I’m glad to share with you the below interview/article written about me and published in Project Management Institute (PMI’s) International Development Community of Practice. Link to the official article on PMI’s website for PMI Members is here.
Enjoy the below and let me know what you think,
As a management consultant and trainer at CMCS Lebanon I assist corporations and NGOs in Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, Human Capital Management, Project & Program Management and Leadership.
I’m especially interested in the fields of Youth Empowerment, Diversity & Acceptance, Leadership, NGO & SME Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Coaching & Consultancy, and Training Techniques.
I’ve participated, organized, trained and was a guest speaker in numerous conferences, camps, workshops, conventions and seminars under Aie Serve, PMI, UNDP, UNESCO, Rotary, Youth Economic Forum, AUB Alumni Council, Arab Economic Form, LAU Peace & Justice Institute among others.
What Does International Development Mean to You?
With our growing interconnected world, global diversity is becoming a key topic on discussion panels as people from all walks of life are becoming interconnected with each other, do business together, volunteer for similar causes, even though they might be thousands of miles away.
Thus respecting differences and accepting the other has become a crucial factor of successful projects, programs and organizations at large, worldwide.
What Are You Most Passionate About?
I’m very passionate about professional volunteering, this has been reflected through the NGOs and clubs I have founded and others that I’m engaged in at the Board level.
Who Is Your Hero & Why?
My biggest hero so far has been my father who was able to balance a very busy life as a doctor with his passion for serving the community and promoting active citizenship along with taking care of his family and private life.
What Is One Strategy for Inclusion that You Can Share?
One of my best strategies is believing in the potential of individuals and focusing on respecting the differences, accepting the other and loving them for their humanity. Every person has a lot of potential to give, it’s just a matter of taking your time to understand them and see things from their perspective, know what they are good at and put it to work. When working in teams, it proves to be the best tool to really utilize the full potential of the team, as you don’t point fingers at them or have a prejudgment that they are incapable, but rather start from the preposition that they have the potential and you’re just there to uncover it.
What Exciting Projects, Programs or Portfolios Are Your Working On?
I’m currently working on 4 very exciting programs in the volunteer youth NGO I’m leading called Aie Serve (www.AieServe.org - http://www.Facebook.com/AieServe). The programs are:
- Aie Power – Platform for Youth to Transfer Project Ideas into Reality
- Aie Consult – Incubator & Consultancy Program for Youth Led NGOs
- Aie Skills – Training Program to Empower Youth with Soft, Life and Managerial skills
- Aie Clubs – Network of Youth Lead Clubs in Universities and Local Areas that do Community Development, Service and Awareness Activities
What Is Your Favorite Book & Author?
I have 3 favorite books:
- Who Moved My Cheese
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
What Have You Done to Change the World? What Will Your Legacy Be?
One of my proudest achievements is Aie Serve, I cannot say enough about it. I co-founded the organization 6 years ago with a group of friends from all walks of life, different countries, different majors, different ethnicity and different interests but with a shared vision: Serving The Community. From there it grew from a group of friends, to a team and an organization.
The true value of Aie Serve is not just what it does, but the fact that it is run completely by volunteers and the way it is managed internally. The core values of the organization drive it, and drive its programs and way of work. Those core values are simple, yet powerful as they make the way to move forward simple and straight forward.
Our values are: Respect, Acceptance & Love.
Respecting others’ point of views and beliefs no matter what, accepting differences and considering them the seeds of diversity and finally, loving others for who they are, and not for their background, ethnicity, beliefs, colour or economic status.
If You Weren’t In Project Management, What Would You Be Doing?
If I wasn’t in project management I would be in the field of talent or human capital management. I believe working with, developing, empowering, and supporting people is absolutely crucial for everything we do in this world. Human potential is infinite, thus those who know how to tap into it, grow it and sustain it, will lead success.
The bellow article is featured on Youth Action Net Website
What began in Tunisia in December 2010 led to the mass demonstrations in Egypt starting on January 25, and now the rest of the Arab world is following. Lebanon is no exception. On February 27th, many Lebanese youth activists gathered for a demonstration against the sectarian system in Lebanon, demanding changes in both the constitution and the way daily governmental business is carried out.
This rising consciousness and refusal to succumb to the status quo is rooted in the same spirit that prompted myself and a group of friends to launch Aie Serve four years ago. Instead of staying silent, we decided to take positive action. Aie Serve is a youth-based, youth-managed, and youth-funded organization dedicated to promoting a culture of volunteerism in Lebanon. Translated from Japanese, aie (pronounced “I”) means love.
The idea for Aie Serve came during the aftermath of the 2006 July War on Lebanon and resulted from the sharp polarization of Lebanese youth along sectarian, political, and religious lines. We started brainstorming ways of tackling this issue and agreed that three basic values were missing in Lebanon: Love, Tolerance, and Respect. We espouse love for others based on who they are and not which political background or sect they are from, while promoting tolerance and respect of others’ point of views and beliefs.
Over time, we started gathering more ideas and people, organizing ourselves while focusing on serving our community and society at-large. Aie Serve evolved from a group of friends, to a group of community-service minded youth, to a team and an organization. Examples of Aie Serve volunteer activities include book and clothing donation drives, reforestation and recycling projects, and assistance to orphans and the elderly.
