The Lebanese Center for Civic Education (LCCE) is an NGO comprised of young people working to spread the concepts of democracy, human rights and responsible citizenship in Lebanese society.
Most members of LCCE have experienced the situation of violence, sectarian strife, the absence of law and accountability, in addition to corruption and poverty in Lebanon themselves. Hence they build on their post-war experiences in order to find common ground, acceptance of the other, to strive for conflict resolution in a diverse society, and to build coalitions as a foundation for a new democratic experience. And for the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in 2015, they launched "It is not over yet" to highlight the horrors of the war, especially with the unknown fate of 17000 kidnapped and missing, and to work to prevent any coming war.
- Promoting a civil and non-sectarian culture
- Strengthening a human rights culture among young people
- Strengthening the culture of conflict resolution using democratic and non-violent means
- Developing curricula and interactive teaching modules for schools on civic and human rights issues
- Strengthening the internal capacities of civil society
- Suggesting legal and legislative alternatives
- Exchanging experiences in a culture of dialogue
LCCE has launched ‘Project Citizen' which targets people of all ages. The idea is to train participants in core concepts of democratic values and principals, as well as to promote tolerance among them. The main focus of this project is for entire classes of students, or members of youth or adult organisations, to work together to identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy. Projects of this kind intend to bring people with different backgrounds together to tackle problems which concern them all. Ideally by working together on common issues, prejudices will be reduced and peace will be fostered among them.
Another way of trying to build peace in Lebanon has been the project ‘Arts for Unity’, which aims at developing a sustainable model related to integrating extra-curricular activities into curricula and schools via the promotion of social cohesion, peacebuilding and network building among secondary school children. This project first trained the teachers at the targeted schools about club formation and social cohesion, peacebuilding, citizenship, communication, and reconciliation etc by using a constructive methodology and integrating interactive art tools. Teachers then apply these tools and methodologies to their classrooms to build cohesion and peace among their pupils, as well as via the clubs.
Within clubs, students were given the opportunity to use arts and theatre to express issues freely regarding their societies and communities. These issues included emigration, poverty and social justice and sectarianism, among others. Being aware of the crucial role that the media play in war torn societies like that of Lebanon. Students have also another project, "Participate and Change" which serves as a bridge between them and policy makers.
LCCE also works towards raising awareness among students and young professionals in the field of journalism about their role and how they can help to build peace in Lebanon through their profession. Having participated in the ‘Media and Citizenship’ Program, young journalists use their new skills as tools to fight corruption, ensure public justice and promote good governance and accountability. Within this programme LCCE also holds workshops run by professional journalists to introduce young reporters to the culture of peace, and how they can contribute to spreading it through their daily work. The programme further aims to train young people in critical and analytical thinking when reading and interpreting media messages.
LCCE expended the scope of its work to include Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It implemented a vocational training program that enabled hundreds of Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens living in Akkar in the North to acquire skills and competences to provide psycho-social and recreational support for children in the refugees' informal settlements and in schools in Akkar.