SALMAN ABBAS is an agricultural engineer with a Master in Animal Science from the American University of Beirut and a Humphrey Fellowship from Cornell University, USA. He is one of the founders of the environmental NGO Green Line in 1991, where he served on its administrative board for 14 years and acted as president for 2 years. Abbas was the lead campaigner of GL and worked mainly on the campaigns related to halting quarries, increasing green areas in Beirut, and the privatization of public beaches in Lebanon. Currently he works as the Middle East area manager for an Austrian company, dealing with natural feeds additives.
LINA ABOU RESLAN got her degree of Bachelors of Architecture with a minor in American Studies from the American University of Beirut in 2006. She is currently partnering up with various individuals and groups in order to realize projects from different or combined design disciplines, including architectural, interior, graphic, and information design. She is also involved in designing and facilitating workshops using creative arts to enhance dialogue skills. She is interested in creation of physical and implicit spaces that will add value to and be inscribed by people’s movements, everyday cultures, social networks, and knowledge formation. Her ambition as an architect is to write about, as much as build, architecture. She is fascinated by the experience of walking in Ras Beirut which she considers an epitome for sensing the emergent powers of multiplicity.
SARA ABOUGHAZAL is a full-time feminist living in Beirut and hoping to be a full-time filmmaker/writer in the near future. She is a member of the Feminist Collective, a group of young feminists who are working together to recreate a world free from sexism, and all other forms of exploitations and discrimination that collaborate with it: class, heterosexism, racism, capitalism, etc. The FC sees all these problems as interrelated and equally oppressive, yet it insists on addressing them from a progressive grassroots feminist perspective.
BACHAR AL-AMINE graduated in Architecture (DPLG) from Ecole d’Architecture de Paris-Conflans in 1995 and received his Master degree in Landscape Architecture in 2001 jointly from Paris-La-Villette, La Sorbone, and EHESS (School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences). He practiced with several firms like them Dar Al-Handassa (Beirut) and Saudi Diyar (Jeddah). Besides practicing architecture and landscape design, Al-Amine lectures at the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at the American University of Beirut, the School of Architecture at the Lebanese American University, and at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts. His research and theoretical interests focus on evaluating landscape motifs and consciousness of landscape in post-war contexts in the Arab Region.
HALA Al-AMINE is a Lebanese architect and landscape designer with a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering from Beirut Arab University (2002) and a Master in Landscape from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (2009). Her professional experience includes architectural design, execution design, site coordination, project management, interior design, urban planning, restoration and rehabilitation, and landscape design. Al-Amine is a member of the Order of Engineers and Architects-Beirut and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – The Lebanese Chapter.
RANA ANDRAOS holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the American University of Beirut. She completed her Master in Urban Planning at the same university in 2008. She obtained a research grant from the UNESCO Chair Politiques Urbaines et Citoyennetés, which allowed her to conduct part of her thesis at the multidisciplinary social sciences research laboratory RIVES in Lyon in 2007. She is interested in the politics of public space and the public sphere in general. Andraos is currently a contributing writer to the economics section of the French daily L’Orient-Le Jour, and she teaches economics and social sciences to high-school students.
FOUAD ASFOUR is a linguist living and working in Vienna and Johannesburg. Following his Master’s thesis in 2001, he is currently working on a PhD thesis in the framework of the Vienna School of Critical Discourse Analysis. He is currently the in-house editor for the social justice organization Khanya College, Johannesburg. From 2005 to 2007 he was part of the editorial team of documenta 12 magazines, organizing conferences in Algiers, Beirut, Cairo, and Vienna. He worked as linguistic advisor for choreographer and dancer Anne Juren from 2004 to 2006. The collaboration resulted in a contemporary dance choreography entitled “Code Series” (2005), followed by the choreographic project “Patterns of Sport and Dance” (2006). From 2002 to 2005 he worked for the Kölnische Kunstverein. Between 1997 and 2001, Asfour worked as freelance editor for the Association of Visual Artists in Vienna, Secession. He has written a number of texts and articles for art catalogues and magazines, edited books and art catalogues, among others Kay Hassan. Urbanation, 2008; How do we want to be governed? Miami Art Central, Miami: 2005; Ausgeträumt…, Secession, Vienna: 2001. In 2008 he received the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory working grant.
