“Love and War on the Rooftop” The True Story of Militants Turned Theater Actors and Friends

June 30, 2016
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm
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About the Event 

Lebanon is a country that continues to pay the price as a result of civil war and sectarian tensions, both in Lebanon and within the region. Radicalization among segments of the population is growing, and joining ISIS and other terrorist groups is seen as a heroic option by many who live in areas close to the Syrian-Lebanon border. Extremist groups have been especially successful in recruiting the young, poor, unemployed, and frustrated from Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city, by promising a new identity and a sense of belonging. Two deeply impoverished neighborhoods, divided along political and sectarian lines, have experienced dozens of instances of violent conflict between the Sunnis and the Alawites in the past few years. Please join the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy for a screening of the documentary, Love and War on the Rooftop, which chronicles the story of former militants and sworn enemies turned theater actors and friends, and recounts the process that led to this successful transformation. 

Followed by a conversation with:

  • Lea Baroudi, Reagan-Fascell Fellow
  • Karen Farrell, National Endowment for Democracy

With introductory remarks by:

  • Sally Blair, International Forum for Democratic Studies

About the Speakers

Lea Baroudi is a Lebanese activist working to foster ethnic and religious pluralism in the face of rising extremism through peacebuilding activities that focus on the use of freedom of expression as a catalyst for tolerance. She is the co-founder and general coordinator of MARCH, an NED-funded, Beirut-based, civil society organization that seeks to strengthen civil rights, engender tolerance, foster diversity, and promote equality in Lebanon. Under her leadership, MARCH successfully lobbied for laws to lift censorship and mobilized public support for freedom of expression. Ms. Baroudi’s efforts to fight for women’s rights have received praise from the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation which recently named MARCH as one of the most successful organizations for advocacy and policy dialogue in the Mediterranean region. A certified professional mediator, Ms. Baroudi specializes in inter-faith and sectarian mediation and has initiated and worked actively on peacebuilding projects that use art and culture to resolve conflict and counter radicalization among youth in Lebanon. During her fellowship, Ms. Baroudi is researching ways to expand a project that transforms groups of young militants from opposing sides of conflict in Lebanon into theater actors and friends.

Karen Farrell is a Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy where she oversees NED programs in Lebanon, and the rest of the Levant. These programs provide a range of support to civic activists, including those combating censorship, strengthening conflict resolution, enhancing government oversight, and providing alternative platforms for independent voices. Prior to joining the Endowment, Karen led the information team at USAID’s then Center for Democracy and Governance, oversaw human rights documentation efforts in Ramallah, and served as political affairs editor in Jerusalem.

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