UN partners with Lebanese universities for 2019 NGO Fair

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19 April 2019
UN partners with Lebanese universities for 2019 NGO Fair
For the fifth year in a row, the UN Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut) collaborated with the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) to organize the “AUB-USJ NGO Forum 2019” on the campuses of the two universities in Beirut.

For two days, over 150 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), international bodies and civil society organizations mingled with students, offering them internship, volunteering and community service opportunities, let alone information about civic actions. Students from different faculties and backgrounds also gathered at the UN Lebanon booths in AUB and USJ and asked about the work of the UN, the SDGs and how can youth contribute to the achievement of the global goals. Staff manning the UN Lebanon booths, which grouped agencies, funds, programmes and missions operating in Lebanon, interacted with students and youth participants in a friendly and casual manner using games, interactive platforms and other information material.

The fair, launched by an opening ceremony at AUB, was attended by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini, UNIC Beirut Director Margo Helou, AUB President Dr. Fadlo Khuri and USJ Rector Father Salim Daccache. Also attending were university students, representatives of NGOs and media, as well as a number of influencers and celebrities. The opening featured statements by Lazzarini, Khouri and Daccache in addition to an intervention by Fadi Ghandour, chairman of Ruwwad for Development and Executive Chairman of Wamda Ventures. 

In his statement, Lazzarini said that the role of the civil society is absolutely key, “and more important is the engagement of the Youth,” describing them as the most valuable asset for Lebanon’s future. Inviting the youth to actively engage in volunteering work, Lazzarini commended the work of NGOs in “upholding human rights, fighting for a healthy and clean environment, and supporting good governance.” 

“The transformative power of civil society is well-known,” Lazzarini said while calling on youth to embrace the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. “I invite you to dream big,” he said. 

On this front, few celebrities and influencers joined the UN booth and the UN call for climate action and engaged with the youth in a vibrant discussion on how to #TakeAStep to help Lebanon achieve the 17 #GlobalGoals through simple and effective daily actions.