Every semester, the AUB MEPI-TLS team organizes and hosts several events that students are expected to attend. These events range from workshops about gender and activism, to lecture series about women in the workforce and informational sessions during which the team briefs students on upcoming requirements.
Spring 2021-2022 Events:
On Campus Series:
1) Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: a Comparative Discussion– Tuesday 1 March at 05:00PM (Beirut Time)
This workshop will provide a comprehensive framework on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in Lebanon, the region, and beyond. It will consist of a comparative conversational exchange between feminist activists from Marsa Sexual Health Center in Beirut and Geneva Centre for Reproductive Rights. Both feminist activists, Sara Abou Zaki from Marsa and Paola Salwan from Geneva Centre for Reproductive Rights, will expand on the politics of bodily rights and integrity and dissect strategies adopted in different contexts to address these issues. This workshop aims for students to gain a better understanding of key topics related to sexual and reproductive health rights both in restrictive contexts and internationally as well as to develop an advocacy framework and strategy to address these issues at a local, regional and global level.
2) Trans Activism– Tuesday 5 Apri at 05:00PM (Beirut Time)
This workshop will feature two local trans activists from Qorras, to share their advocacy strategies and provide a comprehensive overview of the history of trans activism in Lebanon based on personal experience. Zakkaria and Hashem Hashem will focus on personal and legal challenges by discussing the key shifts in trans activism disproportionately affected by the economic downfall and the impact of the Beirut August 4th explosion over the past years. This workshops aims to raise awareness on the structural challenges facing individuals in the transgender and broader LGBTQ+ community; to share best practices for engaging students and strengthening Lebanese trans networks; and to provide the students with the tools and knowledge to move forward at an individual level-intervention.
1) Global Feminist Advocacy: Spaces, Actors, and Stakeholders– Tuesday 24 February at 06:00PM (Beirut Time)
Global feminist advocacy spaces such as international processes and negotiations can be quite complex and difficult to understand for youth from around the world.Houry Geudelekian, chair of the NGO Commission on the Status of Women (NGO CSW/NY), will unpack how local and global feminist activists can connect, collaborate, and mobilize across the globe, advancing lessons for world peace and security. In doing so, Houry will give an overview of the different spaces claimed by feminist activists to advocate for change reflecting on the challenges and pushback that they continue to face. This workshop's objective is to widen students' knowledge on global feminist advocacy and help them gain confidence to participate in efforts that promote stability and lasting peace from a local individual perspective to a global scale. By providing a comprehensive outline of how feminist advocacy happens at a global level and by supporting students in understanding international policy-making, this workshop aims to motivate students to push for systemic change throughout policy spaces related to women's rights and gender equality.
2) Feminist Post-Covid Recovery– Tuesday 22 March at 06:00PM (Beirut Time)
This workshop will cover the implications of a post-Covid feminist recovery as feminist networks continue to find solutions at the intersection of multiple forms of crisis. Hadeel Qazzaz, from Global Feminist Just Recovery's team, who has been at the forefront of discussions on the inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, will unpack the innovative feminist responses that emerged such as a “feminist bail-out" and the de-growth movement, challenging students to focus their gaze on women's action, agency, and lived realities. In doing so, she will be providing students with the knowledge to widen their solution-based perspectives when it comes to responding to crises at an individual level illuminating a feminist vision for peace and security. A key aspect of this workshop is to highlight the importance of unpaid and poorly paid care work by reflecting on what a feminist recovery plan that values care and social reproduction work might look like. Students will connectively reflect on what they can learn from grassroots activism and reimagine a recovery plan for Covid-19 and beyond.
Fall 2021-2022 Events:
On Campus Series:
1) Syrian refugee women, conflict, and displacement with Roula Baghdadi– Wednesday 06 October at 06:00PM (Beirut Time)
This workshop will featured a Syrian feminist activist from Lebanon, Roula Baghdadi. Roula is the ED of Syrian NGO Dawlaty, based in Lebanon, Turkey and Syria. She will walk the students through the journey of women refugees from Syria and will explore and unpack the ways in which gender-based discrimination before the Syrian conflict has exacerbated the vulnerability of women, girls and queer refugees from Syria during the conflict and how this has shaped their experience of displacement. Roula will provide testimonials from refugees who are survivors of various forms of state as well as community violence and will highlight the cases of former women detainees, the trafficking in women and girls as well as the experiences of queer folks. She will conclude her sessions with examples of various mobilizations that seek to empower women, girls and queer refugees and amplify their voices.
