Aie Serve was established in Febraury 2007, after the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, when a group of young people tried to help war victims regardless of religious, cultural or political backgrounds.
The word “Aie” is a Japanese word pronounced as “I” and means “Love”, so the name of group is Love and Serve or I Serve. It evolved from a group of friends, to a group of community service minded people, to a team and an organization.
Aie Serve works mostly with young people, believing in them, and that the younger generations will be key to achieve peace. It also believes that youth are more likely to influence their parents’ thinking than the other way around.
Aie Serve focuses on promoting understanding and peace among people in the North and South of Lebanon, areas they see as less culturally diverse than Beirut. In order to achieve their goal they occasionally bring people from these regions to Beirut in order to demonstrate that peaceful co-existence between different communities is possible.
Aei Serve's main goal is to empower young people and promote a philosophy of love, respect and acceptance, as well as supporting the development of other NGOs.
Since the creation of Aie Serve, the organisation has undertaken the following projects and initiatives:
- Promoted and implemented hands-on community service.
- Coached youth clubs and organisations. These are especially active on university campuses in Beirut, North and Mount Lebanon.
- Empowered youth into action with leadership and communication training programs focused on environmental and health awareness.
- Established chapters in schools and universities.
- Created a space for organisations and activists to share ideas.
- Raised awareness of issues.
- Organised workshops on leadership and web development for NGOs.
Aie Serve is very active on the ground, with members and initiatives across Lebanon, including ‘Aie Clubs’ operating in schools and universities. These clubs are vehicles for young people to suggest ideas on how to bridge gaps between various groups in society, and receive support to develop and implement their project.
In an attempt to build long-lasting peace in Lebanon, Aie Serve also tries to address issues that are not necessarily cultural but are still barriers between different groups peacefully coexisting. Once a problem is discovered, Aie Serve tries to bring the groups involved together to jointly work toward a solution. Examples of such projects include an Anti-Drug Campaign and an initiative to improve transportation services in rural areas in Lebanon. Aie Serve believe that joint cooperation on issues which effect communities as a whole can in the long term maintain trust between the various parties involved.
Occasionally participants involved in projects refuse to work with members of Aie Serve who are from a different background. In these instances, because Aie Serve is such a diverse organisation, a member from the same background can work with the participant to eventually promote tolerance and understanding.
It also works on building bridges between generations. A program entitled #Mentorship for young entrepreneurs (age 18-30) connects them with senior mentors (age 50+) to overcome the generational, knowledge and experience gap.
Aie Serve also believes that travelling is a way for young people re-evaluate their attitudes about others’ religions or cultural beliefs. To support young people who are eager to travel abroad, Aie Serve also runs the Aie Serve Exchange program to encourage as many youth as possible to travel. It also opens its doors for young volunteers to acquire experiences.
In 2018 Aie Serve gained a consultative status with UN ECOSOC and now have access to their events, conferences and activities in Beirut at ESCWA and globally in New York, Geneva and Singapore.