NADA BAKRI (1982) is a correspondent with the Washington Post based in Baghdad where she covers politics, news, and social issues. Before joining the Post in May 2009, she was finishing her Master in Journalism at Columbia University, New York. She previously worked for The New York Times and The Daily Star in Beirut, covering the Israeli war and the May 2008 clashes, among other things. Her first beat for The Daily Star, Lebanon’s English language newspaper, was covering the environment. Bakri began her career working on a documentary about the Arab-Israeli conflict for Al-Jazeera News Channel in 2002. A year later she moved to Hong Kong for a year where she learned Chinese and worked for a publishing house editing an in-flight magazine. In January 2010, she will be moving to work for The New York Times as a Baghdad-based reporter.
BASSAM CHAYA graduated from the Lebanese University with a Diploma in Law (1997) and a postgraduate Diploma in Business Law (1999). In 2000, he was awarded a Certificate in Journalism from the Directorate of Orientation of the Lebanese Army. He practices as a lawyer since 2005, and he is the legal adviser for Bestseller United ME in Lebanon and the Arab countries since 2006.
DARINE CHOUEIRI is a Lebanese architect who graduated from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in 2005. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Barcelona to join the Metropolis post-graduate program and to practice at a number of architectural offices. Choueiri is currently a collaborator at the office of Manuel de Solà-Morales in Barcelona, and also has her own practice – along with two associates – under the name of QUIDAMes. Their first artistic installation, entitled gorjeo indiscreto, was held in Barcelona in November 2008. In October 2009, Darine won the first prize of an idea competition – with Christian Zahr, Lama Sfeir, and Sara Hage – for sustainable development in Jezzine, Lebanon and started implementing the project “A5dar bel khatt el a7mar” [Green is a Red Line].
ALICIA DENRIS was born in Denmark, but moved to Lebanon at an early age where she continued her studies and obtained her Bachelor of Architecture, with Honors, from the Lebanese American University. She received the 2000 Rifaat Chaderji Award for Architecture and Society at the Order of Engineers and Architects-Beirut. In 2009, she obtained her Master in Landscape Architecture from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts with a concentration on sustainable development and restoration of environmental disasters, focusing on the Beirut River: Recycling the River, Merging Sustainability with Creativity. Denris started working as a freelance consultant on hotel interior designs and residential houses. She currently practices as a landscape architect from her own office in Beirut, mainly designing private and public gardens and natural environmental reserves. She has co-taught courses on sustainable development and co-organized a workshop about the sustainable rehabilitation of the Beirut River at ALBA.
DIRECTORATE OF GEOGRAPHIC AFFAIRS was established in 1962 and affiliated to the Ministry of Defense, Army commandment. D.A.G. provides the Lebanese Army with required logistics, and it provides services for different governmental agencies, municipalities, public or private institutions, including: triangulation, measurement, aerial photography, surveying, compilation and printing of the unified map for all the Lebanese territory at different scales and for purposes of irrigation, reforestation, roads, electricity, rural and urban planning, and tunnel excavation studies.
FRANÇOIS EID (1961) graduated with a Diploma in Architecture from the Lebanese University in 1986. His early career started in Beirut, before he moved to Milan, Italy in 1987 to work first with the Saltini architectural studio and then with the Edilbi architectural office. In 1993, he established his own practice in Milan, before moving back to Beirut in 1996. His private practice continued with involvements in prestigious projects like Hotel Le Royal. Eid pursued his interest in cartography by making maps for An-Nahar newspaper (Lebanon) and Avvenire newspaper (Italy), besides practicing architecture and interior design. In April 2005, his debut cartographic publication Le Liban-Mosaïque was published, which is a map of the geographic inscription of confessional communities in Lebanon. In October 2008, his second cartographic publication Chronoliban was published, which is a visual timeline of 5,000 years of Lebanon’s history.
