On March 2nd, 2013, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training held a press conference at its headquarters in Baalbeck to announce the establishment of the “Peace Building Unit”supported by GIZ. The press conference, covered by all national media, brought together key public figures from Baalbeck-Hermel region to launch this unit. Omar Yasin the governor, Sheikh Bakr Rifai the Mufti, Baalbeck bishop Elias Rahhal, representatives of the general secretary of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the National Security, representatives of tribal reconciliation groups, NGOs, the local and national media, and mucktars attended the press conference.
The overall aim of this unit is to put the sectarian conflict issue on the local agenda, create an independent and constructive dialogue among diverse stakeholders, and promote for a culture of peace in the Baalbeck-Hermel region.
Dr. Ramy Lakkis, the founder of LOST, delivered a speech explaining the objectives and processes of tackling the issue of peace building at this critical moment; he asserted that it was the decision of all peoples to go to war, thus it should be the task of all peoples to resort to peace. Lakkis also explained LOST’s interest in this issue as a timely response to the dire consequences of war on development
He also introduced some comprehensive mechanisms to be utilized in the approach; academic in-depth research, social interaction, and partnership with various stakeholders especially governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations are the key mechanisms to be adopted by LOST in its pursuit of a peaceful community.
Mr. Omar Yasin, the governor of Baalbeck, stressed the civil society role embodied in the efforts LOST is exerting in building peace. He also valued their timely response to the conflict issue given all the threats encountering the region currently and acknowledged their well-structured comprehensive action plan.