Beirut, February 1, 2018 – On Tuesday, the 30th of January 2018, five Haigazian University students from the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics presented their campaign entitled “Rise Lebanon” to combat religious hatred and extremism at the finals of the “Peer to Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge”. Held at the National Union Building in Washington, D.C., the HU team was placed third among 82 competing international universities, winning a prize of 5,000 USD.
Founded in 2015 by Facebook and EdVenture Partners, “Peer to Peer” is a global competition that aims at creating social and digital media campaigns by university students to counter online hate and extremism in ways that are credible, authentic and believable to their peers, and localized to each of their communities or regions.
The Haigazian University team was comprised of students Mohamad Bashir, Maya Skaini, Sally Mansour, Ali Termos, and Harout Tchilinguirian, all students in a course entitled “Integrated Marketing Communications and Market Research”. They were accompanied by their advisor/mentor, Dr. Priyan Khakhar. Students Khajag Barsoumian and Siham Hneini, who had participated in the campaign, were unable to join them, as groups were limited to five participants.
The team presented its campaign and recommendations to a panel of expert judges composed of international media representatives, policy makers, diplomats and academicians. A number of senior staff of the Lebanese Embassy in the Washington, DC also attended the event, showing great interest, appreciation and support.
Alongside this honor, the newly appointed Lebanese Ambassador to the USA, H.E. Mr. Gabriel Issa, hosted the Haigazian delegation in his Embassy office. Ambassador Issa discussed the students’ campaign of respecting individuality and showing empathy, and highly praised the role the University is playing in the Lebanese educational arena. On behalf of President Paul Haidostian, Dr. Khakhar presented the Ambassador with a replica of the quill on the University’s shield on this special occasion.
The team also had the unique chance of being invited to attend a roundtable discussion with policy makers at the U.S. State Department. It was attended by representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Countering Violent Extremism. Government officials followed HU’s presentation with great attention and interest.
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