Q&A with Smart ESA’s Jihad Bitar on upcoming hackathon and future plans for the accelerator

Reading Time: 8 minutes The middle of 2020 is seeing three virtual hackathons—the first that are being staged in Lebanon in the space of just two weeks, from June 27 until July 10. Organized by the MIT Lebanon challenge, the American University of Beirut, and the Smart ESA accelerator at the Ecole Superieure des Affaires, all three separate hackathons

Teams in MIT hackathon give Lebanon’s virtual salvation their best try

Reading Time: 6 minutes The only things that are growing fast are bouts of desperation and the holes in people’s pockets. At least that’s the popular impression of the Lebanese crisis, one that can locally be reinforced by a trip to any supermarket and that has in recent weeks further been exacerbated by superficial and repetitive international media reporting.

Questions on data, policy design, and usefulness of assumptions

Reading Time: 11 minutes Economic man is a curious construct. Once thought to be a being superior to the common human in his pursuit of value creation and profit generation, the image of this specialized imaginary human subspecies has fundamentally changed. In fact, economic man has reached a point where some contemporary economists describe this model as emotionally dysfunctional—proposing

The Lebanese people have the right to know and the capacity to contribute to their economic rescue

Reading Time: 7 minutes Three men in suits, with the carefully groomed looks of advanced-middle-age males, stand on Beirut’s landmark cliff and contemplate the mysteries of the sea that looms some 150 feet below them. One is a reputed banking economist, one a famous government technocrat, and one, with a much cheaper suit, the driver/bodyguard that brought them to

Doomed to repeat?

Reading Time: 2 minutes When I was a kid, around five or six years old, I had two neighbors, Dalal and Claude. I was fascinated by them; I wanted to be like them. They were maybe 16 or 17 years old, and what they did in 1975 was grab white flags and head to Downtown Beirut to chase the

Lebanon needs a national strategy for education

Reading Time: 4 minutes The academic year 2019-2020 has been the most dysfunctional one Lebanon has experienced in recent memory. It has also highlighted discrepancies in the quality of education that high-income families have access to versus that which low income families can afford. This inequality needs to be addressed and rectified if Lebanon is to place its hope

British ambassador outlines prospects of bilateral relations and economic interaction between London and Beirut

Reading Time: 13 minutes The situation may change, but trusted relations remain. Lebanon’s economy today needs honest interaction and connectivity to long-standing partners more than ever before in the history of this state. The United Kingdom is a partner country at the (from Lebanese geographic perspective) far end of Europe that has had engaged with Lebanon in significant ways

Lebanon’s experience with distance learning

Reading Time: 12 minutes As students across the world got ready for their first day back at school last fall, they could not have known that they would be spending almost all of the last trimester at home, communicating virtually with their teachers and deprived of the usually enjoyable social elements of campus life such as recess or after-school

In pictures: Protests and clashes in Downtown Beirut

Reading Time: 2 minutes On June 6, thousands of protesters gathered in Downtown Beirut starting at 3 p.m. in the largest protest since the COVID-19 lockdown went into force. Demonstrators were protesting the impacts of the ongoing economic and coronavirus crises that have seen the value of the local currency plummet. Initial peaceful protests soon became heated as supporters

The impact of Lebanon’s economic woes on schools and parents

Reading Time: 9 minutes Lebanon’s fee paying private schools—which cater to 52.6 percent of the student body in Lebanon or 564,446 students out of 1,073,141 as per the 2018-2019 statistical bulletin compiled by the Center for Educational Research and Development—are in grave danger of falling victim to the ongoing economic crisis plaguing the country. As Executive reported back in

RAMCO strike a key moment for labor rights in Lebanon

Reading Time: 3 minutes In early April, about 400 foreign employees of RAMCO, a Lebanese construction, facility, and waste management company, went on strike to demand payment in US dollars and better working conditions. The strike, believed to be the first of its kind among foreign laborers in Lebanon, could set an example for other groups of workers demanding

Futures in question as losses hit Lebanese car importers

Reading Time: < 1 minute Citing a 91 percent year-on-year drop in registration numbers of new motor vehicles in April 2020, member companies of the AIA Lebanon (Association des Importateurs d’Automobiles au Liban) fear widespread business closures that could lead to losses of about 10,000 direct jobs. Naming financial barriers, the AIA in a letter of alarm points to “impossibility

Impacts of the Greater Beirut Water Supply Project

Reading Time: 6 minutes The planned Bisri Dam and reservoir is but one component of the World Bank-funded Greater Beirut Water Supply Project (GBWSP) that claims it will increase short-term supply of potable water to Greater Beirut by 250,000 cubic meters per day (m3/d) with approximately 1.6 million residents expected to benefit, including 460,000 low-income residents. The GBWSP goes

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