In the last four years, we’ve experienced exceptional growth in the number of projects we do, our members, and our outreach. The impact we see on the ground is both fulfilling and inspirational. We find volunteerism is now contagious wherever we go. What’s more – in keeping with our mission – we find that caring for others is a universal value that brings people together and bridges divides.
Those around me know quite well that I am an optimist and a hard worker and so I believe that with a vision, hard work, and true commitment a small, dedicated group can achieve great things… and the biggest proof is where Aie Serve stands to day!
Afif Tabsh is Co-founder and voluntary President of Aie Serve. In 2011, he was named one of ten finalists selected for the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement.
Another post that I find myself writing out of surprise and out of being ashamed of my fellow Lebanese.
For years now those in government, have been talking about democracy, about the rule of law, about using institutional channels to work rather than going on the ground, burning tires, closing roads and threatening. I sincerely supported them in the concept of rule of law and all that( though I do not support them in their political views, neither support the other side for sure)
Yet, at the slightest chance of threat to lose their positions in government through the same democratic and institutional patterns, they lose their logic and sense and then directly head to the streets.
Those same politicians who have been warning the Lebanese from any sort of chaos and street fights just few days ago…are now calling on their supporters to go to the street, to block roads, burn tires and participate in showing their “rage” (according to one of their spokesman’s choice of words).
I wonder if any of our politicians (from both sides) and their supporters (and I stress on supporters because I don’t blame the politicians as much as I blame those who vote for them!!!) have any sense of logic and honesty. Any kind of values and principles to live by and look up to…
I sincerely, honestly, deeply feel ashamed of those Lebanese who are cheering for this party or that. I pity those who are actually answering the call to go to the streets, those puppets that easily get exploited by the politicians to provoke chaos in our beloved country.
I dare you to say ENOUGH! Enough hypocrisy! Enough bullshit! Enough spreading fear amongst our streets and homes! ENOUGHHH!!
Well I wasn’t planning on publishing a post today, but the current political stance in Lebanon is just too much for me to stay silent.
I ask myself, and all those reading my post, to take a deep breath and reflect on all what is going on and consider the following.
The US, Saudi Arabia, Syria, France, Qatar, Iran and last but not least Turkey are all supporting the Lebanese sovereignty, civil peace and rule of law. Nevertheless they allow themselves, so freely and so publicly, to engage in Lebanese politics, meet politicians, make deals, negotiate, threaten, support one group over the other…etc.
All that just to ensure our SOVEREIGNTY … ironic right?
Well it doesn’t stop there…they even hold meetings in their own countries (ie Saudi/US meeting in US, Turkey/Qatar/Syrian meeting in Syria..etc) to discuss and agree on HOW should Lebanon be governed in the coming phase. After that they exchange agreements, refuse deals, work on others and they come here to discuss it with the Lebanese politicians (not strictly the officials…they visit anyone and everyone they want from heads of political parties to individual parliamentarians to ex-ministers…etc) …so much for sovereignty!!
Mind you I’m not against diplomacy, international affairs and all the care that Lebanon has always had from the fellow Arab nations and the world, yet I don’t think any country EVER has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs.
It’s funny and sad at the same time to see nations coming to teach us about diplomacy, democracy, rule of law, what’s right and what’s not…yet most of them just support one party and work with them in a way that ignites polarity in the country, links all the politicians’ decisions and actions with what is agreed on outside the country and put pressure on how should our government and officials act and work to suit the international agenda.
Lebanon..my dear beloved country, is struggling …gasping for a breath …and yet all those countries come in to support its sovereignty, but instead of saving it, they’re strangling us all!!!
Ironic…and very very sad
Date of Origin: Late 16th Century – Present (though claims itself to be more than 6,000 years old which is explained bellow).
Historic Significance: Diminishing of religious dominance in Europe and shift to secularism and philosophy of the origin of the universe, of the self and of the living beings.
Origin: A hierarchical fraternity (male brotherhood organization) that provides a space for members to meet, network, learn, discuss and push forward the collective ideas into action while keeping all the inner goings of the organization in secret. The Dominance of Britain and France over major parts of the world through colonies assisted in the wide spread of the fraternity. This lead to the transfer of the Fraternity to the United States, other European countries and the colonies world-wide.
Founders: Politically/Socially Involved Figures, Philosophers, Royal Counselors, Financiers, Traders, Army men. Mostly which had financial/social power and ambitions to go beyond the grip of the religious figures and kings as the representatives of God on Earth.
- Researches, studies, books, press and media publishing. This aims at pushing forward their ideas/plans through all kinds of academic material, novels, researches, business magazines, media, press…etc.
- Rituals, ceremonies, handshakes and symbols involving allegory to actual masonry(building & construction), Geometry, the Zodiac, Judaism and myths. Due to linking to those myths, geometry and old building skills(art of masonry) the fraternity gives itself a mythical start date of 4,000 years before Christ. This aims at creating a spiritual/intellectual attachment, discipline, commitment and loyalty of the members to the organization as something of an older presence than any other organization/state/country.
- Charity, social services (home shelters, educational scholarships, medical assistance, philanthropy through public organizations) this aims at both helping the community and gaining the public’s support and sympathy as people of good heart and intentions.
Organizations Directly Related or Allied to Masonry: