Dr. Najat Saliba, Director of the Nature Conservation Center, NCC at the American University of Beirut, was one of the participants at the recently concluded OCSDNet Proposal Development workshop. Below are her reflections about the 3 days that she shared during the network’s official launch event:

Dr. Najat Saliba at the 2014 OCSDNet Proposal Development Workshop


There was a little girl who was told by her grandpa the stories of a Wild Hyena who used to visit their neighbourhood in their rural village.  The girl imagined a new Hyena face for every story.  It was only when she saw the Hyena, 20 years later, that she was able to see the real face of the animal and understand the passion and the meaning of her grandpa’s stories. So if a picture is worth a thousand words, a real-true value is worth one year of a social campaign.

 The workshop that Leslie and his team prepared was real in the discussion, exchange of thoughts, people, and action plans. It made me understand the concept note I wrote myself, better, after attending the workshop. This, with no doubt, puts a higher responsibility on us to make sure this new movement of “Open, Collaboration, Science for Development” vibrates in our respective communities as rich and as diverse as they are.

 Finding two people able to communicate well even if they do not speak the same language is much easier than asking 2 “scholars” from different schools of thought (let alone 25 of them who speak a common language) to agree.

But, just because the workshop is about “Open”, “Collaboration”, “Science”and “Development”, we were ready to accept our differences and get engaged in challenging discussions.  After all, our commonality does not stem from our respective disciplines but rather from our beliefs in the path of participation and openness.

Contrary to many meetings I attended where I am usually able to catch upon my readings, in this workshop, all sessions were interesting and mentally engaging that I willingly gave up on my original plan.  Of course we owe this to the hard work and creativity of the organisers.


I would like to end with 2 “Outcomes” and 1 “Impact”:

  1. Learnt to appreciate and try to understand some of the work undertaken by Social Scientists and because the ideologies brought up by some of the colleagues were so interesting that I had to apologise for Pablo for daring as a chemist to join the network.
  2. Met really wonderful colleagues.
  3. I am grateful to be part of this network and think that, together, we are on to “something”.