Peace building and religious freedom in Syria and Lebanon is a three year project which aims at enabling Syrian and Lebanese youth, women and media stakeholders to contribute to the reduction of extremist views and support community acceptance of the different religious "other". These entities play vital roles in communities’ evolution at all levels and reflect their awareness pulse and their social immunity.
The project will support these dynamic components to invest in strategies that adopt and promote the values of religious freedom, social cohesion and diversity and confront the persecution of minorities. The program nurtures social integration, challenges extremist dogmas and prejudice through exploring and understanding the concepts of active citizenship, freedom of speech and gender equality as well as establishing collaboration channels between women, youth, media stakeholders and civil society. The goal of the first year is to raise awareness about the importance of dialogue and to understand the positive behaviors that change conflicts in terms of the impact on religious diversity and acceptance of the other. A workshop was held at the Garden Hotel Brumana between October 26 and 31. 25 women, religious leaders and young civil society activists gathered to share experiences and received four days of training on religious freedom and active citizenship. Participants developed nonviolent communication and dialogue skills, discovered effective and applicable methods to promote active citizenship and build civil peace.
Peace building and religious freedom preserve the social fabric of our communities. The religious, cultural and ethnic structure of the Middle East region reflects a rich and unique portray of a harmonious vivacious blend. The cornerstone of this 3 year program is to defy intolerance and expand the principles of non-violence that build solid bridges through youth, women and media stakeholders. Consequently, these components become positive agents of change in times of conflict, and thus safeguard our identity.