Forces in most of its programming and never fails to appreciate their contributions to and service and sacrifice for the people of Lebanon in general and the people of the Baalbeck Hermel Region in particular.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Developing Generation Y’s Civic Intelligence-Shaping the Nation’s Democracy One Youth at a Time


In line with its purpose, the seventh annual Academy of Youth at LOST launched the Universal Declaration of Human Rights exhibition at ten secondary schools across the Baalbeck Hermel Region as it executes the second month of its program.

Over 150 youngsters from ten schools in the communities of Baalbeck, Hermel, Ain and Shmustar are participating in the exhibition which is set up to acquaint local students with their rights as citizens of the global community, and which—thanks to the leadership of the United Nations organization—have become inborn rights for all. The exhibition includes poster-displays, theatrical plays and roll-upsset up at the participating schools and all of which emphasized the thirty articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Academy of Youth at LOST is an annual project designed to educate youths about public life with special emphasis on democracy and democratic governance. It trains them on the use of technical tools essential for a pro-active approach to civic participation where they learn about information technology, social media and English language tools and goes further to engage them in projects offering practical experience implementing the material they learn in the classroom.

In the Academy, Youths complete a comprehensive curriculum with four components. The Civics-Training component educates Academy participants about civics and democracy and trains them on the use of technical skills to implement projects of civic nature while the Activity component engages them in civic projects in their respective communities. The Events component promotes the Academy and its works to the various communities in the region in an effort to attract more youths to future academies at LOST. Finally, the Media component involves youths in public relations and media campaigns to provide them with practical experience voicing their concerns and opinions to the public at large and to public figures at the local, regional and national levels.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yes She Can: LOST Educates Women About Their Rights and Opportunities in Public Life, Empowers Them Politically

 As a second stage in the Women’s Political Empowerment (WPE) project funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lebanon, LOST commenced the program with training sessions on the topics of Human Rights and Women’s Rights in six sub-regions in Lebanon including Baalbeck, Akkar, Ain, Beit Shema, Hermel and Ersal, thereby embarking on a five-month long mission to empower women in the marginalized communities of Lebanon politically and ushering in a brighter and more democratic society for them and their country.
Scheduled for two sessions per week with each session lasting approximately two hours, WPE includes a theoretical component and a practical one. The former covers several topics on civics including citizenship, human rights and women’s rights, advocacy and civic participation, and also information technology, social media and English language. The latter involves participants in a community project allowing them to partake in the policy-making process in their respective communities under the guidance of LOST.
In the Baalbeck branch of LOST, twenty six women are attending the training sessions; close to 50% of them joined WPE after graduating from the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project also run by LOST. In a partnership with Jusur organization LOST is managing WPE in Ersal while in Akkar LOST has partnered with the municipality of Tall-Abbass to manage it. Jusur and the municipality provide logistical and human capital support for LOST who in turn is providing leadership, expertise and funding for the implementation of WPE therein.
WPE aims at improving the lives of women in the marginalized communities of Lebanon by empowering women politically so they are active participants in the policy-making process of their communities and country. Also, it aims at strengthening the institution of women’s leadership in public life by educating women about their rights and opportunities in the public domain, involving them in projects which allow them to influence the policy-making process in their community, and offering them guidance on their endeavors in public life at any point in the future.
WPE is funded by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands via its diplomatic representation in the capital city of Lebanon Beirut and is scheduled to last until April of 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Local Youths Learn to Instill Change in Their Community and to Participate in the Making of Their Region’s History


LOST concluded the first month of the execution stage of its “Advocacy Civic Initiatives in Baalbeck-Hermel” project, with training sessions on the theme of “Citizenship and Civic Participation” to youths at its four locations in Baalbeck, Beit Shema, Ein and Hermel.
The initiative commenced in September of this year when LOST conducted preliminary preparations for the project selecting and training its personnel, developing and executing a marketing campaign and designing a research plan related to the issue of public access to government data. In October LOST continued its preparation for the project and in this regard recruited 80 youths from various communities in the Baalbeck-Hermel Region to participate in the initiatives and completed a training guide to be used by trainers in their work. In addition, training of trainers sessions continued and a project launch ceremony was held to announce the project to the local communities of the region.
In November, the first training session of youths was held and like subsequent sessions it focused on the topic of citizenship and civic participation. Upcoming sessions will focus on various topics within the Civics domain including sessions on Good Governance and Civic Advocacy. Also, community service activities where participants gain a first-hand look at advocacy campaign execution in communities other than their own will be organized via field trips to different provinces around Lebanon.
The “Advocacy Civic Initiatives in Baalbeck-Hermel” is a LOST project aimed at developing the capacity of youth to advocate causes they care about in their local and national legislatures so as to fully reflect their will in the making of their future. Funded by the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project is scheduled to end in July of 2012.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

