Reflections on the 2016 Spring Meetings and Civil Society Forums

By Ghewa Srour 

I had the chance to attend the 2016 Civil Society Policy Forum hosted by the World Bank group and IMF, which took place between April 15 and April 17 in Washington DC. It was a great experience through which I had the chance to meet great people from all over the world who are trying to make changes in the societies.

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama joined President Jim Yong Kim, and called on world leaders to invest in the education of adolescent girls. The Syrian refugees crisis was also a point on the agenda, Her Majesty Queen Rania talked about the situation of Syrian refugees and Jordan and insisted on educating them and that a year without school is losing a whole generation. On the other hand, the Lebanese minister of higher education  

I was the first question to be given to the panel during that session...

Elias Bou Saab who was part of the Forced Displacement: A Global Development Challenge, also talked about the situation of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and all the challenges which the government and the citizens are facing. One of these challenges was mentioned by me (I was the first question to be given to the panel during that session) when I was asking the minister about the strategy they are following to help Syrian children get engaged in the Lebanese schools, since the Syrian educational curriculum is in arabic, they learn everything in Arabic Language, whereas in Lebanon the educational curriculum is mixed between English/French Language and Arabic Language. So when Syrian kids are joining Lebanese schools, they are unable to understand the lessons since they are not in Arabic Language as they got used to learn. For this, minister Elias Bou Saad mentioned that they started a new program for helping Syrian children get extra English/ French sessions so that they can follow up with there friends and avoid losing more of their educational years so that we do not use a whole generation.

In the end, the whole forums and events where closed with a session which hosted the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Bill Gates and others to talk about a new vision for financing development. 

It was a great experience and an amazing opportunity to visit DC for the first time, and get awesome new connections from all over the globe.