GPG delivers specialist technical advice through a core group of retained Associates who are former Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior civil servants or parliamentary staff, and academics. We have built long-lasting relationships with Associates which we seek to highlight in this series of personal profiles.
This month’s Associate, Dr Josephine Zgheib, is a Lebanese policy expert and activist who has been involved with our Lebanon work since 2020.
Describe your area of work. What encouraged you to work in this sector?
I work on governance, on the relation between citizens and their government, as well as transparency, and social accountability. I am an advocate for women’s empowerment and for a better nation, for a greater involvement of youth in society.
Give us a short overview of what you consider to have been a key moment in your career. What brought you where you are today?
In 2008, I did some environmental activism and advocated for the preservation of ancient natural features and monuments from the Roman period. At that time, I start considering engaging in municipal politics to fight corruption and preserve nature and my country. I became a politician and dedicated myself full time to good governance. I won the election for the Kfardebian council in Mount Lebanon in 2010 and was re-elected in 2016 for another 6 years. I now have established a movement for youth in politics called “One Young Lebanon“,
What one thing about working in your sector do you wish was different?
I wish there were more women involved in politics, in particular in Parliament, committees, and municipal councils. To have half of society represented in its institutions would make an invaluable difference to Lebanon and would improve good representation of all its citizens – to have elected representatives who understand the lived experience of their constituents.
What work have you done with GPG, and how would you describe the impact of your work with GPG?
I work with GPG as an Associate and trainer for their project in Lebanon promoting women’s empowerment and representation in politics. This brought me to witness GPG’s large-scale vision and professionalism, which helps women get in the right places. In three years of working with GPG, I have found that working for women’s political empowerment and agency has become, more than just a career, my mission in life.
Beyond GPG, tell us about an organisation or a programme you feel successfully contributes to strengthening representative politics around the world.
Beside GPG, I worked with ANSA – Affilated Network for Social Accountability in the Arab world – helping civil society in the MENA region to build their capacity to fight corruption and strengthen their decision-making skills for governance.
Share your thoughts on a recent event or news story that caught your attention.
At a recent event organised by GPG in Lebanon, I heard the story of women living in rural areas: I shocked and surprised me how strong women need to be to face the challenges of conservative areas. Women are fighters for peace and humanity; across the world, we all need to work hard to ensure women acquire their rights, get the chance to prove their strengths, and relieve society from patriarchal structures and corruption, and injustice. When women are absent from politics, it is women everywhere who suffer.