Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spotlight Series: Blue Mission

Blue Mission is a Lebanese organization established for peace organization. In response to the Lebanese Civil War, sociologist and criminologist Sana El Bizri founded Blue Mission in order to realize an idea that stemmed from her determination to not give up on life in a society destroyed by war, but rather to change society by reviving the values of peace and humanity. El Bizri needed to overcome family tragedies that resulted from the war, and through these tragedies developed an idea that peace and education were the only sources that would allow people to build a prosperous future. This idea was realized with the founding of Blue Mission, which promotes peace through education, teacher training, and numerous human rights projects. The name “Blue Mission” refers to the color most psychologically associated with sources of calm and serenity, such a clear sky and a tranquil sea, and a lasting, common commitment among like-minded people to move an idea forward.

Unaffiliated with any specific political or religious group, Blue Mission states on its website that it is dedicated to “promoting empowerment of people in Lebanese society.” The key problems that the organization’s program addresses include violence in schools, domestic violence, unresolved conflict, disregard for human rights, disempowerment of women, lack of participation in community processes, and discrimination in all forms. Among the activities that Blue Mission performs in order to resolve these problems are training of teachers, awareness building and topical workshops, classes and activities in schools, and collaboration with other associations to organize nation-wide school events. These activities focus on providing youth throughout Lebanon and the Middle East with the values to “abhor war and embrace peace,” and with the skills to bring change to a war-torn society.

Recently, Blue Mission has initiated the “Ambassadors of Peace” program in Lebanon, a youth capacity building program called “From Village to Village,” and a project called “Saida Eco Neighborhood.” The “Ambassadors of Peace” program is a training curriculum adapted from Canada which Blue Mission has operated since 2002 partnered with Save the Children Sweden. Its curriculum provides conflict resolution training and focuses on the themes of non-violence, human rights, democratic practice, respect and anti-discrimination. “From Village to Village” is based in the cities of Bazouriyeh, Toura, and Maarake, providing training for youth leaders in leadership and project management, psychological support, IT development, and environmental and health awareness. “Saida Eco Neighborhood” involves environmental sustainability in the Saida municipality.

Blue Mission also has its own music band, which performs Lebanese popular and national songs.

All of these activities, plus many more as outlined on www.bluemission.org, are manifestations of Sana El Bizri and Blue Mission’s dedication to direct Lebanese society to that of peace and human rights through educational progress and human development.

Written by Safadi USA intern Helen Burns

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