LOST “Takes It To The Street,” Recruits 1,000 Local Youth To Participate in BLOM’s 9th Annual Beirut Marathon 2011

As part of its Youth Academy curriculum and in an effort to contribute to the civic engagement of youth in the Baalbeck-Hermel region, LOST recruited over 1,000 local youth to participate in BLOM Bank’s 9th annual Beirut Marathon held in Beirut under the auspices of the Minister of Youth and Sports of Lebanon Faisal Karame.


In association with BLOM Bank and under the slogan “Take It To The Street,” the Beirut Marathon Association (BMI) organized the 9th annual BLOM Beirut Marathon 2011 in Beirut with the purpose of contributing to the making of the national unity of Lebanon and in creating an opportunity for the people of Lebanon and other regions as well to engage in sports. Attended by over 31,000 participants from Lebanon and other countries, the Marathon included eight races as follows: 42.195 K, 42.195 K—Wheelchairs, Relay 42.195 K, 10 K Fun Run, 10,000 Meter Run, 10,000 Meter Run—Wheelchairs, 5 K Youth Run, 1 K Run-with-Mom.


LOST, as part of the Academy of Youth curriculum, recruited over 1,000 youth from the Baalbeck-Hermel region to participate in BLOM Beirut Marathon 2011. LOST’s contribution to the Marathon went beyond recruitment to include provision of T-Shirts and food to local participants, management of logistics and marketing efforts in the region so as to publicize the event and spark youth’s interest in the activity.


Hussein Yazbeck, the Director of the Beit-Shema branch of LOST, served as the coordinator of LOST’s efforts in the Marathon. According to Yazbeck, LOST’s aim behind the project is “to ingrain in youth the feeling that they are citizens of Lebanon and have a right to participate in all activities at the national level based on the principle of equality of citizens, as well as position the Baalbeck-Hermel region on the Sports agenda of Lebanon via efforts to project a civilized view of the reality of the Lebanese progressive youth who are in need of new horizons and challenges. Also, it is the aim of LOST to unite the Lebanese youth to keep the spirit of charity and of affiliation, which characterize Lebanon so much, thriving.”


For information on BLOM Beirut Marathon 2011 official results, visit BMA’s web site at http:// www.beirutmarathon.org/blom-beirut-2011/.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“All For The Country, For The Glory, For The Flag”: LOST Observes The Nation’s Independence Day in Its Own Special Way

 In commemoration of the Lebanese independence from in 1943, LOST organized a celebration ceremony at the Headquarters of the Lebanese Youth Network (LYN) on the Ras-el-Ain Avenue in Baalbeck.
The ceremony aimed at thanking the Lebanese Army for its selfless contributions to the nation and at marking the 68th independence anniversary of the Republic of Lebanon. In accomplishing these objectives, LOST organized an event for the children and families of the Lebanese Army martyrs who have given their lives for their country and the well-being of its citizenry.
The Lebanese National Anthem rocked the opening of the event and was followed by a welcome address by Kilmar Asaad, the event host and a member of the Lebanese Association of Students (LAS), who thanked the audience for participating in the event and the Lebanese Army for their dedication to the security and sovereignty of Lebanon. After the address, LAS, LOST’s partner in the event, presented a talent show for the audience and which included a performance of patriotic songs by participating children, clown show, quizzes and drawing contest.
A sports show which was presented for the audience by LYN, LOST’s other partner in the event, trailed the talent show and enthralled viewers with an amusement factor beyond anyone’s expectations. A Judo match, gymnastics show and Ping-Pong performance were the main components of this section of the event.  
Omar Bay’yan, the head of the Educational Committee at LOST, delivered the keynote address on behalf of LOST and, at the end of his speech, distributed presents to the orphans of the fallen martyrs of the nation’s Army. Speaking on behalf of the latter, First Lieutenant Mohammad Janbeyn thanked LOST, LAS and LYN for their efforts in making the event happen and recognized the fallen martyrs for their priceless contributions to their nation’s security and independence.
A lunch at Baytna Restaurant for the participating families and children marked the final section of LOST’s Independence Day celebration event. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