GUILIA FIOCCA is a Rome-based architect. She studied between Rome, Vienna, and Barcelona with a degree from La Sapienza, University of Rome and a Master degree Metropolis in Architecture and Urban Culture at the UPC/CCCB, Barcelona. The main topics of her research are the urban and social transformations in contemporary cities, focusing on marginal realities, leftover spaces, informal urbanism, and bottom-up architecture and policy design as a process to activate a sharing and bottom-up answer to the actual institutional urban planning. In 2007, Guilia won an artist scholarship at the artistic centre Espai Zero, Olot, Catalunya for carrying out the research BalkanSuite (balkansuite.wordpress.com), a view on the contemporary architectural, social, and political transformation in the former-Yugoslavia countries. Since 2006, she has been part of the collective Stalker-Osservatorio Nomade, Rome, a laboratory of urban art and research on territories (www.osservatorionomade.net).
IMAD GEMAYEL studied architecture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, where returned after 10 years for a Master in Landscape Architecture. In addition to working in urban planning, architecture, interior design, rehabilitation, and national heritage classified sites, he developed an interest towards landscape with early professional experience and close collaboration with local and international specialized firms. He led young teams in winning three competitions before establishing IGA firm in 2004, which quickly became the regional representative of reputable UK and USA based practices such as Gustafson-Porter, Machado and Silvetti, and Gillespies. Gemayel’s research on sustainability earned him an involvement in Norman Foster’s experimental zero CO2 emission Masdar City and was the subject of his latest intervention at the International Meeting on “Sustainable City and Creativity: Promoting Creative Urban Initiatives” in Naples (2008). He led the certification of a project – among the first – in Lebanon according to LEED Standards.
HANIN GHADDAR is the editor of NOW Lebanon – English, where she has mostly written on Lebanese and regional politics since the website’s launch in July 2007. She has previously written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including An-Nahar, Al-Hayat, Assafir, and The Beirut Times. She also worked as a researcher for the UNDP-regional office between 2002 and 2004. Ghaddar holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies, both from the American University of Beirut.
GIS/TRANSPORT, Ltd. was established in 1994 as a Middle East and Africa regional affiliate to GIS/Trans, Ltd. USA, a world leader in the applications of GIS in the transportation arena, and became an independent enterprise in 1999.
NADA HABIS-ASSI obtained her DES in Architecture from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (1994) and her Master’s degree from the Ecole d’Architecture de Paris Belleville. Today, she is working on her thesis in Landscape Architecture, where she explores the role of landscape interventions in urban regeneration. She collaborated with Nabil Gholam between 1996 and 2000, and she taught and participated in academic curriculum comities at ALBA from 1997 to 2000. She was awarded in 2003, along with three colleagues, the winning scheme for the extension of ALBA campus. Since 2001, Habis-Assi is heading ALBA’s documentation center. With the recurrent objective of diffusing architectural culture, she conducts workshops in schools to create awareness about the built environment. She is also planning, along with a team of scholars in architecture, to create a regional center for architecture. In 2008, she took part in ARCHIRES (Lille-France), a colloquium on international networking of architecture libraries.
NANCY HAMAD is a Lebanese Architect and social activist, who graduated in architectural engineering from Beirut Arab University (2006). She is interested in urban planning and urban design, and she practices at the Beirut-based office URBI-Architects and Urban Planners. She is also associate spatial designer at DISCURSIVE FORMATIONS. Hamad is a volunteer architect in different post-war reconstruction projects in South and North Lebanon. She is also a member of the Solidarity Maps Group (a.k.a. Kharita Media Team) – established during the 2006 war on Lebanon – who produced cartography infographics to narrate the aggression on South Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Nahr el Bared Palestinian refugee camp.
ROLA IDRIS graduated in architecture from the American University of Beirut in June 2008, with high distinction. Her final year project Remembrance: People’s Inscriptions, that proposed a space of remembrance for the Lebanese civil war in Horsh Beirut, received the Areen Award at AUB and the Chadirji Award at the Order of Engineers and Architects-Beirut. She also received the Abdul-Hadi Debs Award at AUB for her paper, The Corniche: Towards an Islamic Modernity, which involved extensive research and fieldwork on the public domain of the Corniche. She is currently a practicing architect at DW5, Bernard Khoury Architects, and a part-time instructor at the Department of Architecture and Design, AUB.
SAMAR KANAFANI lives and works in Beirut as a social researcher and video artist. She has an MA in cultural anthropology from the American University of Beirut, and she has previously worked in journalism. Her videos include Street-play, about children negotiating play-spaces in a congested Beirut neighborhood; Mounzer, on Palestinian exile, masculinity, and the injured male body; and, A Day from Home (F’Intidhar Dounya), on belonging through the allegory of pregnancy. Her research interests include migration, nationalism, gender and representation.
BILAL KHBEIZ (1963) was born in the Lebanese village of Kfarchouba before he moved to Beirut. Since 2008, he lives in exile in Los Angeles, USA. He is a poet, essayist, and journalist who regularly contributes to the Lebanese Al Masa’ newspaper, An-Nahar newspaper, and Future Television, among others. Some of Khbeiz’s published works on cultural theory include: Fi Annal jassad Khatia’ Wa Khalas [That the Body is Sin and Deliverance], Beirut: Dar Al Masar, 1999; Globalization and the Manufacture of Transient Events, Home Works 2, Beirut: Ashkal Alwan, 2003; The Enduring Image and the Vanishing World, Moukhtarat, Beirut: 2005; Tragedy in the Moment of Vision, Sharjah Biennale, 2007. A selection of Khbeiz’s group exhibitions include: 2007 Sharjah Biennale, a collective work with Walid Sadek and Fadi Abdallah (group Tuesday), 2003 6th Sharjah Biennale, United Arab Emirates, 2003 50th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2000 Ashkal Alwan, Lebanon.
DANNY KHOURY is an experimental graphic designer, specialized in print: branding, packaging, and product design; involved in web design, animation, installation, photomontage, and illustration; and interested in architecture, music, and cinematography… He believes that design is not a commercial end in itself, but rather an experimental process to establish and to communicate to people visually compelling brand identities and forms, which in turn attract the mind of the viewer in a consumer world. Khoury was born and studied in Beirut. He started his career working – for 6 years – at Med K&K, advertising and marketing, on corporate identities and various types of printed artwork, in addition to advertising campaigns including billboards, magazines, and TV ads. He is currently a consultant at TagBrands, branding and design; an associate creative designer at DISCURSIVE FORMATIONS; and, an instructor at the Hariri Canadian University.
LASSE LAU (1974) is a queer and social activist, visual artist, and filmmaker. He is an alumnus from the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York and Funen Academy of Art in Denmark. “Agency of Public Resources” is the agency from which most of Lau’s recent interdisciplinary art and film projects originate. His work continues to expose the amnesia of today’s crises in the global economy, and the result of social displacement in spatial terms. He seeks to utilize aesthetics as a framework that can open dialogical paths for social change. Lau has exhibited, among others, in Westfälischer Kunstverein, Hamburger Bahnhof, Lagos Center for Contemporary Art, Overgaden – Institut for Samtidskunst, Turin Biennial, The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Centro Cultural Español Miami, The Contemporary Museum Baltimore, Smack Mellon Gallery and PS1 MOMA. He is further the co-founder of both Kran Film Collective and the C-M-L archive.
GHASSAN MAASRI is an artist and architect currently residing between Beirut and London. In 2005, he obtained his Master’s degree in Art and Space from the University of Kingston, UK, and he is presently undertaking a practice-based PhD in Visual Culture at Westminster University, London. His practice is contextual and his interest lies in the impossibility of spatial representation. Maasri has exhibited his work in Egypt, Germany, Lebanon, Paraguay, the UK, and the US. Since 2005, he has been organizing the Artists International Workshop in Aley, Lebanon (AIW:A); he currently runs the artist space 3Studios in Beirut. He first became interested in extraterritorial activities after his abduction in 1986 on a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which he swears he never took.
TARA MAHFOUD has a BA in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in American Studies from the American University of Beirut (2007). She currently works at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs at AUB, coordinating the program on Policy and Governance in Palestinian Refugee Camps. She has assisted with research in the fields of cultural anthropology and refugee studies, and has held volunteer positions in environment projects and Palestinian refugee camps.
JANA NAKHAL has a Bachelor degree in Landscape Design and enjoys learning from the vernacular gardens and gardeners; she is currently working on her Master in Urban Design. Besides the “Lebanese situation, culture, and rhetoric,” her interests lie in urban studies, ethnographic research, architecture, and the city. Nakhal has recently discovered that she is a feminist, and she is now interested into merging all of the above with the feminist perspective on things. She has a lot of dreams.
NOW LEBANON was born of a conviction that, to be effective, action must be buttressed by a comprehensive awareness of the issues in question. The New Opinion Workshop (NOW) provides comprehensive coverage and analysis of key issues and news, making social and political participation a much more realistic option for many citizens.
JEAN-FRANCOIS PIRSON is an architect, with a background in dance and a Doctorate of Fine Arts (Barcelona). He expresses his relationship to space through different practices (drawing, photography, installations, writing, walking in urban and mountainous environments). In 2005, he took leave as a professor at the Institute of Architecture Lambert Lombard (Liege, Belgium) to pursue his own project itinerary (Québec, Barcelona, Beirut). In the last few years, he combined his travels and his walks with his exploratory practices of space and used photography as a medium to put in perspective parts of the world. Pirson published La structure et l’objet [The structure and the object], Liège, Mardaga, 1984; Le corps et la chaise [The body and the chair] Taviers, Métaphores, 1990; Aspérités en mouvements [Asperities in movements] Form, space, body, sculpture, pedagogy, 2001; Dessine-moi un voyage [Draw me a travel], 2006; Entre le monde et soi, Pratiques exploratoires de l’espace, Bruxelles, La lettre vole, 2008.
GUYLAINE RAPHAEL is an independent landscape designer and interior architect. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Regents College, University of the State of New York (1998), a B.S. in Interior Design from the Lebanese American University (1999), and a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (2009), her objectives are to contribute to the development of design methods that will strengthen architectural meaning and to awaken the importance of landscape in the prospect of a greener environment. Raphael’s practice focuses on landscape design, interior space flow design, sustainable site design, and master planning using sustainable technologies. Her research interests include sustainability of human and natural ecosystems at various spatial levels looking at coastal ecosystems, protected and natural areas, ecosystem planning, sustainable places, green design and infrastructure, ecological networks, and sustainable land development.
MARWAN RECHMAOUI (1964) is a Beirut-based visual artist. His work is mainly concerned with urban/rural dynamics and demographic transformations in urban space. Two of his major works are: A Monument For The Living, a replica of a high-rise in Downtown Beirut that was never completed and only served as a strategic military location during the Lebanese civil war; and, Beirut Caoutchouc, a map of Beirut with all the streets engraved accurately on it composed of sixty pieces of rubber mats that fit together like a huge puzzle. Rechmaoui has been participating in local and international exhibitions since 1996, most recently in “HomeWorks IV: A Forum on Cultural Practices” and “Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East” in the Saatchi Gallery.
LANA SALMAN holds a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and is pursuing her Master in Urban Planning and Policy at the American University of Beirut. She is interested in multidisciplinary research in fields such as public policy and urban economics, where research outputs are linked to the researcher’s immediate socioeconomic and political context. Salman currently works at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs, a regional think tank affiliated with AUB, where she coordinates the IFI program on the links between Research, Advocacy, and Public Policy-making (RAPP) in the Arab World.
SUMAYYAH SAMAHA (1939) was born in Shweir, Lebanon. She obtained her BA from the American University of Beirut in 1960, before she permanently moved to the United States in 1968. There, she obtained her Master Degree in information sciences at the University of Pittsburgh before she moved again to New York city in 1969, where she currently resides and works. Samaha is primarily an oil abstract painter, but she also uses clay, wood, charcoal, and a variety of mixed media. Her abstractions are very painterly and have a feeling of landscape. Beginning in 2001, she made art that addressed the turmoil in the Middle East, including Lebanon’s instability, the invasion of Iraq, and the dire situation in Palestine.
