Posted by: ellefersan | November 27, 2014

LDU is Restructuring

LDU is restructuring… We are soon moving to a new internet platform. Stay tuned for our new platform, programs and activities


Posted by: ellefersan | August 26, 2013

Zouk Mikael en route to glory… “So dreams come true”!

Eliane Fersan

It all started with an email I received from a friend in which she wrote: “the moment I saw this award announcement I thought of the Youth and Culture Center (YCC) and your wonderful city of Zouk Mikael. I have a feeling you can win the award, I strongly encourage you to apply”.

I have to confess that I was a bit skeptical at the beginning: Can we compete? Was it worth the effort, the time and the emotional commitment? What made our experience so exclusive, so deserving of an international award? And why would the judges choose us while our initiative was not unheard of globally? And then it hit me! It was not the idea; it’s the experience, it’s the “parcours” that matter, and the Lebanese context that makes YCC a successful example of a pioneering initiative in urban human development from the Global South.

And so, under…

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Posted by: ellefersan | April 23, 2013

LDU retaliates to Lebanon’s creativity brain drain

Believing in Lebanon’s youth potential, and in support of its creative industry, Lebanon Development Union (LDU), in collaboration with the Youth and Culture Center (YCC) – Zouk Mikael organized a series of capacity building workshops for young talents and artists on interaction with the media, self branding and social media. This Anna Lindh Foundation funded program regrouped 30 young participants from throughout Lebanon on April 13, 20 and 21 and was supported by website.


LDU president Eliane Fersan stated “the need to invest in the creative industries is becoming imminent, for our youth are resorting to emigration or complete shift in their career path to other sectors because they do not find support and encouragement”. She noted that there are neither financial facilities nor the basic pillars for the creative sector such as a fast Internet service or governmental support, which is leading to brain drain in the Lebanese creative industry at the benefit of the Gulf countries, Europe and the United States.


On her side, LDU Secretary General Crystel El Chayeb highlighted the importance of the productivity of the Lebanese creative sector: “until we start investing in our newly discovered petroleum wealth, creative industry consists Lebanon’s primary capital”, she said. “LDU’s efforts in bolstering human development should be matched by governmental and academic interest while universities share a part of the blame for not preparing the youth to properly and professionally integrate in the artistic and creative sectors. Subsequently, students lack the sense of initiative and social entrepreneurship and henceforth remain at the mercy of the big companies that abuse and exploit their potential for very little return”, she added.

LDU is currently preparing to collaborate with several Lebanese University branches to bring its expertise right into the classes and stands ready to cooperate with and support individuals and institutions that care for youth development.


Lebanon Development Union (LDU) and website, represented by attorney Youssef Sfeir, participated in the “Citizens for Dialogue Convention: Euro-Mediterranean Youth facing crises & citizenship”, organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation from March 25 to 28, 2013 in Sousse – Tunisia.  The convention brought together fifty civil society activists representing different Euro-Mediterranean countries and was organized as part of the World Social Forum (WSF) held in Tunisia from March 24 to 30, 2013 regrouping 70.000 civil society activists around the world.

YSF 2013 - 1

The convention offered several workshops on effective citizenship, youth involvement in public work and youth ability to face the crisis on the economic, social, environmental and political levels. Mr. Sfeir had two interventions in which he highlighted LDU’s main contributions at the local governments level: a) fostering local and rural development by building partnerships between municipalities and civil society in Lebanon with similar partners in Europe and America, b) providing technical and legal support to the abovementioned institutions to sign and manage twinning programs and c) counseling, training and managing their development programs. He then discussed the significant role of the local media in supporting local development initiatives, showcasing’s work in covering and publishing the activities and news of municipalities and civil society members like LDU in the Kesserwan/Ftouh region. YSF 2013 - 2

Furthermore, Mr. Sfeir moderated the World Social Forum’s panel entitled: “Is the internal dialogue of cultures a solution or a problem?”.  In his opening remarks he underlined the importance of LDU and’s initiatives to enhance the dialogue among the components of the local community in the local development field in Kesserwen region proving that dialogue is a solution to understand local needs and turn them into targeted development initiatives. He concluded that dialogue must not be limited to specific topics only as religion, gender and politics. YSF 2013 - 3

Posted by: ellefersan | March 11, 2013

LDU’s social entrepreneurship experience to Barcelona

Lebanon Development Union, represented by its president Eliane Fersan, took part in the Euro-Mediterranean youth meeting held in Barcelona between 11 and 15 March 2013, hosted by the Xanascat Oficina de Juventud of Catalonia. The meeting gathered 30 participants form 17 Mediterranean countries who came together to share and discuss their social entrepreneurship experiences in their respective countries and create linkages and partnerships that foster social transformation.

Elle Fersan, Toni Reig, Rima El Khoury

The meeting organized by the Catalan Department of Youth and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Catalan Development Cooperation, consisted of training on social entrepreneurship and innovation, creative techniques, panel discussions, visits to Catalan organizations and cooperatives and encounters with Catalan governmental officials and EU Youth Council representatives.