LOST Hits-the-Ground-Running with Its First Women’s Economic Empowerment Project

LOST embarked on the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project (WEEP) in the city of Baalbeck in an effort to enhance the social, economic and political status of women in the Baalbeck-Hermel region so they become more apt players in their community. The first training session of the project was held on the 17th of October 2011 from 10 am and until noon at LOST’s headquarters in Baalbeck.
 LOST’s latest campaign comes at a time when women in the region continue to lack their basic civil rights and the means to access assets necessary for them to lead a life enjoyed by their male counterparts locally and nationally. In most communities of the region, for instance, women lack adequate access to the information necessary to build their character and career and are unaware of their political, economic, religious or social rights. Their presence in the national legislature and in local governing bodies remains nil and their participation in the workforce low, even though women have a constitutional right to participate in public life and to pursue their chosen careers. Furthermore, initiatives for the economic support of women are nonexistent in the region and as thus their chances of professional growth therein are severely undermined. 
To alleviate this problem, LOST has launched WEEP on the 24th of September when it announced the project to the local communities and commenced a marketing campaign to promote the new initiative.
WEEP’s curriculum includes a theoretical part and a practical one. The former is scheduled to last until the first week of December and focuses on educating participants about the principles of entrepreneurship and management and also about information technology. The latter part begins in mid December yet its duration varies on a case-by-case basis. It focuses on providing participants with guidance during the implementation process of the projects incepted by individual participants. WEEP is the first project LOST undertakes which focuses solely on women’s issues in the region.
WEEP is managed by The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) in a joint partnership with Bridging the Divide, a non-profit organization based in the United States aiming at promoting peace, human rights and good governance around the world. WEEP is publicly funded via voluntary donations through a charity fundraising portal called Global Giving, which offers non-profit organizations an avenue to raise the funding necessary to carry out development projects. For more information on WEEP, visit the following link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educate-women-and-girls-in-rural-lebanon/.

Monday, November 28, 2011

LOST Conducts a Training of Trainers Session for Its Women’s Political Empowerment Project

In preparation for the Women’s Political Empowerment (WPE) project which has been made possible through a generous grant from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Lebanese capital Beirut, LOST started the Training-of-Trainers (TOT) sessions for the project staff at its Baalbeck Headquarters on the Ras-el-Ain Avenue.
Manar Za’ayter, a private practice Attorney-at-Law specialized in the Human Rights field in general and in the Women’s Rights sub-field in particular, led the TOT.
Za’ayter’s training curriculum included two components: Theoretical and practical. The former component provided trainers with a general overview of the women’s rights field such as the evolution of the concept throughout history while the latter component acquainted trainers with the technicalities of women’s participation in the political life of their community. An overview of the avenues to cross in empowering women to actively participate in the public life of their community is among the topics covered in this section of the TOT.
In an effort to allow trainers to be better equipped in leading WPE, training guides were distributed during the TOT session which is one of the two TOT sessions planned for the project. WPE is a LOST-managed project aiming at educating local women about their civil rights as women-members of the community, providing instructions on how to become involved in public life and equipping them with the skills and tools necessary to achieve their goals and ambitions.
WPE is scheduled to run until March 2012 when participants implement what they have learned in the classroom in the real world by organizing small community projects.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

LOST Receives Funding for Political Empowerment of Women Project

LOST is announcing the launch of its Political Empowerment of Women (PEW) project in the Baalbeck-Hermel region after it signed the funding acceptance agreement with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beirut on Friday, the 28th of October, at the Embassy’s premises in Achrafieh in Beirut.
In line with LOST’s mission and agenda, PEW has a threefold objective. First, it aims at educating 120 women from the Baalbeck-Hermel region about their civil rights as women in the community. Second, it seeks to provide these women with guidance on how to participate actively in public and political affairs. Third and last, it aims at offering participating women a chance to acquire the tools and skills necessary to help them better advocate their rights and issues at the local and national levels.
PEW is scheduled to run for six months. The first month of the project will be of preparatory nature and include recruitment of participants, development of training material and selection of staff, while the following four months will be of academic nature and will tackle the learning objectives of the project. It is at this stage of PEW that participants will learn about civic and political empowerment issues such as citizenship and civic participation. Small community projects designed to allow participants to implement the learned material effectively will consume the sixth and final month of the project.  The latter will involve the communities of Baalbeck, Shmestar, Ain, Hermel, Akkar and Ersal.
The anticipated impact of the project on the communities of the region is immense. Women are expected to develop their leadership aptitude to where they are more involved in their communities, socially and politically alike, and to learn the skills, knowledge and information technology tools which would allow them to accomplish such an objective. Development of an institutional support base for women in the Baalbeck-Hermel region is a long term expectation of the project.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

