The highlights of my experiences began with the time I spent with Teach For Lebanon in 2010 as a Fellow working with underprivileged students in Lebanon’s most underdeveloped area – Akkar. Spending two years as a TFL Fellow, I have worked on raising the academic performance of my students, and also on their community awareness and involvement. In this regard, I have organised field visits to the UNIFEL (UN peacekeepers in South of Lebanon), organised monthly social, psychological and health workshops, and created inter-faith dialogue opportunities for my students. Upon finishing my Fellowship, I joined TFL as the Support Manager working closely on issues ranging from handling logistical matters to helping advocate our mission. I have handled the logistics of the six-week teacher training summer institute, and assisted the team in creating a yearly advocacy plan that would target the Lebanese Diaspora and the local government agencies. In addition, I have piloted a project in a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut where I accompanied a group of students from Lebanon’s most advantaged school to the most disadvantaged area. For two days, the students and I equipped a resource centre for the Palestinian Women Association that is running the ‘Mama Teqra’ project (My mom can read) - inspired by my dear friend and colleague Nicholas Boke - designed to help Palestinian mothers read and write.
Since 2013, I have started studying for my MA in Human Rights and Cultural Diversity at the University of Essex, UK. My current studies have refined my research skills (especially legal research) and have given me a solid knowledge and perspective on human rights causes, especially the importance of advocating human rights as inalienable, inter-dependent and belonging to every human being regardless of their cultural, ethnic, religious, gender or other background. I have taken a yearlong International Human Rights Law course, and focused on other specific human rights modules, such as Human Rights of Women, Human Rights and Development and Gender, Sexuality and Citizenship. Focusing on women’s rights and gender and sexuality is crucial for me as a gay Arab, especially that working on the prohibition of gender-based violence has never been more pressing. In addition, I believe that advocating the right to education is crucial for the empowerment of women and sexual minorities in conflict-torn societies in specific. Additionally, I have started an eight-months internship with Amnesty International (IS) in London working in the MENA division documenting and monitoring human rights violations in both Bahrain and Iraq and assisting the team in daily research tasks and helping in reports. This on-going experience is providing me with a valuable opportunity to put the knowledge and expertise gained from my studies into practice.