09.05.2017 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

UNESCO partners with Beirut Arab University to organize an NGO Fair on Sustainable Development Goals

Hala, a student majoring in international law at Beirut Arab University (BAU), is looking for opportunities to be involved in the work of NGOs or International Organizations, active in the field of education: “I have always considered that education is a right for all. Everyone should get access to education, no matter what his social background is, and have the opportunity to learn skills and knowledge that would allow him/her to succeed in life.” Issam, a student majoring in mass communication, shares the same view. He believes that “Education not only gives individuals the tools to succeed, but also builds a stronger society”. “An educated society, he says, is one that is peaceful and non-violent, and one that accepts difference and sees it as a source of wealth rather than conflict".

Under the patronage of UNESCO Beirut, the Human Rights Center at Beirut Arab University University organized on 4 May 2017 its 6th NGO Fair, an annual activity aimed at introducing the university students to NGOs and IGOs working in the field of human rights. This year, the fair focused on the theme of SDGs, and hosted more than 30 NGOs that promote sustainable development in various sectors, including education, poverty eradication, peace-building, environmental protection, humanitarian interventions, and child care. Both Hala and Issam came to attend this fair to familiarize themselves with the work of Lebanese NGOs and International Organizations and seek internship opportunities.

In his opening allocution, Dr Omar Houri, Secretary General of Beirut Arab University, noted that “hosting this NGO Fair is fully in line with the priorities of the BAU and the mission of the university’s Human Rights Center. which is fully engaged in promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals”. Dr Hegazi Idriss, Programme Specialist in the Education sector at UNESCO Beirut, thanked BAU on its commitment to promoting SDGs and praised the collaboration between UNESCO Beirut and BAU on a variety of projects and activities. Idriss noted that “UNESCO Beirut is working to achieve SDG 4 – Education 2030, so that every individual has access to quality education and no one is left behind”. Dr Amr Galal Al Adawi, President of BAU, mentioned that the university is dedicated to instilling a sense of civic and social activism in students so that they actively take part in shaping their country’s future. Al Adawi noted that “familiarizing students with SDGs is crucial to achieve this goal, and we are happy that this year our NGO Fair is held under the patronage of UNESCO”.

Following these opening remarks, the Fair was inaugurated: students, faculty, and UNESCO staff visited the booths of the participating NGOs, asking questions about their work and the main challenges they face. A seminar followed where UNESCO Beirut Communications Officer, Dr Jana Jabbour, gave an overview of SDGs and the global context in which they appeared, and presented UNESCO’s mission. Jabbour introduced students to the role of UNESCO Beirut in the field of education, stressing the organization’s leading role in the implementation of SDG 4-Education 2030, its work in building the capacities of education institutions across the region, designing school curricula, and supporting ministries in designing their education policies. Students expressed their enthusiasm to get involved with UNESCO. Hala noted: “The Organization’s work corresponds exactly to my field of interest! I hope to have the opportunity to intern at UNESCO Beirut to get a first-hand experience in the education sector in Lebanon but also in the region”.

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