Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recommendations of the “Initiatives of Peace Building in Baaalbeck-Hermel” Conference

A Brainstorming of a 3-year Action Plan:

Bringing together more than 150 people representing various local, national and international bodies who work in the peace building field, The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) organized a conference on “Initiatives on Peace Building in Baalbeck-Hermel”.

Participants in the conference were assigned 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 explained below.

Recommendations proposed by NGO leaders and members:

  • Encourage foreign donors and INGOs to implement and operate in the region through local NGOs and train them on conflict resolution and peace building skills
  • Encourage partnership between foreign donors and INGOs by implementing joint productivity-related projects that help Lebanese hosting communities
  • Setting up a union or a coalition that implements civil peace oriented programs in the region
  • Implementing cultural exchange activities bringing together youth from diverse backgrounds and engaging them in ongoing workshops on active citizenship and peace building
  • Establishing specialized centers that offers training on foundations, tools, and means of civil peace building, dialogue, and co-existence
  • Supporting agricultural NGOs and COOPs and providing farmers and peasants with the needed tools and means, and help them market their products in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Promoting confidence among diverse stakeholders and supporting peace-oriented initiatives
  • Designing women empowerment programs that aim at generating income
  • Engage women in peace through capacity building programs
 Recommendations proposed by Educational institutions:
  • Using schools as a platform to disseminate concepts of co-existence and peace rather than tension and fanaticism
  • Suggesting the inclusion  of the concepts of conflict resolution and tolerance in the strategy proposed by the Educational committee at the Lebanese Parliament
  • Training teachers and supervisors on resolving conflict by peaceful means
  • Utilizing holidays to merge students in active-citizenship related activities
  • Conducting lectures and workshops on conflict resolution, tolerance, and peace building in schools on regular basis
  • Substituting the old religiously-affiliated names of schools to names that foster patriotism
  • Allocating a weekly session for students on civil service
  • Training parent councils in schools on conflict resolution, tolerance, and peace Building
  • Activating recreational and educational activities across schools
  • Encouraging cooperation among schools and universities
  • Setting a unified and comprehensive plan to introduce citizen’s “Rights and Responsibilities” among students
  • Reinforcing the law that abides parents to the mandatory education of their children
  • Implementing regional mock tests and exams involving schools of diffent backgrounds and affiliations
  • Conducting educational trips and social exchange programs
  • Implementing peace building activities in schools (drawing exhibitions, music concerts, plays, races…)
  • Setting up a peace building committee whose members are delegates from schools, universities, vocational schools, and municipalities
Recommendations proposed by municipalities:
  • Establishing peace building committees or even supporting existing ones within the municipalities thus promoting for a culture of peace within the jurisdiction of these municipalities
  • Engaging the mayor, CSO delegates, religious people, and other key figures in committees that play a reconciliation and reform role abiding by the rule of law
  • Enhancing interaction and coordination between municipalities and CSOs through supporting peace building initiatives conducted by CSOs
  • Funding and conducting lectures and workshops on peace building
  • Conducting needs assessment and conflict analysis to identify the root causes of conflict, develop an inclusive vision, and propose realistic programs
  • Fostering networking among municipalities by conducting regular meetings and implement joint projects
  • Supporting and funding school programs that aim at peace building awareness
Recommendations proposed by religious institutions:
  • Amending the role of local reconciliation groups so that they complement and not contradict the rule of law
  • Organizing a conference of electoral and political reform
  • Coordinating with security forces on security issues
  • Organizing cross-sectarian and cross-regional visits
  • Conducting awareness campaigns over the dire consequences of civil war
  • Highlighting the positive role the media can play
  • Organizing cross-sectarian and cross-regional lectures and activities
  • Reviving common religious ceremonies
  • Setting up and publicizing a facebook page engaging religious figures of different backgrounds
  • Amending the civic education material in schools to be more tolerant and inclusive
It is worth noting that these recommendations will be documented in a booklet that lays ground for a three-year action plan led by LOST.

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