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Project News: ICMPD facilitates gender awareness at the LAF Military Academy in Beirut

13 November 2020

On Monday 9 November, the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), and ICMPD, launched a cycle of gender awareness sessions at the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Military Academy in Beirut for the second year cadets enrolled in 2020. This is the first promotion in which women and men train together as officers at the Academy.

The event was organised to inaugurate the delivery of customised gender awareness to the future officers graduating from the Military Academy. It included a keynote speech delivered by the Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon and saw the participation of UN Women, the National Commission for Lebanese Women, ICMPD, and the British Advisory Support Team. LAF trainers showcased some of the exercises in the module, involving the audience in an interactive exchange.

The Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon, H.E. Monika Schmutz Kirgöz, congratulated LAF leadership for their willingness to “move ahead and work towards the full participation of women”, including in “operational and leadership positions”. In the context of the project Swiss Support to Integrated Border Management in Lebanon (Phase 2), funded by SEM, ICMPD together with the ICMPD-trained LAF trainers, developed a customised module, tailored to the specific needs of the Military Academy. This is in line with national developments in Lebanon, such as the adoption in 2019 of the National Action Plan (NAP) on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. As stated by Ms Rachel Dore-Week, Country Programme Manager at UN Women, a key component of the implementation of the NAP ‘is ensuring that more women join the ranks of military agencies’, for reasons that speakers and participants expanded on during their interventions.

The customised module was then showcased by three LAF trainers trained under the project, who brainstormed on a few key questions from the module with the 100 invitees. The audience identified characteristics of men and women, understood the difference between gender and sex, the dangers of stereotypes, defined key gender terms and explained steps to reach gender equality, including positive discrimination. The showcase focused specifically on gender and security, the expectations of the cadets and the roles of women and men in the LAF.

It is hoped that gender awareness with the Military Academy will pave the way to further collaboration with LAF for a more systematic inclusion of gender in LAF’s training curricula, whilst supporting ongoing efforts to increase women’s representation and participation in the ranks of LAF by contributing to a more inclusive and safer working environment.

More information on Swiss Support to Integrated Border Management in Lebanon (Phase II) can be found here.