2) Care work, migrant women domestic workers with Salma Sakr and Imane Hayek – Monday 11 October at 04:00PM (Beirut Time)
Two feminist activists from the Anti-Racist Movement in Lebanon will discuss the multiple layers of oppression targeting migrant women domestic workers. They will discuss the impact of the infamous "Kafala" system which keeps women in a bonded situation with their employers and the ways in which this system is conducive to human rights abuses, including economic, physical, and sexual violence. The speakers will also address the connection between care work as unrecognized, invisible, and poorly valued labor and how this further undermines the situation and position of migrant women workers in Lebanon. Furthermore, the talk will explore how migrant women workers were disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the ways in which migrant women domestic workers organized for change.
3) Gender based violence with Leila Awada - Thursday 22 October at 06:00PM (Beirut Time)
Feminist Lawyer and activist, Leila Awada, will provide an in-depth analysis of the ways in which discriminatory laws and patriarchal institutions encourage all forms of institutional and individual gender-based violence. Leila will trace the ways in which systematic feminist activism over the past two decades has resulted in shifting mindsets on gender-based violence thus making this a political and policy issue. She will discuss how this has also materialised into a law and the ways in which the law was implemented and what remains to be done. Finally, Awada will explore the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated violence against women and what steps were taken by feminist organisations to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
4) Period poverty with Vanessa Zammar, Rouba Kiprianos and Assil Khalife - Tuesday 26 October 06:00PM (Beirut Time)
Based on a number of testimonials by women from all walks of life, the team of Jeyetna, a new group of young feminist activists working on period poverty, will discuss what period poverty means in terms of access to products, safe space, knowledge, and other needs. They will discuss the intimate link between period poverty and the myth of virginity, bodily agency and women's choices. The group will share their recent experience of touring Lebanon and meeting with women and girls across the country and the feedback they have received as well as startegies for addressing the increasing plight of period poverty.
5) Queer Artivism with Dayna Ash - Monday 01 November at 05:00PM (Beirut Time)
Feminist queer activist and multiple global awardee Dayna Ash, the founder of Haven for Artists, will discuss with the students the various forms of queer mobilisation in the MENA region. She will explore the ways in which queer activists have expressed themselves and their aspirations for change through various forms of artistic expressions. Dayna will hover through the various countries in the region and will spotlight various forms of queer artivism and their transformative impact. She will zoom in on Lebanon and on the role of queer activists during the revolution, the pandemic and after the explosion of August 4th 2020.
6) Gender inclusive language with Tarek Zeidan - Thursday November 11th at 6:00PM (Beirut Time)
This virtual workshop will address the critical issue of inclusive non-binary language. Tarek Zeidan, an expert in his field, will take the students through the ways in which language can be consciously or unconsciously exclusive, discriminatory, and oppressive. Working with both English and Arabic, Tarek will provide the students with conceptual and technical tools for ensuring that the written and said words are gender inclusive.
- Writing Informational Session - Friday, September 24 at 5PM (Beirut Time)
The informational session will introduce the students to the writing and gender activity components of the program, in addition to the services provided to them. The AUB MEPI-TLS Team will elaborate on the acceptable gender activities, paper requirements, and the revision process.
- Orientation Session - Monday, August 30 at 05:00 PM (Beirut Time)
The orientation session acquainted the Fall 2021 cohort with the MEPI-TLS team, in addition to the requirements the students are expected to meet during their participation in the program.
Spring 2020-2021 Events:
1) Gender and Migration: The case of migrant women domestic workers in Lebanon with Farah Salka — Monday, March 22 at 7:00PM (Beirut Time)
As the founder and executive director of The Anti-Racism Movement in Lebanon, Farah Salka has witnessed the plight of Migrant Women Domestic Workers in Lebanon. In this workshop, Farah provided an overview of the context and multiple layers of oppression that shape the lived experiences of MWDW in Lebanon. She dissected and analyzed the ways in which social institutions, legal frameworks, gendered and racist laws, mindsets and practices all combine to keep MWDW in a web of complex and intertwined forms of oppression.
