H.E. Tarja Fernández, Ambassador of Finland to Lebanon, during the launching event. Photo: UN Women/Lauren Rooney
H.E. Tarja Fernández, Ambassador of Finland to Lebanon, presenting her opening remarks during the launching event. Photo: UN Women/Lauren Rooney

Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday 26 May 2022- (UN Women, Centre Professionnel de Médiation (CPM), Government of Finland)- UN Women and Centre Professionnel de Médiation (CPM) at the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut, Lebanon today launched a manual for training women peacebuilders working on conflict prevention and management in Lebanon, developed with the generous support from the Government of the Finland and the Rebecca Dykes Foundation. The launch took place at the Social Sciences Campus of USJ in Beirut, gathering over 50 representatives of the international community in Lebanon, civil society, mediation and peace building networks, and academia.

The manual has been developed under the broader framework of Lebanon’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security as an input to local women’s mediation groups UN Women is supporting across Lebanon. These groups aim to identify and address community tensions. Finland supports the implementation of Lebanon National Action Plan 1325 and since 2020 the women peacebuilders capacity building and networks.

The manual, a tool for supporting the work of local women peacebuilders, is critical in enabling them to effectively undertake important work on conflict prevention and mitigation. Presented by Ms. Jocelyne Gerges Karam, senior trainer and mediator at CPM, it features a methodology for creating networks of local women mediators and strategies for supporting them. 

The manual includes seven modules – four modules on how to conduct trainings and three modules on how to implement community initiatives. The training is founded on the experiential learning approach, for it is believed that no skills or skillsets could be acquired or developed in such contexts if not integrated with personal experience and linked to daily life. Thus, trainees reflect on their experiences, learn, and take new actions based on experience, and this is done through a cycle of four stages: 1) Trainees are introduced to a topic or concept through comparison with previous experiences; 2) Based on experience and reflection, trainees explore new ideas about the topic or concept at hand; 3) Trainees work on the new concepts by applying them in a particular environment; 4) When new ideas are put into practice, they are at the centre of a new experiential learning cycle. 

Speaking on behalf of the UN in Lebanon the Resident Coordinator ad interim Abdallah Wardhat stated, ‘With everything happening in the country, it is easy to set aside issues of women’s rights and gender equality as trivial. But we cannot let ourselves fall into that trap. Evidence indicates that women peacebuilders are critical for shoring up peace and security. This is not because women are more peaceful than men, or more honest.’

Ambassador of Finland to Lebanon, Tarja Fernández stated that: “We are proud of the work of the partners in this project and the achievements of the Lebanese women peace mediators.”

Ms. Claudine Aoun, President of the National Commission For Lebanese Women said at the launch "We, men and women, have to work together to prevent any tension or dispute in our surroundings from turning into a conflict whose consequences will then be difficult to contain. We must use the synthesis of past experiences to resolve and prevent conflicts."

Speaking on behalf of the Director of the Professional Mediation Center (PMC) at Saint Joseph University, Ms. Johanna HAWARI BOURJELY, the Assistant Director of the Professional Mediation Center (PMC) at Saint Joseph University, Ms. Eliane Mansour, thanked UN Women, the Embassy of Finland in Lebanon and the Rebecca Dykes Foundation for supporting the development of the manual and the PMC trainers and mediators who, despite all challenges, gave their best and continue to work for the success of the project and the dissemination in the community of a culture of peace”.

Media Contact: 
Roula Rached, UN Women