KIP Multidisciplinary Conference – Documentary

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About The KIP Project

Project Director: Dr. Charlotte Karam
Project Coordinator: Ms. Zeina Mhaidly
Communications Coordinator: Ms. Heather Jaber
Conference Coordinator: Ms. Aimee Ghanem
Olayan School of Business
+961-1-350-000 ext. 3764

Much research and data are being generated on gender and sexuality in Lebanon. General studies of the known current efforts reveals gaps and a lack of collaboration, communication, and dissemination of information between groups working in the field, including members from civil society, academia, private, public, and legal sectors. Much of the outstanding research is unheard of or hard to access. The Knowledge is Power (KIP) project has emerged in response to this imminent need and with a grant from the US Department of State is calling for all interested or working in the field to join efforts.

The absence of readily available data and the inaccessibility to research on issues related to the status of gender in the Lebanese society, women empowerment initiatives, and civil society projects has long stood as an obstacle to the development of civil society and research in this field. “We lack information and statistics about women that would help us better understand our needs, make informed decisions and come up with solutions accordingly, and that is why the KIP Project is needed”, said Joelle Abou Farhat Rizkallah, Co-founder and member of Women in Front (WIF). Building bridges between academia and civil society has been a highly welcome scenario as has been the seating of the private and public sectors on the same table to work in this field.

A project proposal was developed by Dr. Charlotte Karam, Associate Professor at the Olayan School of Business at AUB to (a) support the gathering, generation, and dissemination of information and data concerning gender and sexuality in Lebanon; and (b) foster knowledge-sharing concerning gender and sexuality in Lebanon by creating a platform for academia/civil society interactions and partnerships. This $332,200 project was funded through the Secretary’s Full Participation Fund. This award was cost shared by AUB in its provision of facilities such as rooms, computers, and administrative and other staff, estimated at $132,566, over a period of 2 years.

The Knowledge is Power project materialized in partnership with civil society organizations such as Women in Front (WIF) and the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE).

The five of six scheduled multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary, multi-sector private roundtables were held around gender and sexuality on education, health and well-being, economic empowerment and opportunity, politics, and  legal and civil rights and brought together members from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, university professors, activists and civil society members. In its first two months of operation, KIP also worked to support university-based initiatives in Lebanon: AUB’s recently launched Minor in Gender studies; AUB’s committee for recognizing women at AUB during the university’s 150 year anniversary celebration; and BCBCB network’s initiative to strengthen gender studies and curriculum development in the Middle East.

The project funded 15 White Paper Reports directly related to the questions and themes identified in the private roundtables, and organized a two-day interdisciplinary Conference on Gender and Sexuality on March 31st and April 1st, 2017, at AUB, where 200 academics, students, activists, journalists, researchers, and other stakeholders were invited to share their knowledge in the field.

“Recognizing that there are activists, researchers, NGOs, government offices, and a myriad of actors in civil society, private and public sector who are committed to exploring and engaging in initiatives that promote equity and empowerment around gender and sexuality, the KIP project is here to support and further bring these stakeholders to the same table to discuss, debate and to build cross-sector, cross-disciplinary bridges toward a better future”, said Dr. Charlotte Karam, now Director of the KIP project. “KIP is a tool to help mobilize various initiatives already doing great work and a generator of further momentum.”

Being the change that they wish to see, the KIP team encourages all interested researchers, students, volunteers, and professionals to contact them and supports joint efforts. Creating partnerships at different levels and building bridges between all concerned stakeholders is the underpinning foundation of the idea that “Knowledge is Power”.

For more information on the KIP project, please contact Ms. Zeina Mhaidly, Project Coordinator at zm32@aub.edu.lb.