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Youth Work in Lebanon and Cultural Identities: “Diversity of Communities: Richness or?”

A one week study visit is ongoing in Lebanon

The study visit in Lebanon is fast approaching its completion. Given the enormity of the complexities of the Lebanese social stratification and the sectarian plurality of the country the study visit has thoroughly encapsulated in a rather short period of time a quite diverse sample of NGOs, organizations and agencies ranging from institutional efforts to secular grassroots initiatives of confessional and secular character at international or local level.

So far the multinational group of 24 participants comprised by 14 different nationalities has visited the AGBU-AYA (Armenian Youth Association) in Antelias, where they have been introduced to the various cultural and youth programmes and also witnessed some of the activities that take place in the impressive premises of the AYA. The visit in AGBU-AYA concluded with a warm buffet dinner reception at the terrace of the Association.

The following day the group visited the flagship campus of Notre Dame University in Louiazeh, where they have been introduced to the activities and scope of the Human Rights Club, an organisation that works on dialogue, which is supported and supervised by university lecturers and a multi-confessional group of students who do not necessarily attend the particular university. During the same day the group also visited the spectacular Jeitta Grotto which was elected in the top 10 of the Natural Wonders the World. The day concluded, after a small visit to the sights of Batroun, with the humbling experience of visiting families in need supported by the St Vincent De Paul organisation on medical, social and educational level. The day ended with a lovely dinner of homemade delicacies at a care taking hospice for the elderly also run and supported by St Vincent De Paul.

On the 25th of June the group travelled to South Lebanon and visited the facilities Al Sadr foundation in Tyr, where also a rather long Questions & Answers session took place with the administrative personnel. At the same time the group was also introduced to the general activities and methodologies of the international NGO "Right To Play" which operates in Lebanon through more than a hundred local partners. Later on the day the group visited the Al Hanan Association, a local NGO, that works with children with special needs from Lebanese as well as Palestinian local communities. At the Al Hanan Association the group was welcomed by a small musical performance by the children and observed some of the methodologies of "Right To Play" in practice. The visit in South Lebanon concluded at the remote village of Jbal El Botom as the group attended the buffet dinner hosted by the General Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Zeid Khiami, who shared with the participants some very insightful views on the issues of diversity and youth work in Lebanon.

The group’s visit to UNESCO Beirut is pending where they will also attend an NGO fair that more than 30 Lebanese NGOs related to youth work will participate and all the participants will have the chance for networking and expand their outlook on the organisations that operate on the challenging field of youth work in the country.

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Euro-Med Youth Programme

This programme is funded by the European Union