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.
For years now I’ve been involved in NGOs and I’m constantly being surprised with how people perceive Board Members and how Board Members themselves perceive their role. To some, a Board is a group of people who endlessly do meetings after meetings with no avail and to others, it’s some mythical, grandiose, elitist group who got special powers to lead the organization. So let me help you demystify all that…
My involvement ranges from small local clubs to a national organizations to branches of international organizations. Irrespective of shape, size or topic of those NGOs, I can easily draw a line of similarity among them.
To start with, the Board is sometimes called Board of Directors, Steering Committee, Executive Board or Executive Committee, so in spite of the naming diversity, the roles and responsibilities stay the same.
So let’s talk about the core of the issue. Board members have 3 key roles that form the pillars of any NGO and are as follows:
Decision Making: Board member are usually the founding members or are elected members that lead the organization. In this context, all major decision making in the organization goes through them. Now it has been noticed over and over again that many Board Members become passive and rather apathetic to decisions being taken, which makes the whole organization go biased towards the opinions of the remaining Board Members. So if you’re on a Board of an NGO and you see this happening around you, don’t freak out, you’re not alone…its a trend!
Yet it’s important to deal with this issue as it is crucial to have all Board Members involved in all decisions or else you’ll start seeing resistance and conflicts arising here and there every once in a while, especially from those same inactive Board Members.
What makes decision making in NGOs different from Private Sector or Governmental Institutions, is the fact that everyone’s opinion matters and most decisions are done either democratically or through consensus, so it should never be a one man show. If it seems to be or become a one man show, then you know it’s about time to change some things…
Organizational/Executive/Functional: In addition to having decision making role, all Board have a distribution of roles and responsibilities where the most common structure is “President, Vice President, General Secretary, Treasurer & Accountant” thus each of those individuals not only has his decision making role, but also a functional role to play, whether it’s taking care of financials, or internal communication or following up on tasks or heading committees..etc. Thus if those tasks and responsibilities are implemented properly, you would’ve successfully built the second pillar of the NGO to ensure that it stands tall and becomes sustainable. When this role is done properly, the internal dynamics of the organization start functioning properly.
Jack-of-All-Traders: Yes you read it right, as soon as you become a Board Member of an NGO you suddenly get to become a jack of all trades as your responsibilities will expand beyond what you expect. So you roll up your sleeves and you start doing tasks related to strategic planning, outreach, public relations, proposal writing, volunteer management, project management, reporting, web development, graphic design, fundraising, training, consulting, event organizing and so on and so forth. So when you’re joining the Board of an NGO, its not just about doing your decision making or your functional role, but you’re expected to be involved at all levels, in all your projects and operations and to become well knowledgeable about them to assist, support and improve what your organization does.
So in a nutshell, I can say those 3 pillars are what makes a healthy Board and thus a healthy organization if they were implemented properly and professionally. If you’re a Board Member, and you feel you’re missing out on any of those…then double check with your team as you are probably holding your organization back because are doing them. Whereas if you’re doing all three and you feel other Board Members aren’t, then its about time you share the workload with them.
On a last note, properly leading an NGO can be as consuming and demanding, if not more demanding, then leading your own company due to the social factor of it and having several decision makers with you on equal levels of authority, ownership and responsibility…
So if you’re a Board Member on an NGO… God bless you! and if you know someone who is…now you know why they do so many meetings! hehehe
Other interesting posts:
- Mentor, Coach & Consultant: What is the Difference?
- Teacher, Trainer & Facilitator: What’s the Difference?
- Creating Organizational Structures that Work
- NGOs, Project Management & Serendipity
- Human Capital Management in NGOs
- 5 Dos & Don’ts of Leading Volunteers
- HARD Goals Vs SMART Goals
- My Two Cents on Leadership
- Secrets of a Great Workplace
- Ideas to Actions
Dear Friends and Readers,
It is with great pride that I share with you the Animation Video for the NGO that is dearest to my heart, Aie Serve. In this context, I invite you to watch the video, check the website, the Facebook Page join the organization or share with me ideas if you’d like to collaborate/partner to better serve the youth!
