SDG Brain Lab Closing Ceremony

About Global Compact Network Lebanon

Global Compact Network Lebanon is one of the 70 networks around the world working under the guidance of the UN Global Compact Office in New York. We are an independent and self-managed NPO entity with the unique mandate to provide direct local support to our locally-based stakeholders.

At GCNL, we provide opportunities for learning, capacity building, policy dialogue, recognizing leadership to our ecosystem, and aligning them to the UN 10 principles that revolve around Human rights, Labor rights, Environment, and Anti-corruption. This people and planet-centered approach serves the Universal 2030 agenda around the most pressing issues that are featured and measured through the 17 Sustainable Development goals.

About the SDG Brain Lab Programme

The SDG Brain Lab Programme is an accelerator that aims to enable and nurture the change-makers of tomorrow and empower the Lebanese youth between 18 and 24 years old in advancing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda on a national scale. It is a 7-months program that entails 3 main hubs: training hub, a space where participating students can enhance their skill-set and fuel their passion for knowledge, brain hub, a space where participating students can get their voices heard and empowered to come up with scalable entrepreneurial solutions for the most pressing societal and economic challenges, data hub, a space where participating students can practice and advance research for social impact. In this first edition of this program a total of 281 outstanding students from 6 prominent universities have demonstrated their commitment and dedication during this 7-months journey.

Programme outcomes for this academic year:
Overall, 322 students have enrolled in the SDG Brain Lab programme from AUB, LAU, LIU, USJ, UOB, and MUBS. In total, 21 sessions have been delivered across the 3 hubs with the support of 123 experts from various sectors. The programme’s main outcomes can be summarized as such: 281 university students impacted, with 6 competing community projects, and 1 report to be published in July studying the “Behavioural change of the youth of Lebanon towards the SDGs amidst the multiple crises Lebanon has faced since 2019”.

Lebanon, Beirut, 22 June 2022 – The SDG Brain Lab Closing Ceremony took place on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at Beirut Digital District. celebrating the last stretch of the first edition of the SDG Brain Lab programme. CEOs, Experts, UN Representatives, GCNL Board Members, SDG Council, Universities’ Deans, Focal Points, Champions, Interns, GCNL’s Network Members and Friends, and students attended the SDG Brain Lab Closing Ceremony.

The opening remarks were delivered by the master of the ceremony Ms. Alaa Karanouh, Programmes’ Coordinator and Youth Focal Point at the Global Compact Network Lebanon, announcing the beginning of the ceremony and warmly welcoming all the attendees, students and jury.

Believing in the power of the youth, Mrs. Mariam Daher, Executive Director of Forward MENA, expressed the support of the Beirut Digital District team for the new emerging talents and skills, and introduced the importance of Forward Mena for the youth. She highlighted the different projects and initiatives that BDD are working on toward creating a more meaningful workplace for everyone.

“If you are wondering what is the sort of relationship between the Ten Principles and the 17 Sustainable Goals, the way we like to explain it, is that the Ten Principles are timeless, and they are the entry point into sustainability, they ensure that the companies do no harm, that they’re being responsible. The SDGs are a set of Goals that the General Assembly releases every15 years and they are time-bound with very specific targets”, said Mrs. Alexandra Tarazi, Senior Global Operations Manager at the UN Global Compact Office.

Representing the UN Global Compact Network, Mrs. Tarazi,  introduced the UN 2030 agenda. She explained GCNL’s involvement as a network in advancing the global goals and the importance of the UN Global Compact’s work and its stretching impact on the private sector. Stressing on the power of young people as changemakers she said “Thank you all for your incredible participation, you are indeed the hope of this country and all aspirations sit with you”.

Recognizing and embracing all the people who made this programme a huge success, Mrs. Deenah Fakhoury, the Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Lebanon, spoke about the GCNL’s agenda and its pathway towards introducing the youth to the ecosystem, stressing on the importance of starting from the education system to empower the youth and foster their strategic role as the leaders of tomorrow.

Three outstanding SDG Brain Lab participants delivered their testimony on how the programme has shaped their mindset and added to their perspective regarding sustainability in Lebanon.

“As I joined the training hub I reinforced my purpose, understood the connection between the SDGs in a better way to be a good advocate, and through the professional coaches and speakers, my desire of becoming a leader of change grew.” – Elissa Trad, Training Hub participant.

“Expressing desire to stand out of the ideation and the technicity of creating a business model to give the youth a chance to express their worries, concerns, hopes and problems, regarding their life and the SDGs as well, we can’t drive with an empty tank” – Karl Makary, Brain Hub participant.

“This report provided hope for the leaders and advocates in this room, emphasizing the role of youth in raising awareness, spreading motivation, innovating ideas, and developing projects for long-term sustainability and development.” – Nathalie Fakher Eddine, Data Hub participant.

A report about “The behavioral change of the youth in Lebanon towards the SDGs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 amidst the multiple crises Lebanon has faced since 2019” will be published in July showing the research findings and results finalized by the data hub participants during the programme.

Wrapping up their 7-months journey, 6 entrepreneurial projects solving a community challenge around the SDGs related to Environmental, Education, Good health & Well-being, Gender Equality, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, were pitched by the Brain Hub participants who are competing for incubation with Berytech, a prize generously offered by Chalhoub group to the 3 winning projects, selected by a pool of an esteemed jury, Dr. Ursula Al Hage,  Director of Entrepreneurship center at USJ, Dr. Carla Saba, Deputy General Manager at Berytech, Dr. Lara Khabbaz, Director of the Office of Marketing and the Lifelong learning center at NDU, Mrs. Maya Wakim, Community & Admin Manager at makesense Lebanon, Dr. Nada Sweidan, Social and Local Development Officer / Youth Focal Point at UNDP.

  • The first winning project “Relief365” tackled one of the SDG 3 main issues in Lebanon, Good Health and Well-Being. The project idea is to facilitate the journey of cancer patients and their caregivers. They came up with a digital solution that is customer based, user-friendly, and inclusive. They pitched an idea of an application that is first of its kind in the region, offering 24/7 access to a live chat with an oncology-nurse, an open access multidisciplinary approach in symptom management, guidance on available services, and the ability to track and order medications.
  • The second winning project “Tarkeez” focused on SDG 4, Quality Education. The idea is to develop an application called TARKIZ, an ad-free, Arab-friendly application designed for children aged 4-9 years old with ADHD. The aim of this application is to boost memory & concentration skills.
  • The third winning project “Wellness Jackpot” covered another issue revolving around SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being. They talked about an application they want to launch “FUTURE IS FEMALE” that provides young women aged 14 – 18 years in Lebanon with private, affordable and shame-free access to sexual and reproductive on health information, products and services to raise awareness and knowledge level on the importance of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and to break the cultural taboo and sensitivity about this topic and deal with it as an important health concern. 

Having demonstrated commitment, engagement, leadership, interest in sustainability, and willingness for change, 15 participants stood out due to their work ethic and have been thus appointed as SDG Ambassadors for the next academic year 2022- 2023 to represent change in their universities and their immediate environment. Their appointment happened during the closing ceremony and their mandate was read out loud by a distinguished ambassador, Alexandre Rohban.

“Our mission as of today begins; the time has come for us to shine, and spread our message to the world. Armed with our values and our principles, we are ready to follow the path ahead of us”.

As a recognition of their incredible performance during the last 7 months, the participants were awarded with certificates showcasing their commitment, their interest in sustainability, and their drive for change.

Multiple internship opportunities were offered from GCNL’s participating companies to help the students put their knowledge and education into practice, introduce them to the ecosystem, and prepare them for what to expect in their field.

Programme’s next steps:

The SDG Brain Lab journey will continue. A next edition of the programme will take place with a new cohort of students, while keeping our current alumni in deep touch with opportunities they can benefit from. As for this edition, an evaluation will be conducted to optimize the results and study how this programme could scale locally, regionally and globally.

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