LDU’s contribution focused on its efforts in “Building Better Communities” by supporting local governments in developing youth policies, building linkages across Lebanese borders and investing in women and youth as agents of change and transformation.

The meeting’s recommendations and findings were presented to the Euro-Mediterranean Forum 2013 organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) on April 5, Marseille – France.


(Wednesday August 14, 2012) Lebanon Development Union (LDU) in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation and the Youth and Culture Center – Zouk Mikaël, graduated today, the fourth class of the Microsoft Corporate Citizenship: Community Technical Skills Program: Unlimited Potential, in presence of Mukhtara Josiane Khalil, President of the League of Mukhtars of Kesserwan-Ftouh, Eliane Fersan, Director of the Youth and Culture Center – Zouk Mikael, the trainees, as well as local community representatives.

A large number of women were trained in this intensive three-months-course on the basics of the Microsoft Office Programs that help them develop their skills by using information technology both at work and at home. This program is one of many women’s empowerment programs organized by LDU aimed at increasing women’s role in their local communities and societies.

During the graduation ceremony held at the Youth and Culture Center, a Zouk Mikaël municipal initiative, Crystel El Chayeb, Secretary General of LDU, focused on the importance of the certificate that the participants received from Microsoft and the seriousness of the program which was developed by the corporation in a way that suits persons who don’t master the English language and those who don’t have an academic background. “This program will give them the opportunity to step into the world of information technology and learn to use it in both their personal and professional lives”, she added. Believing in the importance of building women’s skills and qualifications, LDU launched the first training session of this program in 2010, and it continues to attract beneficiaries from all over Kesserwan, she continued.

”The first objective of this program is to create jobs and empower the trainees inside the organizations they are already working for,” said El Chayeb who thanked Microsoft for its support, which made these training sessions possible and opened new horizons to the beneficiaries. She then distributed the certificates.

The participants presented their testimonies and highlighted the changes this program has brought into their personal and professional lives in addition to the networking opportunity in presented them, and asked LDU to organize more economic empowerment programs. Participant Nohad Safi said “this program broadened my involvement in the social work and connected me with other women who also are seeking to develop their skills”. Participant Therese Rizkallah, noted that graduating from this program made her more self-confident and able to use her acquired skills in a way that brought her closer to her children.


Posted by: Lebanon Development Union | August 19, 2012

Building capacity of young talents

In partnership with Anna Lindh Foundation and the Youth and Culture Center – Zouk Mikael, Lebanon Development Union offers young talents the opportunity to interact with the media and the public through  a 3-day-training workshop dedicated to initiate them on how to build their media campaign and pause in TV interviews, as well as build their online image and social media platform to enhance their virtual image and interact with a wider audience.

If you are a young artist aged between 18 and 35, you will be welcome to attend the workshop. We only ask for your commitment!

The workshop will be held in October 2012 and will be given by Anchor and Journalist Randa Yassir and Social Media Activist Crystel El Chayeb.

This is an open call for application. Seats are limited.
If your’re interested, email us your resume on:





After two and a half days (May 13-15, 2012) of strategizing, discussions and networking, 170 participants from around the Arab world united on the importance of investing in the creative industry, a promising sector that is rather under developed in the region.

Gathered under the flagship of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), the “Euromed forum for creative industries and society, 2012” is a pioneering initiative funded by the European Union and organized by the EUNIC cluster in Jordan.

A new interactive technique called the “open space” was put to the test: participants chose the topics of discussions, time and place – it is a genuine open invitation for participants to freely choose to enroll in the session that compels them the most and can leave whenever they want to. Moreover, during this Forum the participants were asked to define the outlines of a future EUNIC MENA long-term project dedicated to support the arts and the creative industries.

Lebanon was represented by a delegation led by the President of EUNIC in Lebanon Dr. Dan Stoenescu, First Secretary of the Romanian Embassy and Representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute, included delegates of the British Council and the Institut Français du Liban, as well as representatives of civil society and cultural actors such as Maqamat Dance Theatre, Dar Onboz Publishing House, The Visual and Performing Arts Association (VAPA), Youth & Culture Center (YCC) Zouk Mikaël, Safadi Cultural Centre/German Dialogpunkt in Tripoli, Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, Lebanon Development Union (LDU), Berytech, Agenda Culturel magazine and Metropolis.

The participants issued a series of recommendations aiming to regulate and promote creative industries such as pushing for clearer and more transparent cultural governmental policies. They noted that there is a great need for management skills in all sectors of cultural art, as well as for human and material resources. They highlighted the role of cultural entrepreneurs in re-defining cultural policies and engaging the private sector and decision-makers in the Arab world. Furthermore, the participants called on culture ministries in the MENA region to give more attention to this sector and for relevant authorities to support creative producers based on the quality of their work.

