The Faith of Municipalities in the Hands of the Youth

SONY DSC

When we decided to write our project, we had one vision: the youth participating in the foundation of this country. Our work began with selecting 30 youth to participate and benefit from the Alumni In Municipalities project; a project dedicated to building and enhancing the municipal capacities and soft skills of the participants.

SONY DSC

With the kick-off of our project, the enthusiastic participants committed to the workshop showing dedication, hope and extreme professionalism.

The first  workshop of the project consisted of a 2 day training focused on Municipal Law & Community Development held at the Zouk Mikael Municipality.
The participants showed a high level of interest in the topic, as trainer Jean Hanna, dedicated the sessions to provide the alumni with the most important tools and information they might need.

“The Alumni In Municipalities project focuses on the details in municipal work to build a prosperous community.” AIM participant – Marianne El Haibe 

SONY DSC

The second workshop, Media & Journalism, given by George Eid, deputy Editor in Chief, and Senior Correspondent at MTV News, focused on the laws of electoral campaigning during the first training day at the Balamand University, Koura – North of Lebanon.

As for the second day of the training, which was held at the Press Club in Beirut, Mr. Eid focused on the importance of personal branding, focusing on Social Media and the necessity of keeping proper active accounts using the most efficient tools. The training was concluded with a role play on electoral debating, during which the participants showed a high level of professionalism and dedication applying the taught information.

Richart Khalil: “I aim to create the “neighborhood initiative” where every citizen will get the tools to assess its neighborhood, develop solutions and implement initiatives that enhance the city’s quality of life.” AIM Participant

SONY DSC

Reina Wehbe – AIM Participant: “My aim is to achieve a community where the basic needs and rights are in the hands of every person regardless of their financial status or religion.”

The final workshop from the first phase of the project consisted of a 2-day training on Negotiation Skills and Public Speaking given by trainer Ramzi Hage. The participants learned the essential tools needed for public speaking through several practices where they had to convince their peers to elect them. The enthusiasm and commitment of the participants was portrayed in their dedication and professionalism as they role played a debate integrating and adopting the negotiation skills learned.

SONY DSC

Nadine Khoury – AIM Participant: “I believe in increasing the awareness of the Lebanese Youth on the importance of Women’s role in municipalities is the key for a balanced community.” 

Providing the participants with the correct material and the proper municipal work tools, the Middle East Partnership Initiative Lebanon Alumni Association is helping and encouraging the youth to participate and engage in municipalities in the hopes of leaving the future of our communities to them, giving them the knowledge and expertise to become active members in their municipalities.

MEPI LAA Launches “AIM Project” to Increase The Knowhow in Municipal Work

On Saturday July 25, 2015, the Middle East Partnership Initiative Lebanon Alumni Association launched its “Alumni In Municipalities” (AIM) project at the Youth and Culture Center of Zouk Mikhael Municipality, with the first workshop on “Municipal Law and Community Development”.

SONY DSC

Thirty committed participants coming from accross Lebanon  participated in the workshop  with the aims to increase their soft skills in municipal work,  get the best of the training  knowledge and skills, with a hope to apply the acquired knowledge  within their  communities.

The devoted participants Ibrahim Masri, Iman Traboulsi, Pascale fare, Mariane El Haibe, Nadine Khoury, Raymond Abou Jaoude, Delara Maroun, Nancy Akly, Jennifer Al Sayah, Rouba El Rafii, Rym Mroue, Jimmy Matar, Francesca El Asmar, Joseph Abou Jaoude, Sally Dankar, Antony Abi Awad, Ranya Younes, Farah Barakat, Vanessa Matta, Khayriyeh Al Assaad, Richart Khalil and Mira Fayad joined the project to begin their journey with municipalities.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

The project aims to increase the know-how in municipal work at the university youth level covering the topic in a practical manner as opposed to theoretical by giving them the proper tools to implement and achieve positive change in their communities through municipalities. It also aims to promote cooperation between local NGOs in a hope to advocate for the good governance at municipal level.

SONY DSC

Who’s Who In MEPI LAA: Founding Member: Nada Ghanem Tarraf

Nada Tarraf

Holder of a Masters Degree in PSPA from St. Joseph University (USJ) Lebanon, with an emphasis in International Relations; Nada started her career at LBCI while still a university student. She then moved to joining the sales and design team of an events and exhibition organizing company while in parallel working as a freelance journalist and writer for several years at a Panarab magazine specialized in Art and Decoration.

Few years later, she joined Impact BBDO before contributing within the agency to the establishment of the agency’s PR arm, Impact Porter Novelli, where she occupied the position of PR manager and event designer, handling a growing portfolio of clients locally and regionally.

Today, Nada is the Current Managing Director and Senior Producer of Darkside Film & TV production, a co-owned full-fledge production house specialized in content development of independent and on-command documentaries, feature films, TV programs, corporate and institutional films, but also servicing production requirements for local, regional, international broadcasters and filmmakers.

“Films are unlikely to revolutionize a society over night, but they will leave a footprint and a resonating echo of our actions for all generations to come”.

 NT 2012

Under her management, the company developed and implemented long term communication strategies and produced several films on key socio-political issues but also investigative, cultural and scientific programs and documentaries series. She has also produced international and regional “award-winning” independent films contributing to the promotion of Arab filmmakers on the global scene.