LOST Launches Two New Projects

On the evening of Thursday, the 27th of October, 2011, LOST celebrated the launch of two new projects in the Baalbeck-Hermel region in a ceremonial dinner at its headquarters in Baalbeck, in the presence of prominent community figures and supporters. 
The Lebanon Civic Initiative project aims at providing youth with civic and IT education and training in order to allow them to lead local grassroots-organizing efforts and to advocate issues of concern for their community effectively. The Academy of Youth project is designed to provide local youth with education on civic issues including citizenship, conflict resolution and good governance, among others, and with training in English, Information Technology, Social Media tools and internet research. Both projects commenced in September of 2011 and are sponsored USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI/USAID). 
Held at the Tammouz Hall in the Lakkis Building in Baalbeck, the ceremony hosted prominent community figures including Mr Duraid Yaghi, Archbishop Ilias Rahhal, Colonel Mardini and Major Haidar Mazloum, mayors, school principals, teachers, supporters and LOST staff.
Five speakers addressed the ceremony participants. Hussein Yazbeck, LOST-Beit Shema’s branch director delivered the opening address welcoming the attendees and thanking them for their continued support of the organization. Yazbeck announced the launch of the two new projects and provided an overview of LOST’s activities in the region. Duraid Yaghi, the Deputy Director of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, followed Yazbeck’s address with a speech highlighting the need of youth in the region for education of civic and cultural nature so they are more apt to shape their future and that of their homeland Lebanon. Also, he welcomed LOST’s two new projects and emphasized their crucial role in fulfilling the aforementioned need.
Archbishop Ilias Rahhal called on the audience at large and the representatives of the local academic community in particular to join efforts with LOST in developing the region via education and development initiatives. Omar Yassin, the kaemakam of Baalbeck, commended LOST for its contribution to the local community and encouraged participants to cooperate with the organization in the implementation of its initiatives. Ramy Lakkis, Director of LOST, delivered the concluding remarks and presented flowers to USAID director in Lebanon in recognition for OTI’s generous support of the new LOST projects.
Baytna, a Baalbeck-based restaurant located on the Ras el Ain Avenue, catered the event and offered participants an exquisite taste of the Lebanese cuisine while the Lute player Nazyh Ghadban enchanted their imagination with melodies borrowed from the Lebanese musical heritage. A cake-cutting ceremony concluded the festivity.
After the dinner, guests had a chance to take a glimpse of the rich heritage of  in  a photo-gallery set up in the banquet hall and learn about parts of the Lebanese folklore that have never been displayed in public before. Turath.Com, a local nonprofit organization established for the purpose of reviving the Lebanese heritage in the region and to ultimately globalize it via photo-displays and internet technologies, organized the show.
OTI/USAID is the major donor of LOST’s two new projects. Since its inception in September of 2007, the OTI program in Lebanon has supported over 199 projects worth more than USD 17 Million all aimed at preserving democracy and developing civil peace in Lebanon. The OTI program is scheduled to end in 2013.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

LOST Celebrates the Conclusion of the Summer 2011 Youth Academy, Graduates a New Class of TOEFL Students and Computer for Teachers Course Students


