Bridging equality to the Middle East through volunteer-driven technology education: lessons learned from a revolutionary Beirut
2019-12-27, 18:00–19:00, ChaosZone Stage

Lebanon is experiencing a revolution, a system shift, from which the Western media remains largely silent. Entrepreneurs, particularly women are playing a critical role now when the society will be rebuilt. To support the much-needed creation of solutions to tackle corruption, inequality and the lack of democracy, a team of rebel academics and culture hackers, both men and women, have established a cross-country knowledge-sharing platform called WTSUP!. We will share experiences of doing culture hacking in Lebanon and hear what is the current entrepreneurial reality for women in Beirut via live stream.

The talk is about stories from Beirut, related to WTSUP! platform, which is a volunteer-powered initiative that focuses on the education of women entrepreneurs via events and in the future via cross-country programs. How exactly? We will present, both live on stage and with a connection from Beirut with Priscilla Sharuk, issues related to building a community around equality, volunteerism, and transparency.  The talk also covers the pilot event 2019, where the education consistent specific tech lectures, but also aspects such as sexual harassment and corruption. The initiative is research-driven, where the research aim is to study how empowering women through tech-driven entrepreneurship and leverage the societal status might affect on peacebuilding in the region. 

Finally, the presentation looks positively towards the future changes and to the forthcoming non-commercial event in Beirut, March 2020 that has a core focus on sustainability and content is aligned with UNs Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to giving training on entrepreneurship and resilience, there are also sidetracks on governance innovations. Content is participatory, the 2020 event is open for volunteers from Europe and Lebanon to suggest workshops or mentoring for local female talents. The long term aim is to bridge technology-driven communities between the Nordics, Germany and Lebanon, and in the future scale the initiative wider to the MENA region.