This profile was prepared when Selim Mawad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Selim's work focuses on educating the young people of Lebanon about the rights and duties of the citizen in politics and empowering them to become full participants in public life. He has created a series of interactive, informal educational programs on the rule of law, citizenship, and good governance. His idea is to integrate Lebanese youth into public institutions regardless of their gender, sect, faction, political affiliation, or economic status, and to foster understanding and reconciliation between those groups. The Sustainable Democracy Center (SDC), which Selim established two years ago, uses a wide variety of tools—from seminars and workshops to games and camps—to raise awareness of transparency and corruption in government and to promote dialogue between opposing groups. The short-term goal of Selim’s work is to create a cadre of what he calls "agents of change.” He provides these young people with the skills and knowledge they need to spread his ideas about transparency and accountability in government to their communities. The problems Selim is addressing aren’t unique to Lebanon. Therefore, his long-term goal is to promote political involvement among citizens across the Arab region, where many countries suffer from high levels of corruption and a lack of political freedom.