Dear Friends and Readers,
I hope you’re doing well. I am writing this post to gladly announce that I have been selected to be 1 of 20, from among thousands of applicants worldwide, to be awarded the “Laureate Global Fellowship” as part of the YouthActionNet program by the International Youth Foundation.
Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet strengthens, supports, and celebrates the role of young people in leading positive change in their communities. Each year, 20 exceptional young social entrepreneurs are selected as Fellows following a competitive application process. The year-long Fellowship program includes:
- Networking and Resources
You can read more about the 2012 Laureate Global Fellows Announcement and check my profile and the other 19 Fellows on the Meet the Fellows Page. Moreover, you can better understand Aie Serve, the organization that I’ll be representing, by visiting its Website and its Facebook page.
I’m excited about this year-long fellowship and eager to learn, grow, network and share! 🙂
I have recently been awarded the Ambassador for Peace certificate by the Universal Peace Federation and so it was a delightful surprise to know that I joined a network of leaders from all walks of life all around the world in further promoting Peace, Inter-religious and human development.
Consequently many started asking me, “So what does it really mean? What do you do?” …so here’s a small briefing about it hoping it will quench your curiosity 🙂
What is an Ambassador for Peace?
Ambassadors for Peace are part of a global network of leaders representing thereligious, racial and ethnic diversity of the human family, as well as all disciplines of human endeavor. They stand on the common ground of shared principles and arecommitted to the path of promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers, and building peace.
So what is the Ambassador for Peace Award?
The Ambassador for Peace award honors achievement and signifies a new appointment to a mission to serve the common good.
What do Ambassadors for Peace do?
- Exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others.
- Promote universal moral values, strong family life,inter-religious cooperation, international harmony, renewalof the United Nations, responsible mass media, and the establishment of a global culture of peace.
- Transcend racial, national and religious barriers.
- Contribute to the fulfillment of the hope of all ages, a unified world of peace, wherein the spiritual and material dimensions of life are harmonized.
- Serve as members on national, regional and global peace councils promoting and safeguarding world peace.
- Develop a broad strategic alliance of partnerships among individuals, educational institutions, organizations, reli-gions, corporations, the media and governments.
So I hope you all join me in this life long journey of serving the community, being at peace with ourselves, families and community and further promoting ethical values.
Name of the Organization: International Labour Organization
Motto: Promoting Jobs, Protecting People
To promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.
- Promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights at work
- Create greater opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income
- Enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all
- Strengthen tripartism and social dialogue
Field of Interest:
- Global jobs crisis
- Social protection floor initiative
- Realizing the Millennium Development Goals
- Social Justice and a Fair Globalization
Date of Origin: April 1919
The ILO was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, to reflect the belief that universal and lasting peace can be accomplished only if it is based on social justice.
The Constitution was drafted between January and April, 1919, by the Labour Commission set up by the Peace Conference, which first met in Paris and then in Versailles. The Commission, chaired by Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labour (AFL) in the United States, was composed of representatives from nine countries: Belgium, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It resulted in a tripartite organization, the only one of its kind bringing together representatives of governments, employers and workers in its executive bodies.
Name of Organization: Amnesty International
Date of Origin: July 1961
Founder: Peter Benenson
Motto: It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
Vision: Amnesty International’s vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
Mission: Amnesty International’s mission is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.
Objectives & Work:
Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected for everyone.
They believe human rights abuses anywhere are the concern of people everywhere. So, outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world, they work to improve people’s lives through campaigning and international solidarity.
Their members and supporters exert influence on governments, political bodies, companies and intergovernmental groups. Activists take up human rights issues by mobilizing public pressure through mass demonstrations, vigils and direct lobbying as well as online and offline campaigning.
There are six key areas which Amnesty deals with:
- Women’s, Children’s, Minorities and Indigenous rights
- Ending Torture,
- Abolition of the death penalty
- Rights of Refugees
- Rights of Prisoners of Conscience
- Protection of Human dignity.
