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United Nations Information Centre in Beirut launches one-year partnership with “Assabil” Organization

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27 September 2017
United Nations Information Centre in Beirut launches one-year partnership with “Assabil” Organization
The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Beirut launched today a one-year partnership with the non-governmental organization “Assabil”, which encourages reading by establishing, supporting and promoting accessible free public libraries all over Lebanon. This partnership falls under the fourth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (Quality Education), which urges all learners to acquire knowledge and skills needed to support sustainable development, promote a culture of peace, non-violence and global citizenship, and appreciate cultural diversity and the role of culture in sustainable development. This partnership also falls under the 17th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (Partnerships for the Goals) which urges similar partnerships for the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The partnership includes various activities that will be implemented throughout the year, including: Educational Courses for students and schools visiting the libraries affiliated with the “Assabil” on the SDGs, the UN’s “Together” campaign to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants, and the Culture of Peace; Movie Screenings on the UN’s international, regional and local work; and Book Reviews on UN priorities.

UNIC Beirut and “Assabil” will also commemorate together UN International Days, including International Women's Day (8 March), World Book and Copyright Day (23 April), and UN Arabic Language Day (18 December), among others.

In that regard, UNIC Beirut Acting Director Margo El-Helou said that encouraging reading and visiting libraries are basics that must be focused on amidst the electronic revolution the world is experiencing today. She pointed out to the importance of the partnership with “Assabil” in raising awareness about the UN and its priorities in Lebanon and the region, particularly since the NGO attracts thousands of students during the academic year. Commenting on joint activities that will be implemented, Helou said the aim is to involve libraries and their visitors in the process of achieving sustainable development and the 17 Global Goals, a process that the UN has already embarked on with its various partners since the beginning of 2016.

“Assabil” President Maud Stephan Hachem, for her part, said this partnership is an honor for the NGO, which – through its activities - meets UN’s goals of promoting a culture of peace, adding that this was an opportunity to reach out to a vast audience of students to achieve the common goals. Hachem said that Assabil’s libraries constitute a space for meeting and dialogue among various categories of society in Lebanon that allows for learning about diverse cultures and enhances mutual respect. She concluded that these libraries provide knowledge resources that help everyone develop their abilities and skills; and work to spread the habit of reading among young people as a cornerstone of self-growth and development of critical thinking.

ASSABIL is a non-governmental organization established in 1997 to encourage all people to visit public libraries and benefit from the unlimited information they provide free of charge. It organizes frequent cultural and social activities in its libraries, and provides advisory services to individuals and associations interested in establishing public libraries. Assabil runs a mobile public library that works with public schools and associations dealing with marginalized groups.