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During a training, legal aid practioners prepare to offer services in Northern Lebanon.
On November 30, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held an event to launch a new legal training and public service program in northern Lebanon. Many residents in northern Lebanon lack access to legal services, which are centered primarily in Beirut. To address this need, the program will create a legal aid and mediation services center in northern Lebanon. The Center, which will open in January 2010, will offer services to juvenile defendants, at-risk children, stateless persons and refugees. It will also support the Tripoli Bar Association in creating a fellowship program to train young lawyers on practical legal skills.
More than 200 people attended the launch event, including Minister of State Mona Afeich and representatives from international organizations. Also in attendance were the ambassadors of Denmark and the Netherlands, whose embassies are funding the program. ABA ROLI Senior Program Coordinator Reina Sfeir provided remarks, describing ABA ROLI and the program goals. The event received significant local press coverage.
The first phase will be an intensive, one-month training program for 30 lawyers, 15 of whom will go on to participate in the 15-month fellowship program with the Tripoli Bar Association. The initial training program will cover professional ethics, client interviewing, client counseling, leadership skills, negotiation skills, international human rights law and issues of arbitrary detention and torture.
The program is built on a partnership between ABA ROLI and the Tripoli Bar Association, and includes partnerships with the Father Afif Osseirane Foundation, the Center for Professional Mediation at Saint Joseph University and Firas Abi Younes, a local lawyer.
ABA ROLI has been active in Lebanon since 2007, and the program in Tripoli is a significant achievement as ABA ROLI extends its programming to new regions of Lebanon.
To learn more about our work in Lebanon, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.