The Academy of Youth has successfully concluded its Summer 2011 season in Beit Shema with a festivity celebrating the success of its Ksarnaba project and the graduation of a new class of students of its Computer for Teachers course, TOEFL Preparatory Course and Summer 2011 Youth Academy this past Saturday, the 23rd of October, 2011, in Beit Shema in the Baalbeck-Hermel region.
Attended by students and their parents, LOST’s Director Ramy Lakkis, faculty and staff, Action Aid Denmark representatives, local political figures and community members, the “Youth Lead, We Follow” project final ceremony event in Beit Shema denotes the completion of a five month-long process which included four months of training and workshops on the topics of Conflict Resolution, Civic Participation, Citizenship and Peace and Tolerance and a one month of engagement in community projects in the Baalbeck-Hermel region. Saturday’s program celebrated the conclusion of the summer 2011 project for the Beit Shema branch.
 Hussein Yazbeck, the director of the Beit Shema branch of LOST, opened the program with a keynote address welcoming the program participants, recognizing the achievements of program and courses graduates and highlighting the activities and accomplishments of LOST in general and of the Beit Shema branch thereof in particular in the region. Yazbeck found especially noteworthy the Academy’s Ksarnaba project and its anticipated impact on youth in the community. “In this fascinating historic landmark in Ksarnaba our youth have found a way to undertake volunteering projects and to prove themselves capable of participating in the development of their region. They cooperated with relevant municipalities to illuminate the exterior section of the temple and locate signs and trash cans around the site. Also, they undertook a marketing campaign for this landmark by posting video excerpts on social media sites which they benefited greatly from during the academy.” He thanked Action Aid Denmark for their unyielding support of the Academy and in relation to LOST’s upcoming programming announced the organization’s newest course on computer networking titled CISCO Network Associate program commencing on the 19th of November, 2011.
 After the keynote address, participants watched a video presentation produced by the participants of the Youth Academy on Ksarnaba’s historic landmark, a Roman temple which ranks among the most important Roman temples in the region. The video presentation is one of Youth Academy’s civic engagement projects designed to draw the attention of the Ministry of Tourism of Lebanon and that of the public at large to this little known yet historically significant historic landmark via a lobbying campaign coupled with a marketing agenda executed through social and traditional media outlets.
The video presentation was followed by a theatrical play and a mime show performed by the academy participants. The purpose of both shows was to translate the key educational tenets of the academy to the audience in an easy to grasp and entertaining manner and allow participants to “live” the learned lessons during the civic education part of the academy on stage and therefore better understand its message.
LOST-Beit Shema’s festivity is the fourth and final graduation ceremony of the Summer 2011 Youth Academy this year after the final ceremonies in Hermel and Ain. LOST-Hermel graduated its class of Youth Academy participants on Friday, the 22nd of October. The branch’s ceremony included a theatrical play addressing the issue of conflict resolution at the community level and ridiculed the established custom of resolving conflicts via violence and arms rather than dialogue. Also, it addressed the women’s rights issue and called for legislative reforms therein as women in the region continue to lack their basic civil rights. The ceremony highlighted the Academy’s civic engagement project in the area and which aimed at raising the local community’s and the national government’s attention to the Brisa Ruins via print material, social media outlets and information technology.
LOST-Ain graduated its class on the 21st of October. Its ceremony included a theatrical play targeting the women’s rights issue and criticized the status quo where women are empowered in the media only but in reality continue to suffer from discrimination and neglect. The academy’s project included an awareness campaign calling for the preservation of Ain’s historic housing sites and Labweh’s Roman Ruins and the historic train station via print material distributed to local schools and associations. 
Action Aid Denmark is a major donor of LOST’s Summer 2011 Youth Academy and has been a strategic partner in fulfilling LOST’s mission in the Baalbeck-Hermel region. Thanks to the generous donations from Action Aid, LOST has been able to offer youth in the local communities with civic education and engagement opportunities which are fundamental to leading the way to a stronger, fairer and democratic Lebanon and plant the seeds for a nation built on the principles of democracy and justice. Casper Petersen, a volunteer worker for Action Aid Denmark and one of the program’s attendees, remarked his fondness of the theatrical play and the ingenuity of the program. “Acting is an international language and a great way to express your ideas. It goes beyond language since it targets different senses. Youth seemed to be very engaged and that will facilitate the learning process for them,” Petersen commented.
Planning and execution of the 2012 Youth Academy are ongoing. For information on participation in the academy, please visit LOST’s web site or one of LOST’s locations in Baalbeck, Ain, Beit Shema or Hermel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FORSA Completes its Project, Celebrates Success

In celebration of the success of its vocational training program, FORSA held a graduation gala at the Tammouz Hall in the Lakkis Building in Baalbeck at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, the 19th of October, 2011.
Attended by FORSA’s trainees and their parents, project manager and coordinators, OTI representative Sarah Sakaheel and other prominent local personalities, the graduation gala denotes the completion of a six month-long process which included workshops on citizenship, tolerance and conflict resolution, in addition to vocational training workshops on topics including painting, building and flagstones.
The Lebanese National Anthem opened the ceremony and was followed by a documentary film depicting an unemployed young man from Baalbeck and how he managed to get a job. While sharing with the audience one of the project’s success stories, the film served as an information tool describing the purpose of FORSA and the latter’s role in aiding young men and women in building their careers and shaping their future.
Ali Raad, the project’s administrative officer, delivered a speech where he emphasized the importance of vocational training in helping youth to obtain job opportunities and become economically independent. Due to the gloomy job prospects and the high level of unskilled labor in the Baalbeck-Hermel region, youth finds itself immersed in less than desirable activities which lead to personal and as a consequence social paybacks of negative nature. To prevent this problem from further escalation, the FORSA project came into being,” Raad asserted. “The FORSA project aims at developing the personal skills of youth, enhancing the concept of work and production and training youth on the careers that comply with the job market” added Raad.
On behalf of the student body of the FORSA project, Yaser Taleb delivered an address thanking FORSA for its generous support of youth in the region and regarding it instrumental in providing them a chance to win job opportunities which would allow them to realize their dreams and ambitions.
video

