AiW Launches Annual Human Rights Regional Training

The two-phase seminar will invite women activists from around the Arab World to promote a feminist human rights discourse.

By Raissa Batakji

For the the inaugural 2021 edition of the training, AiW has decided to honor the late Lebanese attorney and women’s rights advocate Laure Moghaizel (L).

In partnership with the Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR), LAU’s Arab Institute for Women (AiW) has launched an annual human rights training for Arab women. The project aims to support the work of female activists, students, human rights advocates, bloggers, lawyers, and media professionals through capacity building. This year, the training will be funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Through its two phases, which will be given in Arabic by local and regional experts in human rights, the training is designed to help participants cast a gender lens on the work they do, use gender-sensitive tools especially when responding to crises, and learn to be inclusive of underserved and marginalized groups, according to AiW Director Myriam Sfeir.

“Ultimately,” she added, “participants will be able to use this knowledge and propagate it within their own organizations and communities, hopefully leaving a longer lasting and wider impact.”

The first phase will deliver a general overview of human rights principles and international treaties, touching on the status of women, girls, and marginalized groups who face violence and hardships.

The second phase will be more specialized, zooming in on timely topics such as gender justice, the women, peace and security agenda, as well as gender-based violence especially during armed conflicts, crises and pandemics. Overall, the training will feature specific case studies from Lebanon, such as the civic response to the August 4 explosion at the port of Beirut.

“Applications have come pouring in from all over the Arab World,” declared Sfeir, though the project’s funding dictates that the majority of trainees be from Lebanon. She explained that the institute will review the 390 applications and select 80 to 120 women to receive the first phase of the training, while 25 of them will advance to phase two, based on their level of engagement, commitment and participation.

The initiative will be named after a trailblazing Arab female activist every year. For the its inaugural 2021 edition, AiW has decided to honor the late Lebanese attorney and women’s rights advocate Laure Moghaizel.

Sfeir expressed her delight in naming this year’s workshop after Moghaizel – “a remarkable woman, and a friend of the institute, whose career in law paved the way for historic policy changes for women in Lebanon.”

The opening ceremony for the training will be held virtually on Saturday, February 28, and will feature opening remarks by LAU President Michel E. Mawad, Canadian Ambassador Chantal Chastenay, AIHR President Abdelbasset Ben Hassen, Dr. Nada Moghaizel, honorary dean of the faculty of education and professor at Université Saint Joseph, Dr. Antoine Messarra, founder of the Lebanese Foundation for Permanent Civil Peace (LFPCP), as well as Vice Chair of the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (UN-CEDAW) Nahla Haidar.