Chance to Change - Paths to Freedom

News02.05.2019Marielle Marktanner

On May 2nd, 2019 the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Lebanon and Syria hosted the event Chance to Change — Paths to Freedom at Garage664. The event highlighted innovation as a process of change and development by bridging lessons from the past to the situation of the present. Bringing attention to the impact of our work and that of our partners, Chance to Change — Paths to Freedom introduced our campaign for 2019 under the FNF global framework “United Nations of Innovation” as well as Mayrig - Paths to Freedom, a mobile app that uses an innovative approach to education.

Guest speakers at the event were Lea Baroudi, Gregory Pellechi, and Eugene Sensenig who gave inspirational talks to the subjects of change and opportuities.

Following welcoming words by FNF Lebanon Head of Office Dirk Kunze and an introduction by Senior Project Manager Yara Asmar, Lea Baroudi told the guests about her inspiring story of the adventure that MARCH undertook in the conflict zone of Tripoli, the second big city in Lebanon, located in the North. Baroudi described the challenges that faced her and her team, to counter the existing violence and to engage young fighters in a one of a kind truth and reconciliation project.

“We decided to open the auditions for young men from both sides to perform in a theater play that is inspired by their story”, Baroudi announced. From interacting on stage to interacting in real life, the actors or ex-fighters wanted to get to know each other in a better way therefore they decided, with the help of MARCH to create their own common spaces such as a café called “Qahwetna/our Coffee Place” on the street known to be previously the “front line”.

Joining Lea were two ex fighters from Tripoli, who shared their stories of being on different sides of the battle field and becoming friends after the war. They spoke of overcoming stereotypes and changing their views to grow as people.

Likewise under the theme of change, FNF Lebanon and Syria then launched the mobile app Mayring - Paths to Freedom. The interactive, educational mobile game tells the story of a young mother who is forced to flee as a result of political persecution. Connecting the past to the present, the app does not only tell a unique story of survival and search for freedom, but also raises awareness to the timeless challenges of migration.

"We want to reach the players on three different layers. Just playing the game, they can connect emotionally to refugees of the past and of the present. Reading the explanations in the end of each storyline, the players connect the emotional experience to the historic reality. And with the additional content, they can further research and link the past to the present."

By using this innovative approach to education, FNF tries to change the perception of the past and the present at the same time and also set an example of how to use new media and technology to spread knowledge.

Finally, with a bright outlook for the future, FNF Lebanon and Syria introduced the #Chance2Change campaign before revealing the new office branding that signifies holding on to our core values, but transforming our approach. We are changing!

For more pictures from the event, click here.