Lebanese civil society and cultural actors will participate, between the 13 and 15 of May 2012, in the Euro-Mediterranean Forum on Creative Industries and Society, organised at the Dead Sea, in Jordan, by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC). The event is the launch pad of a long-term EUNIC Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Project which will address Democratic Empowerment, Cultural Policy and Creative Economy. The aim is to support the creative sector in the MENA region to redefine cultural policies that respond to the changing socio-political context in the region, to demonstrate the potential of the creative industries, to increase and reshape the scope of cultural exchanges and to strengthen of competitiveness of the sector.

One of the main objectives of the Forum is offering the actors of cultural and civil societies in the region a possibility to meet in order to create a cross-border network. The Forum also aims at gathering the expectations of cultural and civil society partners in order to conceptualise the structure of the long-term EUNIC MENA Project. The Forum is organised, logistically, by EUNIC in collaboration with Al-Rai Center for Studies. The EU Delegation to Jordan is financially supporting the project while the EU Delegation to Lebanon supports some of the representatives of the Lebanese NGOs, additional funds are provided by EUNIC Members.

The event will be attended for the first time by more than 250 representatives of the Creative Industries – cultural operators, artists, NGOs, cultural organisations and institutions, public authorities, EU institutions as well as EUNIC members from the MENA region (Algeria, Egypt,Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia) and the EU. The participants’ fields of expertise include the whole creative sector: Advertising; Architecture; Crafts; Cultural Heritage; Design; Educational and Leisure Software; Fashion; Film, Video and Audiovisual Production; Literature, Libraries and Publishing; Music; Performing Arts and Entertainment; Television, Radio and Internet Broadcasting; Visual Arts. Creative industries not only contribute significantly to the GDP but also they are growing faster than most sectors of the economy and also generating new jobs twice as fast. The forum aims to help policymakers and creative practitioners understand the creative industries better, to identify the needs and suggest ways in which they might be addressed. It should also encourage politicians in the Arab World to take the sector seriously and to develop policies to push the creative industries agenda forward.

The Lebanese delegation, which is led by the President of EUNIC in Lebanon Dr. Dan Stoenescu, First Secretary of the Romanian Embassy and Representative of the Romanian Cultural Institute, will include delegates of the British Council and of the Institut Français du Liban, as well as representatives of civil society and cultural actors such as Maqamat Dance Theatre, Dar Onboz Publishing House, The Visual and Performing Arts Association (VAPA), Youth & Culture Center (YCC) Zouk Mikaël, Safadi Cultural Centre/German Dialogpunkt in Tripoli, Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association, Lebanon Development Union (LDU), Agenda Culturel magazine and Metropolis. The participation of Lebanese NGOs in this event will offer them the opportunity to network and share their know-how and cultural expertise to the emerging civil societies in the region, especially following the “Arab Spring”.

EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, aims at establishing partnerships and networks amongst the European cultural institutes in any one country. In Lebanon, the formation of such a network seeks to better coordinate the activities between the European Cultural centres, organise joint initiatives, and respond collectively to European open calls for proposals in order to benefit from additional cultural funding. The members of the Lebanese cluster of EUNIC are – The British Council, the Goethe Institut, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Instituto Italiano di Cultura, Instituto Cervantes, the Danish Cultural Institute and the Institut Français du Liban.

Posted by: Lebanon Development Union | April 13, 2012

LDU at the heart of the Lebanese Civil Society

LDU is dedicated to invest in the Lebanese civil society development by creating a dynamic platform that unites efforts to bolster women and youth empowerment, foster economic and social entrepreneurship, promote migrants’ empowerment and support education and cultural initiatives.

LDU’s point of strength has been sustainable development through cultural initiatives whether by supporting young artists, building their capacity and offering them venues of interaction with audiences and producing their events, or by promoting the dialogue of cultures and conflict resolution through cultural exchanges.

Another area of intervention is spreading awareness on intellectual property rights and helping young artists benefit from existing laws and mechanisms. Furthermore, we have been working with at-risk-youth groups and delinquents to extract them from the streets and channel their energy and potential towards civic engagement and self-development.

On women’s empowerment, we have conducted so far 3 training courses on Microsoft and Internet use for disadvantaged women. The trainings were turning points in those women’s lives as it opened professional opportunities for those who were unemployed and empowered those who already have a job. So far, 55 women benefited from these trainings and we look forward to take this program to different areas of Lebanon. In addition to this, we are currently working on launching a social media training designed to promote women home businesses.

Youth wise, in addition to our work on empowering and supporting young talents, we are about to launch a citizen journalism program which promotes the mobilization and empowerment of civil society activists for inclusion and citizenship by training a cross-confessional group of university students (undergraduates) from throughout Lebanon on citizen-journalism designed to increase their awareness and involvement in public issues related to local governments and governance, gender and women issues, and sustainable development with a focus on environmental issues.

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