Webinar: Activism and Social Movements in Lebanon after the 2019 Uprising

This webinar will be organized on the 24th of November from 14:00-15:30 (Finnish time, GMT +2) via Zoom. Registration is open until the 23rd of November. You can register for the event in here. A Zoom-link will be sent to the participants before the event.

The Lebanese took to the streets in October 2019 in an unprecedented fashion calling for fundamental change to the ways in which the country has been ruled since the end of its Civil War in 1990. What followed, however, was a deepening series of crises which have left few Lebanese unscathed. Hyperinflation. Serious fuel and electricity shortages. Teetering education and health sectors. Mass emigration. The list could go on. This plunge into dark times has been compounded by the global COVID-pandemic, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history at Beirut’s port on 4 August 2020, and more recently, renewed armed clashes in Beirut claiming multiple lives.

This webinar will focus on the conditions of possibility and impossibility of activism in Lebanon in such conjuncture. What has become of the new political movements and organizations that participated in or emerged from the 2019 uprising? How have the ruling parties reacted to the changed circumstances? What are the main lines uniting and dividing the field of activism at present? Which arenas of action hold promise for those still at work toward another Lebanon? What traces of the 2019 uprising remain in the present day?   

In this webinar, organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East and the Finnish Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation, such questions will be tackled in short presentations by sociologist Rima Majed and organizer and podcaster Nizar Hassan, followed by a discussion and Q&A moderated by doctoral researcher Samuli Lähteenaho.

About the speakers

Rima Majed is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She is currently also a Resident scholar at the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME). Her work focuses on the fields of social inequality, social movements, sectarianism, conflict, and violence. Dr. Majed has completed her PhD at the University of Oxford where she conducted her research on the relationship between structural changes, social mobilization, and sectarianism in Lebanon. She was a visiting fellow at the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University in 2018/19. Dr. Majed is the author of numerous articles and op-eds. Her work has appeared in several journals, books and media platforms such as Social Forces, Mobilization, Routledge Handbook on the Politics of the Middle East, Middle East Law and Governance Journal, Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East, Global Dialogue, Idafat: The Arab Journal of Sociology, Al Jumhuriya, OpenDemocracy, Jacobin, Middle East Eye, CNN and Al Jazeera English. She is also the co-editor of the upcoming book The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution (I.B. Tauris), which she will be completing during her residency at FIME in Fall 2021.

Profile picture of Rima Majed.

Nizar Hassan is a researcher, organizer and content producer born and based in Beirut. He co-hosts The Lebanese Politics Podcast which offers analysis and historical explainers on Lebanese politics and economy. Nizar was one of the founders of the grassroots progressive movement LiHaqqi in 2017, where for the next 4 years he served on the Public Affairs Committee, Organizational Council, and Economic Justice Working Group. Nizar’s research interests revolve around social movements, public policy, and political economy. He holds a Master’s degree in “Labor, Social Movements, and Development” from SOAS in London, where his dissertation analyzed class and power in the 2015 protest movement in Lebanon. An upcoming book chapter of his analyzes the disruptive power and political limitations of road-blockades as a protest tactic in the October 17 2019 uprising. Nizar has also worked as a researcher with non-governmental entities in Lebanon, and has written among others for The New Arab, The Daily Star, L’orient Le Jour, and ROAR Magazine, on political economy and social change in Lebanon.

Profile picture of Nizar Hassan.

Article photo: Shutterstock.