Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities

Research Laboratories

The REFA Laboratory is chaired by Mrs. Norma Zakaria and was established in order to promote research though the collaboration between different partners at the Department of Educational Sciences, researchers-professors at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik as well as educators of universities and schools interested in the research in the fields of pedagogy, didactic and education management. This Laboratory is a platform for research and cultural events organized by the Department of Educational Sciences: conferences, seminars, thematic colloquies, specialized magazines… Moreover, it promotes interdepartmental exchange within the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, and interfaculty exchange based on the principle stipulating that humanities and social sciences are continuously correlating.

The suggested research project at the REFA Laboratory for the academic year 2013-2014: Values Education in light of the New Challenges
This project is in the framework of an issue of great current interest covering a popular field in the educational institutions: values education. This theme generates today multiple questions asked by educational bodies, directors and teachers at schools. In fact, the challenges facing education are multiplying and developing at a swift pace causing conflicts and disturbances within the learning generations, and disrupting their profiles and concepts. Imposed by deep and irreversible social transformations, these challenges threaten education and join the obstacles creating numerous difficulties for the level of teaching and learning. It is noteworthy that these challenges are of different levels and have positive and negative impacts at a time. Starting from this point, new tasks for schools and the complexity of the educational process emerge.

As it is common to speak of school failure, school motivation and school help, it is common to speak as well of the values as one aspect contributing to the improvement of the educational process due to highlighting the links between ethics and education. Therefore, it is necessary to develop active teaching which promote a culture of values. This culture should include, in addition to the acquisition of scientific knowledge, a thorough reflection on the complexity of the human being and on the various aspects which this being represents.

Another link is highlighted in the schools’ context: the relation teacher/learner, which has to be explicit and reciprocal; the role of the teacher is to ensure a certain dynamic between all the actors in the educational system, and the role of the learner is to react positively towards the actors. This entails shared responsibilities and advocates a success pedagogy consisting of the student’s participation and the teacher’s goodwill.

In this context, it will be possible to understand the learner’s autonomy and the teacher’s abilities. Concerning the learner’s autonomy, as a first factor towards the success of the acquisition of values, it is necessary to take into consideration that the humans are beings aware of this autonomy and of potentialities governing their decisions. Hence, the teacher’s role will be to develop the learners’ ability to shoulder the responsibility and “know” how to learn; the central objective of teaching being mainly the formation of the human being’s spirit.

It is true that all questions related to education and the teaching system start from the words of the direct partners in the teaching/learning process; however, it is important to keep in mind that these issues go far beyond the framework of schools and partners aiming at joining the social frame. As a result, the multiple changes that have occurred on the society as whole, on the level of schools and the ever-increasing requirements foster values education: individual values, humane values, ethical values and social values.

Fields of research
1st Axis: individual values and formation of the person
To better understand Man as a human being, it is necessary to prove how values can deeply influence the individual: on the intellectual level through the formation of the spirit, on the emotional level through impulse control and affects regulation, on the moral level through the formation of the will and consciousness towards his actions.

2nd Axis: Social values as a factor for integration and strengthening social links
The basis of living together is governed by values. On this level, social values education allows the development of an attitude calling the human being to appropriately communicate with the others, behave adequately towards the others and know how to adapt to the environment where he lives; all this aims to promote social links.

3rd Axis: The implementation of values in the educational system
This axis suggests the implementation of teaching modalities promoting the application of the values by learners. It tackles the school context, partners at schools, values education management by the administrative directors at schools, as well as the chosen teaching contents and adapted work approaches in the teaching/learning process. All this aims to prepare the learner, theoretically and practically, to really respect and live the values.

Types of conducted research
  • Theoretical research conducted on various subthemes related to values, as well as then different manifestations. This research can dig their sources from the fields of humanities related to education: philosophy, psychology and sociology.
  • Practical research conducted in the schools context: viewpoints of the teachers, learners’ testimonies, pedagogic projects implemented in this field, research action related to practices in schools.

Final Presentation
  • Conducted research will be included in a collective work published in the framework of the REFA Laboratory.
  • A colloquium on the theme of Values as a source of personal development and social integration can expand and develop the research project.

Members of REFA Laboratory
Andre Pachod, IUFM d’Alsace-Université de Strasbourg
Christelle Bou Rjeili, USEK
Christelle Hayek, USEK
Danielle Tabet, USEK
Georges Salloum, USJ
Joseph Moukarzel, USEK
Maguy Chataoui, Lebanese University
Michel Caillot, Université Paris Descartes
Michel Zakaria, USEK
(Sister) Mona Bejjan, Collège des Filles du Liban, Beit Hobbak
Mirna Mzawak, USEK
Mona Zoghbi, USEK
Norma Zakaria, USEK
Paul Jelwan, USEK
Scarlet Sarraf, Lebanese University
Siham Achi, USEK
Souheila Salloum, USEK
Viviane Choueiry, Lebanese University
Yollande Bardaghji, USEK

PhD Students
Charlie Aghnatios
Dayana Majdalani
Ghina Mounla
Guitta Hanna
Joyce Rouhana
Marianne Sarkis
Maroun Chamoun
Miled Hobeika
Mirna Dib
Muriel Sawaya
Nadine Boulos
Rana Antoun
Rania Nohra
Rima El Soueidi
Rita Chahwan
Sœur Micheline Mansour
Yolla Saab

Mrs. Norma Zakaria
Tel.: +961 9 600 056
Email: normazakaria@usek.edu.lb
Tel.: +961 9 600 055
Fax: +961 9 600 551
Email: fpsh@usek.edu.lb
Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
P.O. Box 446 Jounieh, Lebanon
Since it was founded in 2008, the Sophia Research Laboratory, created and chaired by Mrs. Marie Fayad, has suggested a research theme on “Ethics, Politics, Religion”.

A three term research subject, Ethics, Politics, Religion is, in the first place, suggestive of problematics related to various human standards on the ontological, anthropological and metaphysical levels of existence. These levels can be examined individually or altogether. The 5 axes of Sophia Laboratory examine, on a double synchronic and diachronic plan, the role of values in guiding the private and professional life of humans (the field of ethics), and the role of citizen responsibilities (the field of politics), and research on the fundamental criteria of values of religion, highlighting the scope of “spatiotemporal emancipation of man” (the field of religion).

Fields of Research
1st Axis: Philosophical Anthropology
The Issue of ‘The Other’ Throughout the Lebanese Experience
Through the question “What is being Lebanese?” it might be possible to create an original anthropological logic aiming at attempting to understand ‘the other’ throughout the Lebanese experience.
The researchers’ choice of subject will fit into of the following axes (interlinking is possible):
  1. Concepts of identity: brother, enemy, community, etc.
  2. Perception of ‘the other’: constants and metamorphosis.
  3. Reading founders’ texts, such as Moussa Sadr’s, Rene Habachi’s, etc.

2nd axis: Political Philosophy
Towards a Revisionary Approach of the Rule of Law
What is the Rule of Law in its multiple close links to human rights? The rights as found in the Universal Declaration of the United Nations of 1948, and which have been added to the rights of 1776 and 1789. It is noteworthy that we are witnessing today the emergence of new form of violations of those rights. On the level of the Philosophy of Rights, should we think that the indeterminacy of Human and Citizens Rights constitutes the real strength of these Rights?
Through reading the pertinent texts in the Constitution of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the problematic of this axis is divided into many components; each one of them capable of branching into a constellation of themes:
  1. State of Affairs of a Realpolitik facing the ideal principles of fundamental Human Rights texts;
  2. The dialectical link between the Rule of Law and the Law;
  3. The nature of the legal entity;
  4. The law facing inequalities;
  5. The rights to violate laws.

3rd axis: Political anthropology
The Modern Arab Society: Reality and Prospects
The Arab Society awakened after decades of passivity and missed revolutions; the Society which witnessed all sorts of political manipulations, experienced the most severe socio-economic tensions, saw recurring seizures and bloody wars, abruptly and surprisingly reacted in the liberalization squares of the capitals of the Arab World.
The revolutions shook regimes, which, yesterday, were very confident of the immunity and permanence despite any resistance and these regimes found themselves in a new quest to find new allies and supporters for their policies; to lobby by their side.
What is the vision of those who mobilized millions of people for the change? To whom the repressive political order, lessened here and there, will leave the public stage in the Arab World, which entered the phase of forced resurrection and difficult democracy?

4th axis: Ethics and Philosophy
Towards a New Power Philosophy
In light of the spectacular collapse of Arab regimes based on tyranny and unique dictators, it is essential to destroy these regimes from the inside in order to build a new political practice with ethical pillars, capable of freeing the Arab -citizen from those who deny them their freedom.
How is a society free of fear, corruption, injustice, oppression, misuse of power, extremist tendencies established?
Isn’t it necessary to ethically reshape the value of the human being and that of the indomitable living otherness?

5th axis: Philosophy of Religion
Symbolism and Mysticism
In the frame of the Philosophy of Religion, the study on of “Symbolism and Mysticism” will seek to outline this incredible experience which positions the human being across from him/herself to elucidate the reflections of a vision or an image. This experience becomes a supersensitive reality calling the insider, the murīd, to find him/herself and take shape (perfect him/herself) within.
It is a matter of truth, method, human being, God, imagery, limits and mainly spatiotemporal emancipation, where dialectics and hermeneutics will always have their say.
Will this real world, open to what goes beyond the spiritual experiment, insure the transition towards happiness, which has been unceasingly sought by the sages of all time?

Members of Sophia Laboratory
Marie Fayad, USEK
Jean Akiki, USEK
Hoda Nehme, USEK
Jean Reaidy, USEK
Randa Abi Aad, USEK
Jean-Claude Bourdin, Université de Poitiers
Raif Georges Khoury, Heidelberg University
Soheil Kash, Université Laval – Québec
Taoufic Sherif, University of Tunis
Antoine Abi Daoud, PhD student – USEKUniversité Laval, Québec
Georges Yarack, PhD student – USEK
Raymond Asmar, PhD student – USEK

Mrs. Marie Fayad
Mrs. Hoda Nehme
Mrs. Randa Abi Aad
Tel.: +961 9 600 055
Fax: +961 9 600 551
Email: fpsh@usek.edu.lb
Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
P.O. Box 446 Jounieh, Lebanon
Kaslik 2014-2016

The IDEES Laboratory was established in 2009 and is presided over by Mrs. Mirna Abboud Mzawak, Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities. This physical, mental and social space is devoted to scientific and technical experiments as well as targeted professional studies. The Laboratory fosters a working attitude emanating from real problems encountered in the social life in Lebanon.

The Laboratory has gathered a core of researchers working in the different domains and fields of social sciences; in this case, political sociology, urban and rural sociology, environmental sociology, sociology of commitment, conflicts, development, communication, peace, etc.

IDEES suggests “…municipal space and sustainable development” as the main research subject for 2014-2016.

At the beginning of the XXI century, the concept of sustainable development, which became an indispensable concept and strategic map for each action aimed at realizing social, economic, ecological and environmental development, constitutes the central issue of the IDEES research laboratory during the two years 2014-2016. The actions of IDEES are based on the components of sustainable development; economic progress, social justice and environment conservation. As a result, four working axis will be related to the research program.

In Lebanon, there are 36 municipality federations and around 944 municipalities, that have a municipal council, distributed across the whole country. The first article of the legislative decree no. 118, issued on June 30, 1977, stipulated the following: “A municipality is a local administration applying, within the borders of its territories, the attributes given to it by virtue of the law. It has a moral personality, financial independence and the power to self-manage its local interests”. Moreover, in articles 49 and 50, which tackle the subjects of municipal finances, the law in question evokes prerogatives of the municipality and displays the wide spectrum of planning, decision-making, management and actions that can take place in the municipal space. The municipality is simultaneously actor and local partner on social, cultural, town planning, sanitary and educational levels. However, foreign policies and national defense are excluded from its prerogatives.

It is noteworthy that municipal activities focus on fields related to lighting, public works, granting licenses to citizens, cleaning projects (sanitation, roadworks and sewage), suppression of infringements, derogations and protection of private properties. This does not mean that projects in the fields of education, sports, culture, tourism, economics and society are excluded. The “classic municipality work” goes beyond the share of sustainable development which it is bound to undertake in terms of structural and financial priorities.

The research project suggested by IDEES aims at creating a futuristic vision for municipal action, related to sustainable development in Lebanon and based on a thorough knowledge of reality. For this purpose, IDEES launched a field of research and reflection through conceptual demarcation, quantitative and qualitative exploration and monographs, etc.

Overview of the Baladiyyat Project
The research and research/actions work of the IDEES Laboratory presided by Ms. Mirna Abboud Mzawak, Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, within the framework of the Baladiyyat project, is based on a policy of interfaculty and interdepartmental partnership at USEK, and a reflexive and active collaboration with ministerial bodies and NGOs involved in municipal activities.

Thus, IDEES Laboratory conducts reflections, research actions and pilot projects relying on a triptych basis that consists of the following areas: USEK, municipal spaces and NGOs, which can be supported by ministerial bodies, embassies of Arab and Western countries, and international organizations, etc.

Municipalities that have signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with USEK include the following: Jounieh, Adma, Jeita, Shaile, Aintoura, Ain el Rihani, Ballouneh, Rayfoun, Kleiat, Faytroun, Bekkatet Achkout, Hrajel, Mayrouba, Daroun, Okaibe, Safra, Yahchouch, Jouret el Termoss, Fidar, Ehmej, Bejje, Lehfed and Jbeil.

To date, IDEES Laboratory partners including embassies, international organizations and local NGOs are as follows: the Italian Embassy and the Italian Development Cooperation, the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, the French Institute (Jounieh), Moubadarat Association, Arc-en-ciel Association, Lebanese Association of Girl Guides, OFRA Association, Fair Trade Lebanon Association and Kunhadi Association.

Pilot projects 
Laboratory work in the form of pilot projects and research actions are assigned the following objectives:
- Enhancing the existing experience and municipal actions in relation to sustainable development, through events and publications at the end of the Laboratory work;
- Establishing pilot projects in partnership between USEK, municipalities, NGOs and concerned and involved ministries. These projects aim at progressively producing actions that raise awareness towards the importance of sustainable development as a cornerstone of any action, through the involvement of the University as a place of expertise in municipal areas;
- Encouraging interfaculty and interdepartmental partnership in the social performance of the University;
- Encouraging partnership between the University and NGOs that are active in social, socio-cultural and social health work areas;
- Encouraging and provide reflection and exchange spaces concerning the components of municipal action in terms of fundamental concepts, action areas and levels of municipal experience. This goes in line with the purpose of any research actions, including the production of specific knowledge, within the framework of the Baladiyyat project, on the issues regarding municipal practices related to sustainable development, with stakeholders and partners.

Titles of pilot projects:
- Integration of the community health dimension in municipal health clinics;
- Rehabilitation of the Lebanese cultural heritage;
- Integration of "sustainable agriculture and environmental protection" in municipalities.

Fields of Research
1st Axis Municipal Action and Sustainable Development: Theoretical and Conceptual Field
This axis suggests the clarification of the sustainable development concept and its operationalization within the Lebanese municipal space. Thereby, it takes into account the socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-environmental conjuncture of the above mentioned space. In addition, this axis develops dynamic ideas, theories and concepts related to: municipal action – sustainable development.
2nd Axis: Sustainable Development and Municipal Players
This axis is at the core of the analysis of profiles and dynamics of players. It aims at extracting: a) The perception of municipal players on the role of the municipality in the implementation of policies and mechanisms for sustainable development; b) The aspirations and needs of the local population related to current and future municipal actions and arrangements. Thus, this state of affairs can be drafted as awareness guidelines for different kind of players: elected municipality members, local population, public and private institutional partners, NGOs, international organizations, etc.

3rd Axis: Sustainable Development in Municipal Spaces in Lebanon: Pilot Projects and Experiences
Sustainable development also takes the form of major action fields with different contents. This is how this axis intends to present case studies of municipal experiences linked both directly and indirectly with the sustainable development dynamic. A workshop to exchange expertise will be organized and will enrich municipal spaces in Lebanon.

4th Axis: Past, Present and Future
IDEES does not intend to repeat research and strategic construction actions in the field of municipal action related to sustainable development. However, it presents itself as the updater of policies, systems and action propositions, which are elaborated according to trend data. Axis 4 calls different municipal experts and players to present their strategic suggestions according to qualitative and quantitative existing data, as well as data produced by the IDEES Laboratory.

Day of Study and Forum for Municipal Action
Following this research, a day of study and a forum for municipal action will be organized simultaneously.

The day of study will consist of the presentation of the results of conducted research and drafted strategic proposals. Articles written by the researchers, members and partners of the IDEES Laboratory will be published.

The following parties will participate in the Forum for Municipal Action: municipalities with concrete projects, NGOs working in the field of municipal space, related ministries, universities with programs and subjects professionally linked to the municipal space, international organizations which have promoted municipal action in Lebanon, adapted space for books and documentation, firms with products and services that could be of interest to municipalities and municipal players.

IDEES Laboratory Honorary Advisor
His Excellency Minister Ziad Baroud

IDEES Laboratory Members
Antoine Messarra, USEK
Louis Honeine, USEK
Norma Zakaria, USEK
Najwa Yaacoub, USEK
Scarlett Sarraf Tohme, UL
Nabil Nemer, USEK
Marianne Njeim, USEK
Maroun Kosseifi, USEK
May Maalouf Monneau, USEK
Antoine Fichfich, USEK
Reine Barbar, USEK
Sylvana Imad Matta, USEK
Léna Saade Gebran, USEK
Christelle Stephan-Hayek, USEK
Nadine Zalaket, USEK
Joane Matta, USEK
Dominique Salameh, USJ
Christian Tawtel, USJ
Lina Zakhour, USEK
Mohamed Arabi, Expert Consultant in Community Development
Véronique Salameh, Oum El Nour
Mirna Abboud Mzawak, USEK

Italian Embassy
Italian Development Cooperation
French Institute - Jounieh
Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO
Moubadarat Association
Arc-en-ciel Association
Lebanese Association of Girl Guides
Fair Trade Lebanon Association
Kunhadi Association
OFRA Association

Academic Partners
Faculty of Law, USEK
Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences, USEK
Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, USEK
Higher Institute of Nursing Sciences, USEK
Department of Educational Sciences, USEK
Department of Psychology, USEK
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, USEK
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, USEK
Department of Agri-Food Sciences, USEK
Department of Architecture, USEK
Department of Graphic Design and Advertising, USEK
Department of Chemistry, USJ

Permanent Contact
Mrs. Mirna Abboud Mzawak
Tel.: +961 9 600 560
+961 3 237 012
Fax: + 961 9 600 551
Email: mirnamzawak@usek.edu.lb
Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik,
P.O. Box 446 Jounieh, Lebanon
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
© Copyright USEK 2017
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