2) Women in Financial Journalism: Under-reported Opportunities and Challenges with Joumanna Nasr Bercetche — Monday, March 29 at 6:15PM (Beirut Time)
Based in London, Joumanna Bercetche is anchor of the European edition of CNBC’s Street Signs. She spends much of her time reporting live on company earnings and interviewing both CFOs and CEOs from across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She also reports live on key decisions taken by financial institutions across the world, such as the European Central Bank’s and Bank of England’s monetary policy decisions. In this workshop, Joumanna reflected on her personal experience, successes, and challenges in the field. She described her journey as a TV anchor, reporting on finance and economic news at CNBC and the challenges that she faces in covering market-moving events in a male-dominated industry.
3) Queer Activism in the Lebanon and the MENA region with Khawla Bouaziz and Tarek Zeidan — Tuesday, March 30 at 7PM (Beirut Time)
Queer and feminist activists Khawla Bouaziz and Tarek Zeidan provided an overview of the history of queer activism in the Arab region and Lebanon. In doing so, they unpacked the different and complex dynamics at play and which often serve to silence the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI communities in Lebanon and MENA. They also looked at the different forms of queer activism and the ways in which these have resulted in shifting mindsets and in bringing about recognition and visibility to the community. Khawla and Tarek additionally zoomed in on the ways in which the LGBTQI has been disproportionately affected by the economic downfall as well as the impact of the Beirut August 4th explosion.
4) Gendering Mental Illness Through the History of 'Asfuriyyeh with Dr. Joelle Abi-Rached — Friday, April 16 at 6:00PM (Beirut Time)
In this workshop, which draws on a chapter of her book ‘Asfuriyyeh: A History of Madness, Modernity and War in the Middle East (MIT Press, 2020), Abi-Rached, an associate researcher at Sciences Po who was trained as a medical doctor, uses various archival material related to ‘Asfuriyyeh (one of the first modern psychiatric hospitals in the Middle East founded in the late nineteenth century in the Ottoman mutasarrifiyya of Mount Lebanon) to explore mutations in the topography of mental illness in the region and more specifically its gendered nature. Based on an analysis of the statistical material and patient records, she examines the patient population at ‘Asfuriyyeh from the early twentieth century until the Lebanese civil war that ignited in 1975. She analyzes comparatively to other contexts trends in the shifting diagnosis and rationalization of mental illness and their relation vis-à-vis various socio-political and economic changes in the region. The talk will also analyze the case of May Ziyade, a famous poet, writer, and feminist who was hospitalized at ‘Asfuriyyeh in the 1930s and show how her hospitalization illustrates the way in which “females maladies” have been constructed and how the history of madness remains an object of fascination prone to various interpretations and mythologies.
1) The other world of Science: Women Crossing The University Wall with Dr. Samira Kaissi — Wednesday, March 24 at 5:00PM (Beirut Time)
Dr. Kaissi used her PhD in Molecular Biology as a passport on an unconventional career journey that started with a postdoc at UCLA, through management in multinational companies such as Beckman Coulter and Becton Dickenson, and ended in taking on the CEO position of multiple medical device startups. In this lecture, she charted her journey from California to Beirut to Ireland and also gave her unique insight into how she sees women faring in the many opportunities outside academia.
2) From Lebanon to Mars: My Journey in Science with Maya Nasr — Friday, April 9 at 6:00PM (Beirut Time)
In this lecture, Maya Nasr — a PhD student in the Aerospace Engineering department at MIT — will explore her recent involvement in the Mars 2020 mission Perseverance rover: the largest, heaviest and most sophisticated NASA rover. Perseverance builds on all the knowledge of the past rovers from Sojourner to Curiosity, taking the next step of discovering the key astrobiology question of signs that life once existed on Mars. After landing on Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, Perseverance will study signs of past microbial life, collect data about Mars’s climate and geology, and will pave the way for future human exploration on Mars. Maya will additionally discuss her journey and the obstacles she has faced as a woman working with NASA specifically, and in STEM generally.
