08.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

Fifty Lebanese and Syrian youth meet at UNESCO Office in Beirut to brainstorm social ventures based on artistic creations and cultural heritage

Harnessing culture and artistic creativity for economic development and social cohesion has always constituted a pillar in UNESCO’s responses in times of crisis and emergencies.

Building on UNESCO’s knowledge in youth skills development and school to work transition and through entrepreneurship education more specifically, UNESCO Office in Beirut has organized a 2-day workshop on “Syrian Shapers- Innovative approach for social cohesion through culture, creativity and social venture” on 5 October 2016.

Fifty Lebanese and Syrian youth involved in artistic and cultural fields were introduced on the key concepts and approaches on entrepreneurship and brainstormed on creating create revenue-generating social ventures, based on artistic creations or work that promotes cultural heritage.

“It is always difficult to know where and how to start. Now I do”, said Sami Barakat (28) from Tripoli, Lebanon. “I’ve learned to organize all my ideas in a simple and practical way”, he added.

“The workshop teaches us how to realistically achieve our ambitions. I now know how to create sustainable projects with a long lasting impact”, stated Muzna Al Zohor (23 years old) from Syria. “I hope to be able to invest these acquired skills once I’m back to my home town in Syria”.

Through this first stage, and over the period of two days, participants were introduced to the general contexts related to this activity, including cultural heritage and the different aspects of social business (ideas generation, presentation, development of social business Canvas, and entrepreneurship skills).

This workshop also presented an ideal platform for positive interaction between Lebanese and Syrian youth.

“It is a very interesting exploration of partnership among talented Lebanese and Syrian young men and women in Lebanon”, said UNESCO Porgramme Specialist Seiko Sugita. “We are impressed with the creative ideas coming out of this exchange”, she added.

Following this first successful training, a second workshop is to be held in November 2016 where the participants divided in teams, will be trained in “business skills” in setting up social ventures in creative/art sector. Participants are expected to submit social venture plans to a jury headed by UNESCO, as two selected plans will get to benefit from an initial grant for a start-up, and a continuous 4 to 6 months mentoring.

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