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.”

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