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13 Dec 2023
The American University of Beirut (AUB) launched the Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory (GGCO) in an event that took place on December 5, 2023 at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB. This pivotal gathering marked the launch of an initiative dedicated to fostering responsible governance and active citizenship in Lebanon and the region. The launch event served as a platform for introducing the observatory, sparking engaging discussions, cultivating collaborations, and establishing the groundwork for forthcoming impactful observatory initiatives. Attended by Dr. Fadlo Khuri, AUB president and TAKREEM Foundation Laureate for the scientific and technological achievement category of 2015; Dr. Zaher Dawy, AUB provost; university faculty; and staff; in addition to thought leaders, academics, and practitioners; the event aimed to catalyze collective action toward promoting good governance and responsible citizenship within the region. The Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB is a new initiative dedicated to exploring citizenship in the MENA region and its connection to good governance. Anchored on pillars of good governance, migration, and constitutions, GGCO aims to provide comprehensive insights on citizenship, educating policymakers, empowering citizens, and fostering dialogue. It aspires to be a globally recognized platform advocating for positive social transformation, inclusivity, equity, and sustainability. GGCO aims to promote good governance and citizenship, with a framework that emphasizes citizenship’s role in responsible governance, addresses citizenship-migration dynamics for inclusivity, and advocates for constitutions upholding citizenship rights as well as influencing equality-driven policy reforms. The ultimate goal is to create a society where citizens are informed, engaged, and active contributors to democratic values, human rights, and societal well-being. Dr. Fadlo Khuri delivered the opening remarks, emphasizing, “The Good Governance and Citizenship Observatory is one of our latest endeavors in our journey towards bridging the gap between academic inquiry and tangible societal change, reflecting our unwavering commitment to exploring the intricate tapestry of citizenship and its crucial role in cultivating good governance.” Khuri added, “Our region stands at a pivotal juncture. The challenges we face are formidable, but they are dwarfed by the opportunities that beckon us. Dr. Saouma BouJaoude, professor, senior advisor to AUB president, and GGCO steering committee member and TAKREEM Foundation Laureate for the excellence in education category of 2010, delivered an insightful introduction, shedding light on critical concerns within Lebanon’s citizenship education landscape. He outlined the pressing issues, including sectarianism and identity politics, the absence of a unified national curriculum, the marginalization of citizenship education in official exams, and dominance of the role of learning and memorization with minimal opportunities to discuss controversial issues. BouJaoude also highlighted the adverse effects of political interference, insufficient teacher training, limited civic engagement, and conflicting national narratives. For the full article: