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The occasion is firstly to launch a recently published special issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Reproductive Health Matters including 11 papers by members of the network. We also celebrated 30 years of the existence of the network, the Reproductive Health Working Group, that was founded by Dr. Huda Zurayk and regional colleagues in the late 1980s, and is therefore unusual in persisting for all these decades (which we address in one of the papers). I have coordinated it for the last period of about 9 years on a part-time basis, and we hold a regional meeting almost every year to support new researchers in the field from the Arab region and Turkey.

The launch took place on the afternoon of March 26 at the RHWG host institution, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, followed by a reception. Dean Nuwayhid, of the Faculty of Health Sciences,  addressed the participants; there was a panel on the history of the network and its role, and a second panel (chaired by Jennifer Leaning of Harvard University, a keynote at one of our meetings) of authors from the special issue. Selected paper authors and key regional members of the network attended as well as guests from Lebanon who work in the field.

We thought the special issue and history of the network is of wide interest, particularly as many of the papers cover the theme of health in the midst of conflict, forced displacement and political turmoil, and typically networks do not always endure in this region for one reason or another. The IDRC grant to FHS (and within that to the RHWG) supported the costs as well including the open-access charges which means the papers are freely available.

Link to the article on AUB website

All the best,

Jocelyn DeJong Professor and Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs Faculty of Health Sciences