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Interview with Roula Douglas

“Time for Women to Emerge from the Shadows”

A prolific personality, Roula Douglas is a staunch advocate of women's empowerment while also promoting the importance of diversity and collaboration. In her latest book she shares insights from her life and professional career in a most human and direct way.

Q: If you could describe yourself in 150 words, what would you say?

A: An active and dynamic citizen of the world with a strong sense of belonging to humanity that extends beyond visible and invisible boundaries, beyond geographical territories and cultural differences. An author and journalist who writes to prompt reflections, question the world, and to change mentalities and attitudes for a more just, human, and gender equal society.

A university instructor who helps her students develop their critical thinking skills and open up to the world in all its diversity. A mentor who does her best to support, value and accompany the youth. A supportive woman committed to empower other women and to combat gender discriminations and injustices all over the world. A researcher who wishes to contribute to the growth of scientific knowledge on gender and to the development of new approaches for achieving gender equality in Lebanon.

Q: Your work in journalism and fighting for social justice are inspiring. Could you tell us more about your story and how you arrived at your current work?

A: When I was a young girl, during the civil war in Lebanon, my childhood was marked by the rumble of explosions, the whistles of shells crushing, and the sirens of ambulances and hearses. My dearest dream back then was to grow up and become a doctor. But at 21 years old and after completing three years of pre-med undergraduate study, I had to flee Lebanon with my parents to a safer country; the fighting had become increasingly more intense and closer. Leaving behind me my childhood dreams, I packed in my suitcase some precious memories, photo albums, my diary and a dozen books I was attached to. Accompanied by my family, we took a rowboat, then a ship heading to Cyprus from where we travelled to Canada. The first months in the country of maple trees were tough even for the young plurilingual graduate in biology that I was back then. Suddenly, I found myself torn apart, shredded between my desire to integrate the country that welcomed me so generously and a sense of deep mourning not devoid of guilt, towards my native land… However, little by little, life continued and the present replaced the reminiscences of the past. What marked me the most in Quebec was the silence, the silence of the snow covering the city in the winter but also that of the people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, sharing public places and facilities, all lost in their thoughts. Strangely enough, it was there that I realized that what unites us all is far more important than our differences, that we are all equal and that any injustice to one of us is a threat to all of us. When I came back to my home country ten years later with a Masters in education and a diploma in creative writing, inequality between men and women hit me in the face. Unlike men, Lebanese women cannot transmit their nationality to their children; they cannot open a joint bank account with their underage children without the signature of the husband; they are almost completely absent from politics. At that moment, to fight against these inequalities, I chose to use the only weapon I know how to manipulate: writing... more

(Global Thinkers Forum) 

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