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Presented By: Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies

CMENAS Colloquium Series. Alcohol Harm Reduction in Lebanon: The Context, The Industry and the Young Consumer; The Role of Islam in Public Health Policy on Smoking Cessation

Lilian Ghandour, Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut; Peter Walton, Independent Researcher

2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series 2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series
2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series
The 2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series theme is "Public Health and Pandemics across the MENA: A Multidisciplinary Exhibit."

Please register to attend at, and a Zoom link will be emailed to you.

About the Presentations:

Alcohol harm reduction in Lebanon: The Context, the iIndustry and the Young Consumer
Alcohol is a recognized global public health and sustainable development issue. The Arab world includes 22 diverse countries stretching from North Africa to Western Asia having varying dispositions with regards to alcohol sale and consumption. The talk will summarize the state of alcohol use research in the Arab world, and its implications; describe the experiences/views of Arab adolescents with regards to behavioral and structural determinants of underage drinking; and discuss effective harm reduction strategies and key implementation considerations.

The Role of Islam in Public Health Policy on Smoking Cessation
In the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office some 14 years ago, a ‘religiously inspired approach’ was proposed to combat tobacco use. This promoted a useful debate in the region. The purpose of this talk is to argue the need to identify the role which Islamic beliefs and teachings play (1) in influencing individual motivation to quit smoking and (2) in gaining support for public policies to reduce smoking. Ramadan and Hajj are taken as key points. These, it is argued, are times when Muslim religious motivation to abstain from smoking is strongest. I will suggest that the evidence base is not strong enough to adopt such an approach, which would be unique to this region. Rather, all of civil society, including Muslim religious authorities, should support the efforts of health professionals to encourage smoking cessation.

About the Speakers:
Lilian A. Ghandour is a tenured associate professor of epidemiology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut (AUB). She holds a PhD from the Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Public Health from AUB. Her research focuses on examining the epidemiology of substance use and mental health in youth, namely underage drinking, prescription drug abuse, and cannabis. Most recently, her research work has focused on generating local evidence (and mobilize key stakeholders) to push for alcohol harm reduction policies—regulating alcohol availability, affordability, marketing/advertising and drink-driving. Her work is published in high-tier international journals, and has been disseminated in various global conferences.

Peter Walton graduated with masters degrees from both the University of Edinburgh and the University of London, in History and Latin American Studies respectively. He has taught English as a Foreign Language in Chile (1971-2), in Portugal and later in Preston College and in Manchester, both in the UK. At Preston College, he was a lecturer on the outreach programme for local Muslim schools.

His interests are in the fields of public health and education. He co-authored with Saudi colleagues an article in 2018 in the Journal of Religion and Health entitled 'Islam and Motivation to Quit Smoking: Public Health Policy Implications. Last year, he published 'Virtues of the Educator'—a translation and commentary on an address given by Paulo Freire, the Brazilian activist and educator.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact Kristin Waterbury at

Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series 2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series
2021 CMENAS Colloquium Series

Livestream Information

November 17, 2021 (Wednesday) 2:00pm

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