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The TARGETED-MPI launching Event at AUB: a major step in institutionalizing Gender Equality in its business school

The Spring semester 2022 has been a fruitful one at the American University of Beirut (AUB) with the successful launching event of the TARGETED-MPI project on November 25, to celebrate the accomplishment of the first phase implementation of its GEPs. Over 60 participants, representing AUB academic and administrative leaders, as well as external stakeholders gathered on this eventful day to witness the journey “Towards Gender Equality Plans in Business and Management (B&M) Schools”.

The event was inaugurated by speech of AUB president Dr. Fadlo Khuri, which announced the establishment of a DEI office and announced AUB’s DEI commitment statement, which was one of the major accomplishments of the TARGETED-MPI project. Similarly, the Dean of the Olayan School of Business shared the school’s DEI commitment statement, marking thus the achievement of AUB’s first objective: Institutionalizing Gender equality.

The EU head of cooperation at the delegation of the EU in Lebanon, Alessandra Viezzer, who attended the event delivered a speech to reiterate the European Union’s support to Gender Equality (GE) in Higher Education and Research Organizations. She asserted that the EU is committed to  gender equality, equal opportunities to thrive and equal leadership opportunities.

The TARGETED-MPI AUB team, Drs. Fida Afiouni and Yasmeen Makarem presented the implementation progress of the Gender Equality Plan at OSB. Three major objectives have been implemented: (1) Institutionalize Gender Equality, (2) collect sex disaggregated data, and (3) ensure inclusive HR practices.

“I am proud of OSB at AUB for its courage and commitment. Courage to commit to the TARGETED-MPI project, courage to acknowledge that despite our best intentions, things are not perfect,” said Dr. Fida Afiouni, associate provost, associate professor of human resource management, and founding partner of the Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership (CIBL), who is leading the TARGETED-MPI project at AUB OSB.

Prior to the launching event, the first 13 months of the project were spent on developing the AUB OSB gender equality plans, ensuring that they are well aligned with the national and institutional contexts in relation to gender equality issues, and filling a gap in the existing national and institutional gender equality related policies.

 “We have done the preparatory work in the first two years to identify gender issues and develop our gender equality plans, and now we have started the implementation. That’s why this launching event is important to mark this milestone, as the work will now become visible,” Afiouni commented.

“We can’t implement gender equality plans at the school or within our curriculum, pedagogy, and research without challenging existing governance structures and working towards institutional change,” said Dr. Yasmeen Makarem, human resource development professor and co-principal investigator within the TARGETED-MPI project at OSB.

Following the launching event, AUB had announced the appointment of Mitra Tauk to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) officer to further the work already underway at AUB to foster a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within our community. To further these efforts, AUB and OSB have adopted a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement that was drafted by the TARGETED-MPI AUB team. Below is the OSB’s commitment statement

The Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut is committed to fostering an inclusive community which promotes a culture of diversity, equality, equity and inclusion. We strive to uphold an environment in which the rights and dignity of all its faculty, staff and students are respected. In order for OSB to remain a leading business school, we strive to continue making the above values embedded in all of our activities. We are committed to the implementation of  transparent policies, practices and procedures that allow everyone to grow, flourish and develop a sense of belonging. We count on the support of the OSB community to ensure an inclusive workplace for all.​