In 1961 a British lawyer, Peter Benenson, launched a worldwide campaign, ‘Appeal for Amnesty 1961’ with the publication of a prominent article, ‘The Forgotten Prisoners’, in The Observer newspaper. The imprisonment of two Portuguese students, who had raised their wine glasses in a toast to freedom, moved Benenson to write this article. His appeal was reprinted in other papers across the world and turned out to be the genesis of Amnesty International.
The first international meeting was held in July, with delegates from Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and the US. They decided to establish “a permanent international movement in defense of freedom of opinion and religion”.
A small office and library, staffed by volunteers, opened in Peter Benenson’s chambers, in Mitre Court, London. The ’Threes Network‘ was established through which each Amnesty International group adopted three prisoners from contrasting geographical and political areas, emphasizing the impartiality of the group’s work.
On Human Rights Day, 10 December 1961, the first Amnesty candle was lit in the church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
In January 1962 the first research trip was undertaken. This trip to Ghana, was followed by Czechoslovakia in February (on behalf of a prisoner of conscience, Archbishop Josef Beran), and then to Portugal and East Germany.
The Prisoner of Conscience Fund was established to provide relief to prisoners and their families. AI’s first annual report was published; it contained details of 210 prisoners who had been adopted by 70 groups in seven countries; in addition, 1,200 cases were documented in the Prisoners of Conscience Library.
At a conference in Belgium, a decision was made to set up a permanent organization that will be known as Amnesty International.
In 1963, Amnesty International now comprised 350 groups – there was a two-year total of 770 prisoners adopted and 140 released. The International Secretariat (Amnesty International’s headquarters) was established in London.
Name of Organization: UNESCO – United Nations Education, Science, Culture, Communication & Information Organization
Date of Origin: The Constitution of UNESCO, signed on 16 November 1945, came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries.
Motto: Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.
Mission: UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information
- Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning
- Mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development
- Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges
- Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace
- Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication
Predecessors of UNESCO:
The International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation (CICI), Geneva 1922-1946, and its executing agency, the International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation (IICI), Paris, 1925-1946.
The International Bureau of Education (IBE), Geneva, 1925-1968; since 1969 IBE has been part of the UNESCO Secretariat under its own statutes.
As early as 1942, in wartime, the governments of the European countries, which were confronting Nazi Germany and its allies, met in the United Kingdom for the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME). The Second World War was far from over, yet those countries were looking for ways and means to reconstruct their systems of education once peace was restored. Very quickly, the project gained momentum and soon took on a universal note. New governments, including that of the United States, decided to join in.
Upon the proposal of CAME, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London from 1 to 16 November 1945. Scarcely had the war ended when the conference opened. It gathered together the representatives of forty-four countries who decided to create an organization that would embody a genuine culture of peace. In their eyes, the new organization must establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and, in so doing, prevent the outbreak of another world war.
At the end of the conference, thirty-seven countries founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Constitution of UNESCO, signed on 16 November 1945, came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. The first session of the General Conference of UNESCO was held in Paris from 19 November to 10 December 1946 with the participation of representatives from 30 governments entitled to vote.
The political divisions of the Second World War marked the composition of the founding Member States of UNESCO. It was not until 1951 that Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany became Members, and Spain was accepted in 1953. Other major historical factors, such as the Cold War, the decolonization process and the dissolution of the USSR, also left their trace on UNESCO. The USSR joined UNESCO in 1954 and was replaced by the Russian Federation in 1992 alongside 12 former Soviet republics. Nineteen African states became Members in the 1960s.
As a consequence of its entry into the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China has been the only legitimate representative of China at UNESCO since 1971. The German Democratic Republic was a Member from 1972 to 1990, when it joined the Federal Republic of Germany.
Some countries withdrew from the Organization for political reasons at various points in time, but they have today all rejoined UNESCO. South Africa was absent from 1957 to 1994, the United States of America between 1985 to 2003, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1986 to 1997 and Singapore from 1986 to 2007.