June 12-13, 2021
The 5th edition of the yearly LIMS Leaders’ Academy (LLA) was opened to prominent grassroots organizations working for change in Lebanon. 87 activists belonging to 42 different groups from across Lebanon gathered for a 2-day workshop. Many activists met for the first time and they all interacted and worked together.
Day 1: Lectures and Workshops In the first session, participants had the choice between 4 concurrent sessions tackling the following topics: (1) revitalizing infrastructure in the absence of government funding, (2) an alternative to the subsidy program, (3) educational policies in a free market economy, (4) reviving the banking sector in Lebanon. For the second session, activists who graduated from the 2020 edition presented their work to the new batch of participants and discussed the suggested reforms they developed in LLA 2020. This exercise helped activists expand their reach and meet people from across Lebanon, who shared their vision of change. Participants then gathered for a plenary session where 3 speakers debated the currency crisis in Lebanon and the ability of a currency board to address the problem. At the end of the first day, all attendees gathered in 1 room for the elevator pitch session. 33 participants took the stand one-by-one, presented a pressing matter they wished to address, and had just 1 minute to give their pitch.
Day 2: Working Groups The second day started with a speed exchange session, where participants introduced themselves to each other. Then, they suggested urgent economic challenges they wish to address, and from this activity, 10 working groups emerged. Activists who did not know each other the previous day, found themselves working together on topics of common interests. Facilitators helped them look for market-oriented solutions to those challenges. Groups then chose representatives to present their ideas for reforms. The highlight of the day was the session delivered by Director General of the Tender Board Dr. Jean Ellieh. He discussed the importance of conducting a forensic audit on public tenders. The session was very engaging and interactive. Moreover, the audience was enthusiastic to learn about the different schemes public officials use to go around the laws, to tender a contract for their cronies.