Believing in the huge potential that the country and its residents have to offer, FES aims to support the emergence of new critical ideas. In close cooperation with partners, FES Lebanon tries to deconstruct current realities and power structures, while developing progressive alternatives to identified problems. Grassroots links, organizational support, policy drafting, and connections with like-minded decision makers all form a balanced approach to pushing for change.
These efforts are thrust into the public eye based on wide-reaching campaigns and projects which reflect the political positioning of the organization: an LGBTQ+ campaign in cooperation with pubs and restaurants; an internationally acclaimed feature film addressing the crisis; a 7,000 attendee Hippodrome concert; and a TV show acting as a platform for change during the building to parliamentary elections.
Given that young people constitute a major share of society, but suffer from high degrees of unemployment and are barely represented in the current system of decision making, FES views this as a major obstacle to achieving inclusive political participation.
With our Young leaders’ program (LEAP), we aim at empowering young people to formulate their own needs and ideas as well as equip them with the skills needed to play a part in Lebanon’s way ahead. A special focus is laid on women and marginalized groups, especially LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and refugees. We are proud to say that all our initiatives have gone by now through several generations and are contributing towards altering the status-quo.
The rule of law is inevitable to safeguard a peaceful and civil society in Lebanon. Yet there is a lack of reforms enabling citizens to take up their social and political human rights. In this respect, FES Lebanon has identified three areas that require increased attention.
First, classical human rights need to be anchored within the every-day routines of state institutions and lawyers must always monitor their implementation. Second, the rights of women are significantly retrenched contrary to what the constitution had granted. The current set-up of the sectarian personal status law is the most obvious indicator for that.
Lastly, Lebanon has not yet begun to come to terms with its past. Civil war deeds and resulting confessional conflicts have not been tackled on a nationwide level but rather just within stakeholders’ closed circles. This fact makes Lebanon prone to further polarization.