Besides her career, her personal and professional engagement in community service concertized in several volunteering positions she has occupied throughout the years, such as member of the Communication Committee at the Children’s Cancer Center in Lebanon and current Member of CCCL’s Board of Trustees, where she contributed to launching awareness and fundraising campaigns during the center’s inception phase in Lebanon. A mission dear to her heart til this day, and keeps on serving through the production of institutional films, TV spots or short documentaries and consultancy services occasionally.

The causes related to children and women, the primary victims in times of conflict and turmoil, are the ones she cherishes and defends the most.

“Someone once said “When you live for a strong purpose …hard work is no longer an option, it becomes a necessity”, you might call it social responsibility, I simply call it humanity”

NT 2007

Working closely with key decision makers and opinion leaders in the civic community, Nada Tarraf found her way in supporting several associations directly by becoming co-founder of The Lebanese League for Women in Business in 2006 – whose mission is the empowerment of the female workforce in Lebanon-, or co-founding member of MEPI-LAA, the Middle East Partnership Initiative Alumni in Lebanon, or indirectly by creating and developing media content for NGOs such as UNRWA, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, UNDP, Amnesty International and many others in their respective fights against what she calls “social abnormalities”: Children labor, Death Penalty, Illiteracy, Poverty, The dramatic situation of Refugees, Corruption… to name a few.

She also co-founded with her husband the HOGs Lebanon Chapter (Harley Owners Group) and helped establishing the Harley-Davidson dealership in Lebanon, reopening the dealership for the Lebanese market, in which she partnered, in 2010.

“In countries and places where the situation is constantly disruptive and dramatic, the right attitude is to demonstrate that we can and we shall rebuild our house with the same bricks falling on our heads”.

Who’s Who in MEPI LAA – Community Ambassador Diala El Masri

  “The outlook we have on life is very important and it shapes how we deal with situations and how we progress. So let’s shape that as wisely as we can.”unnamed (2)

Laureate of the Harvard World Model United Nations 2013 Diplomacy Award (Melbourne, Australia), she was the Under Secretary General for School Relations and Outreach in the UNA-USA GC LAU Model United Nations, 2012-2013. Since then she has been a dynamic agent of change, leads by example and pays forward her knowledge and skills and trains her peers with Mercy Corps and Aie Serve on Leadership skills, communication, design thinking to name a few.

Diala has been involved in social development and civic engagement through her participation with multiple NGOs and conferences such as MEPI Alumni Professional Development Conference (Istanbul, Turkey), Fulbright Enrichment Seminar on Civic Engagement and the Arts (Rhode Island, USA), Northeastern Universities Development Consortium Conference- Boston University (2014), Harvard Project Presentation Training Skills (Boston, USA)

“I am a true believer that if you want to have an impact on something that interests you in this world, you have to start with yourself and move steadily from there.”

unnamed (1)

She volunteers with the World Youth Alliance as an advocate for human dignity. She believes in institutional engineering and the rule of Law as a tool to safeguard diversities and minorities rights in societies.

She has recently been awarded the prestigious Fulbright scholarship and just finished her MS in Policy Economics at Williams College, Massachusetts. She has also been selected to return as a teaching and research assistant and will be returning to the US next fall.

unnamed

“It’s always about the people that surround you, so invest in them.”

Who’s Who In MEPI LAA – Khaled Kabbara

IMG_3862

Since 2007, MEPI LAA member Khaled Kabbara has been heavily involved in civic activities in Tripoli and across Lebanon, having worked with, organized and participated in many NGO workshops, lectures and programs concerned with spreading awareness, encouraging a culture of understanding, ensuring the rule of law, enriching a sense of citizenship among the people and students of Lebanon.

IMG_3864

His professional experiences include working with Academic institutions (Lebanese American University) on projects related to youth Leadership and capacity building, Public sector institutions (Institut des Finances Basil Fuleihan – Ministry of Finance) on a joint government initiative between the Lebanese Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, aiming at enhancing economic and financial education, in addition to working with civil society organizations and research centers (Center for Middle eastern Strategic Studies).

IMG_3863

“You are your only obstacle, all else are just excuses”

IMG_3859

Concurrently, Khaled was a founding member and the director of external relations in a local youth lead initiative in Tripoli, Lebanon (Tripoli Youth Forum) aiming at enhancing the sense of citizenship and engagement amongst the youth; and was selected in 2010 to represent West Asia and the Arab world by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) in New York as the Under-Secretary general for General Assembly Affairs and Conference Management for the Global Model UN conference that was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in addition to chairing the communications committee as part of UN DPI’s executive team for the same conference that was held in Incheon, South Korea in 2011; in addition to being appointed as a Faculty Advisor for LAU’s Harvard World Model United Nations conferences held in Singapore, Australia, Canada and Brussels; Khaled was involved in LAU’s Model United Nations for the past seven years as a trainer and was appointed as the Secretary General  for the first Model Arab League program back in 2012.

IMG_3858

“Look upon obstacles as challenges, and not as limitations” 

IMG_3861

Khaled currently works with UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency as an External Relations Associate, covering Public Information, External Relations and Mass Information in North Lebanon.


IMG_3860