At the end of the ceremony, Sarah Sakaheel and Hammoud Shall, the project manager, awarded graduates with program completion certificates in recognition of their academic and vocational achievement.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

LOST Announces the Launch of the “CISCO Certified Network Associate” Program

In the pursuit of a more developed and globally integrated Baalbeck-Hermel region and in an attempt to further the technological prowess of its residents, LOST is announcing the launch of the CISCO Certified Network Associate program (CCNA) at its headquarters in Baalbeck starting November 19th, 2011, at 3:00 pm.
CCNA is an internationally recognized program based on CISCO’s infamous Networking Academy and aims at educating students and professionals alike on ways to design, build, troubleshoot and secure computer networks so as to provide them with increased access to career and economic opportunities in their communities. CISCO is a US-based international corporation specialized in computer networking and technology solutions and ranks among the leading corporations in the United States and around the world. Object Technology CISCO Academy is providing the technical know-how and training for the project.
 The anticipated outcome of the project extends beyond sound technology education for the Baalbeck-Hermel communities to include cultural and economic components. “This is a new opportunity for students and practitioners in the region to get CISCO certificates and good quality education. Also, it helps youth and others to get a job quickly,” emphasized LOST’s Chief Executive Officer professor Rami Lakkis. Beyond education and economics, the project promises to serve among the leading agents in the process of transitioning the culture of the region to a knowledge based one and also to usher in a more equitable future for the generations to come.
To sign up for the program, kindly visit LOST’s corporate offices on the 3rd floor of the Lakkis Building on Ras-el-Ain Avenue anytime between 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday through Thursday. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LOST Celebrates the Successful Completion of Summer 2011 Youth Academy, Graduates a New Class of TOEFL Students

A theatrical play, TOEFL graduation ceremony and cocktail party marked LOST’s program for its annual Summer Youth Academy this past Saturday, the 15th of October 2011, in the Ras-el-Ain district in the city of Baalbeck.
Attended by students and their parents, LOST and community members, the “Youth Lead, We Follow” project final ceremony event  denotes the completion of a five month-long process which included four months of training and workshops on the topics of Conflict Resolution, Civic Participation, Citizenship and Peace and Tolerance and a one month of engagement in community projects. Saturday’s program celebrated the conclusion of the summer 2011 project. 
Omar Bay’yan, a member of LOST faculty, commenced the program with a speech welcoming the event participants, emphasizing the importance of the project and discussing the accomplishments of the participants throughout the past five months. “We launched the youth academy project based on the solemn truth that youth in our region are facing enormous challenges in belonging to, proving their presence in and enhancing their participation and presence in decisions which impact their lives,” Bay’yan noted. “Also, they lack the education in cooperation, communication and dialogue which has been compromised by the sectarian extremism, the familial and the religious thereof.” 
At the end of Bay’yan’s address and as part of the project, a group of students participating in the academy performed a theatrical play which delivered the key learning objectives of the project in an easy-to-grasp manner. Humorous yet meaningful, the play emphasized the unequivocally important role that youth plays in civil society and especially on its ability to lead change and embody it in their daily lives.
After the play, Bay’yan commenced LOST’s TOEFL graduation ceremony where he congratulated the TOEFL course participants for their successful completion of the course  and awarded them diplomas in recognition of their achievement.
The Youth Lead, We Follow project is fully funded by Action Aid Denmark, a nonprofit organization which focuses on various areas of development including education, governance and emergencies and conflict and whose scope of operation spans numerous countries across the globe including Lebanon and many other nations in the Middle East region.

The project is a part of Action Aid’s Academy of Active Citizen, a summer program set up for the purpose of civic education and engagement via workshops and training on a variety of issues including tolerance and conflict.
“We support these kinds of projects because we believe in youth and their ability to do social change needed. We believe they are the changing agents,” said Hadia Ghadban, a project coordinator for Action Aid in Lebanon. “The result, to a big extent, has been good. We touched the impact of performing arts through their performance today and the show they presented.”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Local Advocacy Initiatives in Baalbeck- Hermel

  “Advocacy Initiatives in Baalbeck-Hermel” is the title of the project funded by OTI/USAID and implemented by LOST. This project kicked off in September 2011 and will extend over 10 months.
The major objective of this project is to empower 100 youth from Baalbeck-Hermel with civic education and advocacy tools in addition to social media tools to make them capable of mobilizing their local communities and participating in local advocacy initiatives.
Two main issues-problems are tackled in this project. The first one is conceptual and is related to youth misunderstanding of their role in society. And the second one is more practical and it deals with the poor involvement of youth in real community affairs especially in local municipality services.
The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training through this project tries to solve these issues by educating youth to become active citizens and helping them to understand their right and crucial role in making things change for the better in their society. Moreover, this project empowers youth with social media tools that can make their opinions more heard. These new acquired skills and techniques will be utilized as part of advocacy initiatives to push youth to handle the problems that they are facing.

