Lebanon: building peace through ‘art for everyone’, with the help of the European Endowment for Democracy

September 4, 2017
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In a remote and volatile corner of Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, close to the Syrian border, one NGO is working to break down barriers and heal community divisions through music and arts, with the support of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED).

‘Peace of Art’ (PoA) is a humanitarian organisation and fine arts academy in operation since 2016. The first of its kind in the region, the organisation has received support from EED to provide professional artistic and educational training for young people in the area.

“The mission of Peace of Art is to spread peace,” says Mehdi Yehya, the organisation’s Founder and Director. “Our slogan is ‘Art for Everyone’ and we try to keep that as our guiding principle in everything we do.”

“Our goal is to empower and engage both local Lebanese youth and Syrians to live in dignity, to eliminate exclusion and foster a culture of peace based on values of mutual respect and acceptance of others,” he adds.

“We do this by offering a common space to bring people from different backgrounds together to learn, play and enjoy music and the arts.”

PoA is now an ever-expanding academy offering tuition in guitar, piano, violin, and traditional instruments such as the oud, as well as photography, video editing, drawing, civic education and language courses.

With most of the classes provided free-of-charge, the academy relies on a network of dedicated volunteers.

Since starting in 2016, more than 100 students have benefited from the organisation. The EED’s support has come at just the right time.

“We are very well organised and we have a list of goals,” said Yehya. “We invest a lot of time into making sure that what we are providing corresponds to the needs of our constituents. EED’s support will be invaluable in enabling us to make our vision more concrete and bring it to the next level.”

“In this area, we are building democracy from scratch. Here we start with a shared space, shared music and arts. The aim is to instil empathy and inspire young people towards a peaceful coexistence and democratic future.”


Read more

Press release

Peace of Art website

EED website

Countries covered:

  • Lebanon
Human Rights