Rouba El Helou
I am a Lecturer of political communication and gender in the Faculty of Law and Political Science at Notre Dame University in Lebanon. I am also a PhD candidate at the University of Erfurt in communication studies. I have always been dedicated to fighting injustice in Lebanon, which is based on the lack of a level playing field. I am convinced that people should be responsible for their own fate. However, the culture of impunity in Lebanon makes it impossible for many to achieve their full potential.
I am driven by the conviction that discrimination based on gender, social class or region of origin must stop. As a journalist I have highlighted the negative impact of sectarian divisions leading to irregularities in people’s legal status creating a social framework based on inequality.
As a university educator, I believe in the co-constructive learning model and the use of modern technologies and tools in the classroom. I have helped my students develop analytical and media literacy skills, question socially prescribed gender roles and to speak truth to power.
As a civil society activist I have helped trained journalists in areas related to investigative journalism, combatting stereotyping and proper portrayals of gender based violence.
In 2015, I participated in an academic excursion in the International Academy for Leadership (IAF) in Gummersbach to learn more about functioning democracy, academic freedom, pluralism and good governance. I was impressed to find out more about the role academia and higher education can play to enhance democracy. The numerous seminars and field visits in Germany and in Brussels shaped my approach and perspective in the classroom. I came back from this trip with a life changing experience intellectually and emotionally: Gummersbach became this romantic place where I met my significant other, who became my husband.
I am still working on fighting injustice. Working with FNF Lebanon and Syria on many pressing issues among these was freedom of expression and human rights. The publication “Threats to Digital Rights” in 2017 and the Human Rights Trivia Competition at NDU in 2019 were two of the most successful.