The Academy of Youth: A new project supported by OTI/ USAID

 After implementing more than five projects of youth activism, The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training considers working with youth as a strategic issue to manage any process of social and political change. So that, LOST is going ahead in a new project supported by USAID which is entitled: “The Academy of Youth”. This project aims at training and engaging more than 10 youth clubs from different academic and vocational institutions in public issues. This will be done by training youth on citizenship, conflict resolution, good governance, municipal governance in addition to IT and English sessions. These trainings will be followed by various activities that will be implemented to crystallize the different concepts discussed in training.
Through this project, youth will gain new skills and they will have the chance to use these newly gained skills to participate in the development of their communities.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Launching small community projects by youth in Baalbeck-Hermel

The Academy of Youth- Summer 2011 which is the first joint project between LOST and Action-Aid Denmark launched 4 developmental projects in Baalbeck in the presence of Dr. Ramy Lakkis, the founder of LOST, Mrs. Hadia Ghadban, the representative of Action-Aid Denmark in Lebanon and several social and academic figures in addition to the participants of the Academy. After the Lebanese Anthem, Mr. Hussein Shouman from LOST welcomed the audience and explained the program of the Academy and its objectives. Mr. Shouman’s welcoming note was followed by a speech delivered by the founder of LOST Dr. Ramy Lakkis who stressed on the role of the Academy in promoting local development. “The final stage of the Academy’s program includes the engagement of youth in 4 community projects in order to use their newly gained skills to push for positive change in their communities”. He added. Four youth members of the Academy presented the 4 community projects that will be executed in Baalbeck, Hermel, Ein and Ksarnaba. Hermel and Beit Shama projects are based on protecting the monuments of Brisa and Ksarnaba. These projects include sending letters to the Ministry of Tourism in order to protect the archeological sites in these regions. The project that will be executed in Ein is based on protecting the archeological old houses in this region by communicating with the owners and presenting short films that show the archeological importance of these houses. The Academy’s members in Baalbeck presented their project which is based on the rehabilitation of Al Makased Park in Baalbeck through meetings with the neighborhoods and the municipality of Baalbeck and distributing brochures to raise public awareness to protect public places.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More than vocational education! Job opportunities


The Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training inaugurated the Electronics and Commercial Arts Center “ECC” in an opening ceremony in Baalbeck in the presence of a large audience of political, academic and social figures.
“More than vocational education! Job opportunities” said Dr. Ramy Lakkis, the founder of LOST. This is the essential feature that distinguishes “ECC” from other vocational institutions. “ECC” provides career guidance and job opportunities to its students in collaboration with Forsa, a local NGO.


“ECC” provides the following technical degrees “BP-BT-TS”, and it offers a wide range of majors such as IT management, nursing, Business administration, management information system, Construction and public works.
Furthermore, “ECC” offers a variety of courses and certificates in Languages (English& French), hairdressing & make-up, first aids, flowers’ arrangement, engineering & architectural drawing, photography, executive secretary, head accountant, computer and general accountant.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Rejecting “Violence Against Women”


As part of the Women Political Empowerment (WPE) project that is funded by the Canada Fund, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training in collaboration with the Canada Fund organized a seminar entitled “Violence Against Women” delivered by the lawyer and social activist Ms. Manar Zayter at LOST-Baalbeck center on the 24th of September 2011 in the presence of more than 60 women.

Ms. Zayter identified “violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Ms Zayter highlighted several legal issues that perpetuate “Violence against Women” in the Lebanese Law. She considered that women's role is acknowledged only in texts; however, in practice women are confined to their biological classical functions. She added that the Lebanese laws threaten women with divorce, homelessness and polygamy. Women are also subjected to the prevention from compensation, children's custody and from inheritance. The laws also encompass different degrees of domestic violence against women. Violence in Lebanon remains without any legal protection and expose women to disgrace in case of disclosure or talk. Such laws still confirm the accessory role of women and allow various forms of moral and physical violence against them. Such unfair discrimination against women clearly appears in the law of divorce and the impacts resulting from it. The consequences of divorce, separation or dissolution of marriage comprise many aspects of injustice towards women. There isn't any measure set forth in such laws to prevent family violence.

