To conclude her keynote address at the February 4 closing ceremony of MEPI LAA’s “NGOs are Stronger Together Project,”
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard urged the 190 attendees to rally their fellow citizens and vote in the May 2017 parliamentary elections – Lebanon’s first parliamentary elections in eight years. She asked that civil society mobilize, in particular,
first-time new generation voters. A large turnout, Ambassador Richard emphasized, would help ensure that parliamentarians will be responsive to the Lebanese electorate. An engaged citizenry, she emphasized, is vital to keeping politicians accountable. As she underscored, “active citizenship is the core building block of democracy.”
Ambassador Richard complimented MEPI LAA and the many NGOs that participated in the “NGOs are Stronger Together” project for enlisting the private sector in the project’s youth empowerment component. This entailed offering employment counseling to over 200 young adults. She asked MEPI LAA keep her apprised about their employment
The Ambassador reiterated MEPI LAA President Youssef Sfeir’s comment that “civil society is the conscience of Lebanon,” stressing that “civil society activists like yourself are at the forefront of promoting reform.” She encouraged participants to continue collaborating to build a better Lebanon.