The informational session introduced the students to the team assisting them with the program’s writing component, in addition to the services provided to them. The AUB MEPI-TLS Writing Team also elaborated on the white paper requirements, acceptable genres, revision process and possible publication venues.
The orientation session acquainted the Spring 2021 cohort with the MEPI-TLS team, in addition to the requirements the students are expected to meet during their participation in the program.
Fall 2020-2021 Events:
1) Gender dimensions of the economic crisis in Lebanon with Dr. Nisreen Salti, Associate Professor of Economics, AUB and Ms. Rachel Dore-Weeks, Head of UN Women Lebanon
Based on a recent study released by UN Women and co-authored by Dr. Nisreen Salti and Nadine Mezher, the workshop discussed the gendered dimensions and impact of the current economic crisis in Lebanon. Using the data and analysis presented in the study, the workshop explored how and why women are disproportionately affected by the economic crisis. As such, it shed light on the concept of feminization of poverty and what increases/affects women's vulnerability to poverty. The workshop also addressed policies that are likely to protect women in situations of economic crisis.
2) Women, Peace, and Security Agenda with Ms. Rachel Dore-Weeks, Head of UN Women, Lebanon
The workshop familiarized the students with the genesis and history of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda whilst highlighting its key landmarks, challenges, and achievements. It explored processes in Lebanon as well as globally and identified the different actors and stakeholders as well as best practices. The key learning outcomes for students were: to be able to describe the WPS agenda, understand its meaning and significance for women and the ways in which it has recognized the role of women in meaningful peacebuilding.
3) Gender in the Workplace with Ms. Abir Chebaro
The workshop explored and analyzed the gendered dimensions of what is commonly referred to as "the workplace" and in doing so, challenged the notion of the neutrality of the workplace. Using Lebanon as a case study, the workshop discussed the ways in which unequal relations of gender permeate and impact the workplace thus limiting access to work, decision making and agency. The workshop also highlighted strategies and best practices that have proven to be efficient in transforming and engendering the workplace especially at the levels of recruitment, retention and promotion.
1) Women Scientists and Entrepreneurs: An Insider’s Perspective with Dr. Martine Abboud
Women the world over have slowly but surely become more visible and recognised in sciences, a field traditionally male dominated. However, women in STEM have had to navigate various forms of challenges related to gendered stereotypes, gender pay gap as well as various forms of exclusion and harassment. From her vantage standpoint, accomplished scientist and AUB alumni, Dr. Martine Abboud, reflected on her journey as a scientist and entrepreneur and the ways in which she has contributed to transforming the playfield. Her lecture emphasized the importance of young women scientists breaking the mold and excelling in STEM careers, thus charting the path for generations to come.
2) Women, Science, and Entrepreneurship with Dr. Nataly Naser Al Deen
Women in STEM have played monumental roles in revolutionizing the scientific community, through breakthroughs and through paving the way for other aspiring female scientists, despite the historic and current inequitable chances and gaps. Dr. Naser Al Deen shared her ambitious journey that started when she was 15 years old, leading to four fully funded scholarships, numerous scientific and leadership awards, establishing her own NGO for cancer survivors as a social entrepreneur, and pursuing her dream career in cancer research. Through joining various educational institutions, both in the Arab world and in the U.S., she has enjoyed witnessing the majority of current graduate students being dominated by ambitious and hardworking female scientists, and looks forward to seeing this women's force translate into more leader scientific investigators, chairpersons, heads of departments and Nobel laureates.
The informational session introduced the students to the teams assisting them with the program’s writing component, in addition to the services provided to them. The AUB MEPI-TLS Writing Team addressed the different genres MEPI-TLS students’ white papers can take on, in addition to writing about gender and Dr. Amy Zenger, director of AUB's Writing Center, discussed how the center can assist the students in the writing process. Additionally, Outlook editors Caline Pechdimaljian and Aya Touma Sawaya, and Rusted Radishes online content editor Nur Turkmani familiarized students with the type of writing their respective publications encourage and expect.