The Friedrich Naumann Foundation Beirut office is primarily focused on Lebanon and Syria. Regional and local turmoil makes the work of the foundation in these two countries challenging, forcing our office in Beirut to constantly adapt to new social and political changes. To contribute towards a peaceful and democratic transition in the Syrian society, FNF helps by offering conflict resolution workshops and educational trainings to Syrians and in particular to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In Lebanon, our main objective is to support Lebanese start-ups, civil society organizations and liberal political parties. Start-ups are particuparly important for our work in Lebanon, because they state an expression of the liberal idea of the economy and competition. They mainly consist of young individuals with progressive ideas that are willing to take a risk in order to contribute towards a more advanced society. Their activities in the field of politics are often hard to realize due to financial shortcomings. We at FNF support these progressive ideas in their strive towards a more liberal society.
Our Principles and Orgins
The “Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom” (FNF) proudly looks back on a long history of changes and challenges. It was founded in the Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn by Theodor Heuss, Walter Erbe, Paul Luchtenberg, Reinhold Maier and Hans Wolfgang Rubin on the 19th May, 1958, and named after the libertarian politician Friedrich Naumann. From its establishment until now, the foundation grew constantly and became a globally-operating NGO. In April 2007, the foundation´s name was extended with the addition of the words “for Freedom”, to underline the new concept of “Marketing for Freedom” worldwide. Today, the label “for Freedom” is widely associated with successful projects.
Based on liberalism, the underlying principle of the foundation´s political activity, FNF is engaged in political education in both Germany and abroad. With our activities and publications, we help people to exercise their rights of political participation. We also provide scholarships for talented individuals. Our headquarters is located in the city of Potsdam and we maintain offices all over Germany together with project offices in over 60 countries worldwide. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is the open laboratory of freedom and a global liberal think-tank. With over 200 employees, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is the biggest liberal NGO worldwide with a comprehensive network of partners, experts and volunteers.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is a creative platform for innovation, with the aim of enhancing the popularity of liberalism.
Our activities target for individuals who share our core principles on liberalism. We advise, motivate and inspire relevant stakeholders and create, shape and market the ideas of tomorrow. We are a proud creative think-tank of liberal politics.
I am the Head of the Beirut Office since March 2020. I obtained my Master's Degree in Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. After my studies, I worked at the German Chancellery in Berlin in the directorate for European affairs. Between 2010-2017, I was Chief of Staff of Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a liberal Member of Parliament and Vice-President of the European Parliament. After that, I worked for former European Commissioner Pavel Telička in the European Parliament before taking up my post with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in 2019. I have been an active Member of the Free Democratic Party and serve as a delegate for the Party Congress of the European liberal party (ALDE).
Freedom and liberalism are dear to my heart. Tolerance is and remains the basis for a free society. True freedom only exists where everyone is free to develop their talents to the fullest and where people are free from fear and repression. Therefore, we should always live up to the quote of the English author Evelyn Beatric Hall who famously said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it“.
I joined FNF Lebanon and Syria in August 2019, after completing my legal studies at the Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ). I earned a Bachelor degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Public Law with an emphasis on Human rights of refugees.
I sought balancing between academia and my civic involvement. Therefore, I joined the Lebanese Center for Mediation and Conciliation to become a certified mediator. I was also volunteering in organizations advocating for Human Rights in Lebanon, reforms for the “kafala” system and women’s nationality rights.
My academic background as well as my civic engagement come from my conviction in the close relationship between the rule of law and successful democratic processes. For that, I have always believed that the goals towards change and freedom coming from street activism need to be backed by a functional legislative system.
My engagement with FNF Lebanon and Syria started with “Model Youth Parliament”, a project executed in partnership with USJ. It allowed me to experience the importance of small initiatives in engendering change and exposed me to the FNF world that I would like to explore even further.
I joined the FNF team in June 2020 as a Project Coordinator. I hold a BA in Translation and Applied Languages from the Lebanese University and an MA in Public Policy and International Affairs from the American University of Beirut.
I have extensively worked in the field of social science research with various international organizations on projects relating to gender equality and refugee rights in the MENA region. In 2020, I published a study in Oxfam Policy & Practice around menstrual hygiene management among Syrian refugee women in Lebanon. Academically, my research focus lies at the intersection of identity politics and social movements, with a regional focus on the Middle East.
I believe freedom is the power to express yourself, to think, and to act without restrictions or fear of repression. Freedom is innate to human nature because people are born free and they will strive for freedom so long as they haven’t reached it. But most importantly and above all, free societies pave the way for tolerant societies.
I am the Financial Officer at FNF Lebanon and Syria since February 2017. I have a wide ranging experience in this field due to my 8 year career path with non-governmental organizations in Lebanon. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with an Emphasis on Finance.
Freedom for me is having the ability and the willingness to live without restrictions. I believe it is better to die than to live in chains. In a world full of borders that limit our freedom, this value for me is more important than ever and my work with FNF reminds me of how significant this is on a daily basis.
Abir Al Halabi
I joined the team as the Executive Assistant in April 2017. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Tourism Management and a Master's Degree in Tourism Research from the Lebanese University (LU). I have worked previously in the development sector, the media sector and the publishing sector. My choice to join FNF was intended to maximise my experience in this field and to build on my previous knowledge and experience in administration and research work.
As a young woman in Lebanon, I constantly feel restricted by social and cultural boundaries. Therefore freedom for me is having the capacity to lead my life the way I want to, with no chains holding me back. We were brought to life to live it to the fullest, and if it were not for freedom, that would not be possible.
I joined FNF Lebanon and Syria as the Finance Assistant in November 2017. I graduated in August with a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut. I am always looking for opportunities to boost my skills and enhance my knowledge, and I think FNF is the perfect start for my career path.
I believe that a person’s mind is the greatest asset he owns. There are infinite choices that we make every single day. Freedom is when you make your own choices without being limited by any social aspects. It is waking up every morning and wandering out into the day with no obligation or expectations.