Ms. Zayter emphasized that such violations of women’s rights are also clearly shown in the Lebanese Penal Law. She talked about what is called "Crimes of Honor" which demonstrate great discrimination against women. She affirmed that the Lebanese Penal Law still preserves the principle of killing women by family men members and that domestic violence is a major type of violence practiced against women.

“Dignity is indivisible between men and women. And rights are not privileges given to women but they are part of their dignity. So the violence against women is not acceptable under any religious, social or cultural pretext.” Ms. Manar Zayter concluded.

The seminar was followed by a long and interesting debate and finally all participants were invited to a cocktail at Baytna Restaurant in Baalbeck.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Celebrating Success in LOST’s 10th Annual Iftar


The Lebanese  Organization  of  Studies  and  Training  (LOST) organized its  10th annual Iftar in Baalbeck  on  August 15th , 2010 in the presence of H.E. Ali Abdullah, Minister of Youth and Sports to celebrate its 12th anniversary. Several religious, military and social figures attended the ceremony which counted an audience of over 450 persons. Distribution of certificates was held during the event. Fifteen certificates were issued to trainees who have attended an Educational Counseling Course, in addition to certificates distributed to 70 students who have completed successfully 100 hours of TOEFL exam preparation course.
“Educational Counseling was something far from reach and LOST made it reachable. There was no chance in our deprived region to even know that such course exists; however, LOST made it available. I was just a teacher, now I feel I can be a counselor and an educator” said Alaa a teacher from Chmostar.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Academy of Active Citizens

 The Academy of Youth is preparing youth to be more engaged in civic affairs. After a series of interactive workshops on citizenship, civic participation and conflict resolution for around three months, youth became more aware of their role and duties in society. They became more involved in community affairs. In fact, they decided to respond to the call of the Ministry of Culture to clean the inside of the ruins of Ballbeck. On Saturday the 23rd of July more than 160 youth participated in the cleaning campaign for more than four hours of hard work. The campaign by itself was a practical call to draw the attention of local authorities to do its work more than an event to clean the temples of Baalbeck. This is the right based approach that youth have learned in the Academy.
The engagement of youth in community issues was reflected  by drawing murals with different messages visualizing their calls  to draw attention to issues  they found relevant in their communities. In Hermel, youth preferred to send a clear message for people to take care of their environment, in Baalbeck, youth decided to draw different road signs signaling a special care to road safety since they believed that many citizens of their ages are victims of car accidents and damages.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meaningful movies at LOST

The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training organizes weekly meaningful movies for children in Arabic and English languages in its 4 branches.
This activity organized by LOST is targeting groups of less fortunate children in Baalbeck- Hermel.More than 30 kids are attending these movies every week. Such activities give kids the opportunity to learn English through enjoyable modes. These kids miss every entertaining activity in a region which lacks recreational facilities. The movies bring them more than happiness.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Conflict Resolution for teachers in Baalbeck

LOST is organizing a conflict resolution training course in Baalbeck. This new course aims at training teachers on how they can resolve the various types of conflicts that usually occur between students and teachers or between students’ parents and the teaching staff in any school.
In the first course offered this spring more than 20 teachers from different schools in Baalbeck- Hermel participated. Such course included training on the following topics: the roots of conflict, the different skills of conflict resolution such as dialogue, negotiation, mediation and adjudication.
“It was a chance provided by LOST to help us solving the problems that we face in teaching.” Was a statement repeated by all trainees.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Cleaning campaign in the ruins of Baalbeck

The Academies of Youth in Baalbeck, Ein, Chmostar and Hermel (LOST) in collaboration with the Directorate of Antiquities and the Lebanese Army launched a cleaning campaign in the Ruins of Baalbeck on Saturday July 23rd. More than 160 students from various high schools of Baalbeck- Hermel participated in this campaign. Ali Meqdad, a youth club member confirmed that “this campaign is a remarkable activity that teaches youth how to be more connected to their heritage and culture.”
Dr. Ramy Lakkis, the founder of LOST explained that the campaign is one practical activity of the Academy of Youth that LOST is conducting for summer 2011 in cooperation with Action Aid- Denmark. Dr. Lakkis added that such Academy aims at building the capacity of youth men and women and helping them to participate effectively in the development of their local communities.
The Academy of Youth 2011 project consists of two main components. The first one is made up of numerous workshops on citizenship, civic participation and conflict resolution. The second part includes theater training and several civic activities.
 “It was a day of special taste. It was a chance provided by LOST to serve our community and protect the famous archeological sites in our region” said Zeinab Ismail from the Academy of Youth.