Adyan Foundation | Lebanon

“Adyan’s projects have successfully engaged thousands of citizens, bringing together youth, families and volunteers, to break down cultural and religious barriers and open up a conversation around shared citizenship and belonging. Despite religious tension in the region, Adyan is forging an inspiring vision for inclusive communities and spiritual solidarity across Lebanon and the Middle East.”

– Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Global Pluralism Award Jury.

ADYAN’S STORY

In a short video on Taadudiya, an online platform created by the Adyan Foundation, Jihad and Rita start a music school in a rural Lebanese community and children come from near and far to attend. In another video, Sameh and Hanaa tackle religious sectarianism in Egypt by bringing Christian and Muslim children together to play soccer. In another, Salam and Zeinab overcome their religious differences and develop a deep friendship based on a shared passion for their work in radio and television.

Founded in 2006 by a group of Christians and Muslims, Adyan Foundation works in Lebanon and across the Middle East to foster cultural and religious diversity through grassroots initiatives in education, media and public policy, and intercultural and interreligious relations. Their goal is to help people develop their faith with an openness towards others and a commitment to serving the common good.

One of Adyan’s most recent initiatives, Taadudiya, or “pluralism” in Arabic, is challenging extremist narratives of hate and violence with non-biased information on religious beliefs and traditions with videos of everyday people engaged in religious inclusion in their communities. In its first year, the online platform has reached 38 million people.

Adyan operates on many levels. Their interfaith networks connect youth, families and volunteers from different social and religious backgrounds to share experiences and strengthen mutual trust and understanding. Adyan’s academic branch, the Institute of Citizenship and Diversity management, conducts training and research, facilitates conferences, and promotes education on citizenship and coexistence. In 2007, Adyan launched the Alwan Program for Education on Coexistence, which establishes social clubs in religiously diverse schools. The clubs, which build social cohesion and reduce intolerance among children, have reached over 4,158 students in 42 Lebanese schools. Building on their work in education, Adyan partnered with the Ministry of Education in Lebanon to reform curricula and reshape the way that diversity is addressed in schools.

Adyan promotes pluralism by helping divergent groups find common ground. Despite the current climate of religious tension in the region, Adyan is forging an inspiring vision for inclusive communities and spiritual solidarity across Lebanon and the Middle East.

CONTEXT

Lebanon is one of the most religiously diverse countries in the Middle East. Religion is deeply intertwined with every aspect of society – from government to education. Political divisions along sectarian lines have contributed to past conflicts, including the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). The recent rise of violent extremism and arrival of 1.5 million Syrian refugees have exacerbated tensions. In a country where religion has often divided people, Adyan Foundation’s work to break down cultural and religious barriers and promote openness towards others is crucial to building peace. Adyan has now extended its work beyond Lebanon, with recent projects building toward social cohesion and inclusive citizenship in Iraq.