BEIRUT: It was a dark and stormy night Saturday, but over a hundred of Lebanon’s leading women braved the fog and chill to gather at the Beirut Digital District to celebrate six months of successful publishing by Annahar’s Naya section, devoted to covering all aspects of Lebanese womanhood.
Sponsored by BBAC; Flat6Labs; the Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University; and Jai, the celebration brought together movers and shakers from a diversity of fields, for the sole objective of creating a larger community that is willing and able to empower women and generate change in the way society perceives women.
“Over a period of six months, Naya was able to redefine women news and challenge the topics and the ways women stereotypically get covered in the Arab world,” Sally Farhat, Naya Editor, said. “The section has planted the seed of change in this regard but, one hand never clapped on its own; it is thus, important for us to connect to our community and connect this community to each other in order to make sure that this seed gets watered well and that our goal of empowering women gets achieved. That’s exactly why we are all here today.”
The event also played a major role in connecting Naya to the people it reports for: women of different backgrounds, ages, and fields. From political figures, journalists and entrepreneurs, to students, mothers, and even Tetas; Flat6Labs Beirut was transformed into a networking platform were those connected to each other and introduced themselves and their issues to Naya.
“Annahar's publishing initiative represents all upcoming Lebanese women and girls,” said Samira Kawas, Beirut/Hollywood producer. Adding that these women were well represented at the celebration.
“Naya exemplifies all Lebanese women who live by a goal and aim to achieve it in diverse fields,” Rayane Mousallem, sports journalist, added.
A short list of women who participated in the event included: Roula Moussa, CEO of the MENA-wide IT consulting and solutions company, Netways; Lina Abi Rafeh, Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World; Najah Jarroush, first women entrepreneur in the Bekaa area; Samira Kawas, Beirut/Hollywood Producer; Joanna Azzar, journalism professor, media consultant; Maya Nasser, fitness advisor, TV personality, gym owner, and health app inventor; Fatima Cheikh, UNDP government consultant to Lebanon; Chloe Kattar, doctoral historian candidate at Cambridge; Rayane Mousallem, sports journalist; Suehaila Amen, a diplomatic consultant to the Union of Arab Banks; Mira Matar, a journalist from MTV Lebanon; and Charlotte Hamaoui, CEO of publishing house, Turning Point Books.
Former deputy Misbah Ahdab, the father of one teenage girl, noted for Annahar, “I think that women should definitely have a larger role in our society,” adding the importance of reinforcing women’s empowerment.
In addition to Ahdab, a father, a number of prominent businesswomen at the event and featured in the pages of Naya, are moms and talk about that in their Annahar coverage.
MTV’s Matar, noted Naya’s importance in proving that women can do it on their own.
“In only six months, a team of young women (Naya staff) were able to become a voice to all Lebanese women. This section represents me and you and is proof that women are capable of doing anything,” adding that men’s presence in the event was also very important “in challenging the concept of gender and showing that ‘women issues’ are not actually ‘women’ issues but rather ‘human’ issues.”
Beyond the networking, the celebration included a pop-up studio where guests were interviewed about different topics related to women in Lebanon. These interviews will be shortly shared on Naya’s social media platforms (Instagram: @Nayabeirut, Twitter: @beirutnaya).
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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