Kicking off the Syrian Lawyers Initiative: Phase 2
On Sunday November 9th, The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid kicked off the second phase of the Syrian Lawyers Initiative (SLI) at the Belle Vue Hotel in Amman. SLI is a capacity-building project that works to equip Syrian lawyers in Jordan with the skills to better serve their communities and in the future, become active players in the build-up of a Syrian civil society. The first phase of the SLI was comprised of a series of workshops that covered a variety of topics including the importance of humanitarian principles, legal empowerment, personal status law and elements of psychosocial support. The second phase aims to build on the skills obtained during the first phase of the program, as well as providing a space for these lawyers to discuss their role in providing support for their communities, both now and in the future.
50 lawyers from around Jordan attended the introductory session, which started with a short presentation from Project Officer Louise Julin about the goals and objectives of the program as well as a screening of the SLI movie “Sixty Syrian Lawyers Speak Out”, filmed during the last phase of the project. Following the introduction, the participating lawyers watched clips from the documentary film “Confronting the Truth” focusing on reconciliation and truth-commissions in post-conflict countries including Morocco, Peru and South Africa. The videos, all emotionally packed, helped to establish well-rounded conversations amongst the Syrian lawyers about the role of the community, the government, and the victims during thepost-conflict period. As one of the attorney’s mentioned, after seeing the video clips, “We must take the experiences as told to us by the victims and ensure that we do not make the same mistakes again.” The deliberations that followed discussed the role that lawyers can play in tending to the needs of Syrian victims, as well as the legal aspects of seeking justice in post-conflict settings.
In the afternoon, ARDD-Legal Aid Capacity-Building Unit Manager Dr. Sana Abdo conducted a session on leadership. She and the lawyers discussed theories of leadership, what makes a good and bad leader, gendered aspects of leadership as well as doing many practical exercises and leadership. One exercise aimed to discuss perceived differences between men and women in the context of leadership. Dr. Sana read out various jobs and leadership roles and the lawyers had to decide if men or women were better suited for this particular role. The exercise created a lot discussion and in the end the participants agreed that both men and women can play an active role in leadership.
The introductory session was a huge success and will be followed by a range of sessions covering a variety of topics. Through SLI ARDD-Legal Aid is investing in the human capital of Syrian lawyers in Jordan, helping to ensure that they can have a positive impact on their communities whatever their future may hold.