Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Initiatives of Civil Peace" in Baalbeck: a persistent endeavor to promote a culture of peace in the region

As a direct and timely response to the volatile security situation in the region manifested in the vertical divide among the Lebanese community and for the first time in Baalbeck, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training  (LOST) and GIZ organized a conference on initiatives on peace building in Baalbeck. 
The conference that was held on November 1st 2013, brought together more than 150 people representing diverse stakeholders including: local NGO leaders and members, mayors and municipality members, university and school principals and teachers, religious and social key figures, mukhtars in addition to INGOs and foreign donors delegates (EU, UNHCR, UNPD, GiZ, ZFD, MSF, DRC, the British Embassy, International Alert, SFCG...).
The conference provided an independent platform for local and international actors in civil peace to explore potential activities that foster a real and constructive dialogue and promote a culture of peace in the Baalbeck-Hermel region.
Following literature review about peace building objectives, tools, and challenges, Dr. Ramy Lakkis highlighted LOST's vision about peace building in the region stressing that "It is not only a value but also a need, a responsibility, and an interest." Local researchers also presented the role of NGOs, schools, municipalities, and INGOs in building civil peace. 
Participants were then divided into expert focus groups where they discussed their respective roles in building civil peace. They also explored potential coordination and identified joint efforts that can be exerted to promote civil peace. The focus groups resulted in a set of feasible, practical and contextually- customized recommendations.

These recommendations will be documented in a booklet that lays ground for a three-year action plan led by LOST. They will be also shared with conference participants and other civil peace actors that LOST has previously located.

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