She's got the power: Laury Haytayan - Humanity House
5 March 2020

She's got the power: Laury Haytayan

Laury Haytayan is an oil & gas expert in the Middle East and North Africa. She leads the parliamentary capacity development portfolio at the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

Laury pursued her bachelor’s degree of Arts in Communication Design from the Lebanese American University. Later she earned a master’s degree in ‘Middle East Politics’ from the University of Exeter in Devon, United Kingdom. Later on, Laury shifted her focus to the Oil and Gas Sector in Lebanon, as a means for national development and peace building. 

I started working as a journalist back in 1997 until almost 2000, trying to find answers to many questions I have collected for years. I grew up during the civil war in Beirut, Lebanon. I would go to school and was never sure if I would ever come back home. This wasn’t a normal life, so I had a lot of questions, during childhood. My father used to answer these questions when I was a child, but then I grew up and had to start searching for answers on my own. I was also interested in politics because I wanted to understand why I had such a hard childhood. Journalism made me realize the amount of lies in politics and this made me want to work for better politics in my country.

I did my master in middle east politics because I figured it’s not just about Lebanon it is about the region. If you want to understand what is happening in Lebanon you have to understand what is happening in the whole region. I went to the UK, finished my studies and came back to realize that I have no place in the traditional political system in Lebanon. Around 2000 I started working for NGOs fighting against corruption and working with the younger generations on issues like rule of law, accountability, and transparency. The constant factor in this work was to find the answers and create a better country. Then my interest developed and I started being interested in economy and the importance of economy. This happened around the time when Lebanon wanted to start working with the oil and gas sector so I started heading there and it has almost been ten years now that I am working in this field.

About Hivos, it was during the elections, through Maharat in 2018, we were running for elections under a civil society movement and Hivos helped us to get the exposure needed. Suddenly I became the oil and gas spokes person for social media and classical media. This gave me responsibility and made me realize that it is now not about me only, it is about what I share and how it impacts others.

'I want to be part of the new Lebanon we are trying to build.'

I am a human being that has dreams, and I want to achieve these dreams, regardless if I am a woman or a man. Here in Lebanon you can very easily be placed in a box. Either with your religion or gender and within your gender they will find other boxes, If you are a woman, they box you with your role – a wife, a mother, etc-. So I just dropped all those boxes from my head. I just do my thing as a human being, I don’t want to be boxed at all.

In 2008, I had a project in Iraq and my son was two years old, I took the project. I left my son with my husband and went to Iraq. If I think about all the stuff people said about not leaving my son when he is this young and that my husband should stop me for the future of my son, if I would listen to all of this, I would have probably been sitting at home now instead of being in this interview, maybe thinking about what meal to cook today, as the top of my worries. Instead, I am here today thinking about how to contribute to a better tomorrow.

I want to be part of the new Lebanon we are trying to build. Oil and gas is a very important topic today, and because my experience is with oil and gas, I feel like I have a contribution to make, and if I have the chance to be part of the new Lebanon, I want to make a change.

'I am a human being that has dreams, and I want to achieve these dreams, regardless if I am a woman or a man.'

Laury Haytayan is one of the speakers during the Event International Women’s Day: She’s got the power. She is an independent politician from Lebanon. Within the male-dominated Lebanese political system, she passionately attempts activating more women in politics. During this event we will share personal stories with performances and dialogue with the audience.


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