GREGOIRE SEROF is an architect, planning consultant, and university lecturer. He has noticed for long that public space in Lebanon is unduly invaded by cars; so, he voiced his disapproval of this condition in many articles published in the Beirut daily L’Orient-le-Jour. For Serof, the notion of green or open space, as understood by everyone including specialists, seems to be unable to lead to any amelioration. He calls rather for much more allocation of space for pedestrians in proportion to the one dedicated to cars. He believes that if no such radical action is taken, the very notion of life in Lebanese cities is at risk.
SERGE SEROF holds a Master in Architecture from the Ecole Polytechnique et Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). He has collaborated on projects in Lebanon, Switzerland, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia; he currently works in Paris as an interior designer. Serof is the former delegate of the Public Transport Users Association in Paris, and he is the founder and president of Artemed, an association for the development of cultural exchanges between Mediterranean countries. He has published articles dealing with public transport issues in French and Lebanese magazines and newspapers.
LAMA SFEIR received a DES in Architecture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, Lebanon and a postgraduate degree in Advanced Architecture at the Berlage Institute, Netherlands. With a professional belief that a responsible architect’s exemplary projects for social awareness should stand between the theorist and the activist against the mainstream, she has been working since 2008 as a freelance architect on various projects, directly and indirectly related to architecture, such as competitions, writing reports, and organizing the “Horsh Beirut Picnic” project. In October 2009, Sfeir won the first prize of an idea competition – with Christian Zahr, Sara Hage, and Darine Chouieri – for sustainable development in Jezzine, Lebanon and started implementing the project “A5dar bel khatt el a7mar” [Green is a Red Line].
FADI SHAYYA (Book Editor) (1980) is a Beirut-based spatial consultant, design strategist, and social advocate trained in urban studies and architecture and engaged in issues of spatial production and justice, landscape transformations, master planning, urban governance, public space, and information visualization. Shayya’s firm belief in the significance of space and the importance of place in the folding/unfolding of daily urban complexities led him to establish and lead the professional initiative DISCURSIVE FORMATIONS, an emerging spatial consultancy and think tank dedicated to critical spatial analysis, design intervention, and cultural production in Lebanon and the region. Shayya holds a Master of Urban Design from the American University of Beirut (2007) and a Bachelor in Architectural Engineering from Beirut Arab University (2002). He has practiced architecture and urban design with different offices in Beirut, and he has worked as an Associate Human Settlements Officer at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA). He is the laureate of the 2008 Basil Fuleihan Innovative Good Governance Award for his work on Beirut’s Park, Horsh Al-Sanawbar.
SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATURE IN LEBANON (SPNL) is an environmental NGO that aims to protect nature, birds, and biodiversity for people in Lebanon and to ensure sustainable use of natural resources. SPNL has a long experience in scientific research – mainly avifauna and biodiversity, education and awareness, advocacy and networking, and community development. Established in 1986, SPNL initiated – with the Ministry of Environment – the protected areas in Lebanon and established the Environment Information Center (EIC), which serves as a key resource for the provision of environmental information for students, teachers, and researchers. SPNL is involved in identifying Important Bird Areas and reviving and advocating the Hima practice, i.e. community-based conservation. Currently, SPNL is working, with the Ministry of Environment, on organizing hunting, assessing the impacts of land use, and other sectoral policies on biodiversity conservation. SPNL is a member of IUCN and the BirdLife International partner for Lebanon.
THE DAILY STAR is a leading English language newspaper in Lebanon and the Middle East, founded in June 1952.
HUSSEIN YAAKOUB is a journalist and writer on politics, culture, and socio-political thought. Besides his regular contributions to a number of local and regional periodicals, he also works with non-governmental organizations on development issues and collaborates frequently with DISCURSIVE FORMATIONS.