Civil Peace Service

Dreams of a better life

Documenting one’s vision of a liveable Lebanon: that was the objective of a photo competition which was run by the GIZ’s Civil Peace Service (CPS). Sixty-five young photographers took part. They illustrated the young generation’s dreams in a country devastated by civil war.

A Muslim family is sitting on the beach of Saida, a town south of Beirut, at dusk. The old port is seen in the background. Children are playing in the sand, and the family’s big umbrella is colourful. “The multitude of things reflects the multitude of our human souls,” comments Mohammad Bassyouni, who is 25 years old and works as a graphic designer. The young man from Saida is the winner of the Photo Competition and his aspiration is to show the “magic” that is driving the young generation.

The jury similarly appreciates the work of Ali Arkadhan, a 28 year-old social media professional. He says, he wants to create a “perspective of hope in regard to everyday worries”, and his pictures reflect that intention. He took part in the photo competition to share his approach with the local community. The competition was organised by civil-society organisations in cooperation with the CPS in the context of the Hayda Lubnan project.

Life in Lebanon is marked by the concerns of the here and now. Insecurity and the sense of distrust between religious communities are the legacy of the civil war – and they make it hard to move ahead. The Hayda Lubnan project is creating spaces in cooperation with local organisations for expressing ideas and sharing them with others. Topics include a more promising future, a better society and a healthy natural environment.

Hayda Lubnan provides three platforms for this kind of exchange:

  • the photo competition,
  • a website for essays, documentations, videos and debates and
  • workshops that allow participants to share ideas and express visions creatively.

Ahead of the competition, the partner organisation defined four topics. The participants were thus asked to create photos to show “good citizenship” or “human values”, for instance. A jury chose the best pictures.

The dreams of Mohammad, Ali and the other participants are now meant to serve as a foundation for moving on towards a shared vision by providing a model of dialogue and community. This is needed in a country that has lost to consider the future in confidence because of a violent past and a currently fraying political order. (giz)

GIZ / Civil Peace Service in Lebanon:

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