Adyan Statement No. 2 on COVID-19: Commitment to Safety, Solidarity, Adaptation, and Transformation
With more than four million cases and 287,355 victims of COVID-19 until this moment, in addition to a huge number of people suffering from the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic, we want to share with you, following our first statement launched on 13 March, Adyan’s new way of engagement and operation based on four pillars: Safety, Solidarity, Adaptation, and Transformation.
The safety of the Adyan team and all involved in our projects is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, we have been working from home for two months. At the same time, we immediately reviewed all projects to assess which activities need to be paused and rescheduled, and which could continue online in a safe, inclusive and impactful way. Although according to the Lebanese governmental plan we can now resume work from office, we have, however, extended for at least another two weeks our strategy of working from home, pending further clarity on the COVID-19 situation.
With “social distancing” implemented around the world, throughout the crisis Adyan has been working to ensure that this physical distance does not lead to isolation and divisions. Instead:
- We launched a media campaign calling for global solidarity with the message of being #DistantlyTogether or #مع_بعض_عن_بعد
- In partnership with the UNHCR, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), and the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, we launched A call for solidarity and social action with the refugee and displaced communities to ensure that the current social anxiety is not exploited to cultivate xenophobia and hate speech, especially towards refugees.
- We launched, together with 16 faith-based organizations, a Joint appeal in response to the global initiative for “human fraternity”, echoing the voices of Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb calling people, from all over the world, for a day of prayer, fasting and charity on Thursday 14 May, 2020.
From the start, we realised that our social cohesion work would be even more important as a result of the global trauma and the dramatic increase in vulnerability arising from the economic crises. To this end, we are keen to ensure that as many planned activities as possible continue, via adaptation to the new situation. For some projects, this means re-designing activities – such as classes, trainings and surveys – into online versions. This requires technical adaptation and also re-working materials and methodologies. Our online learning platform www.teachcoexistence.com and Adyan’s expertise in e-learning has helped us to quickly transform many of our programs into fully online activities. Ways in which our programmes have adapted include:
- Developing two new online courses for our learning communities, serving 2,223 K12 students in 57 schools.
- Offering 16 online fora, with more than 40 still to come, for Lebanese youth to discuss their views and role in promoting non-sectarian based politics.
- Preparing six webinars to be launched on ‘Islam and Public Life Values’.
- Transforming training resources into online tools, which will be made publically available for free usage.
- Creating communities of practice online for our Teachers on Living Together, Trainers on Inclusive Citizenship, and Imams for Life, for mutual support and exchange of experience and creative ideas.
- Creating a specific blog where the “oral memory” of our elderly people and their experiences of resilience towards challenges will be published. This initiative is being run with the contribution of our Alwan high-school students, who established supportive phone communication with the elderly people, expressing a beautiful intergenerational solidarity.
Despite the steps outlined above, we recognise that the impact the pandemic has had – on economies, communities and families in every part of the world – requires a far larger response. Adyan believes that now is the time to take courageous decisions on the personal and institutional levels to get through this crisis while building a resilient, inclusive and just future for all. The post-COVID-19 world will not and should not be the same. We need to live in a more sustainable way, with global empathy and responsibility towards our common humanity. For this reason Adyan:
- Published 20 COVID-19-related articles so far on our Taadudiya platform, by authors from all over the MENA region and from Europe. These articles raise awareness and feed reflection about the challenges and changes we all need to take into consideration for a better future.
- Produced a video message about the responsibility of religions towards a sustainable global environment.
- Is participating in many global and regional initiatives to leverage the efficiency of multilateral collaboration and advocate for better international solidarity.
Finally, although the lockdown measures are being eased in many countries, the hardship faced by many will continue and may even worsen. Shoulder to shoulder with our partners, we will continue to pursue our mission in the most compassionate, creative and effective way. We also call on all people to join together in a collective spirit of resilience and hope, to find ways to support the vulnerable, and to promote values of diversity, solidarity and human dignity through actions, thoughts and prayers.