UMAM D&R began work in 2005 with an exclusively Lebanese focus. Its guiding philosophy was based on the notion that serious, sustainable change was all but impossible, and that real modifications to existing sociopolitical practices could not be anticipated in the future without first conducting a detailed audit of Lebanon’s past—particularly its near-term, conflict-laden, war-loaded past.
Over the course of UMAM D&R’s existence, the tide has sometimes carried its efforts forward, while at others the local context seemed fully, if not inordinately opposed to the approaches it advocated.
During many of those years, Lebanon’s instability—which often verged on full-blown war—was the only persistent exception to regional stability. Today, however, the entire Middle East has been shaken by “sectarian polarization,” “radicalization” and “terrorism.”
Notably, this regional instability demonstrates (among other things) the calamitous effects of ignoring the past, and that the deep roots of those challenges have already reached the present.
Where Lebanon is concerned, the ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria and the vast influx of refugees conspire not only to create new problems, but also to revive and rejuvenate old fears.
With its organizational philosophy now validated, UMAM D&R must adapt to, and overcome additional challenges, such as keeping pace with the regional situation while remaining committed to its original, Lebanon-centric concerns. [Read more]