Sabine Choucair, Lebanese humanitarian clown and founder of Clown Me In, received the Il Clown nel Cuore 2019 award at the Clown&Clown Festival in Monte San Giusto, Italy, for her work using the art of clowning on the streets and in crisis and conflict zones with refugees, disadvantaged communities, women, and diverse social groups around the world.
More than 10,000 people attended the award ceremony. The Il Clown nel Cuore award recognizes artists who combine comedy and the joy of living with humanitarian missions in solidarity with those in need, thus becoming models for the community.
Over the years, the award has recognized the work of big names, including Andrea Caschetto, Dario Ballantini, and Patch Adams.
Sabine Choucair is the first woman to receive this award.
حازت سابين شقير، المهرجة والناشطة اللبنانية ومؤسسة Clown Me In ، على جائزة Il Clown nel Cuore 2019 في مهرجان Clown & Clown في مونتي سان جيوستو، إيطاليا، عن عملها باستخدام فن التهريج في الشوارع وفي مناطق الأزمات والنزاعات مع اللاجئين والمجتمعات المحرومة والنساء والفئات الاجتماعية المتنوعة في جميع أنحاء العالم
حضر المهرجان وحفل توزيع الجوائز أكثر من 10000 شخص
تعترف جائزة Il Clown nel Cuore بالفنانين الذين يَجمعون بين الكوميديا والفرح والمهام الإنسانية تضامنا مع المحتاجين، وبالتالي يصبحون نموذجا يحتذى به في المجتمع
على مر السنين، أعطيت هذه الجائزة لأسماء كبيرة تم الاحتفاء بأعمالهم، ومنهم Andrea Caschetto و Dario Ballantini و Patch Adams.
سابين شقير هي أول امرأة تحصل على هذه الجائزة
with experience in finance/accounting and operations
Clown Me In (Awrad Association) is a clowning and street theatre NGO based in Beirut, which uses clowning to spread laughter and provide relief to disadvantaged communities while exploring human vulnerabilities and helping individuals to accept them. Clown Me In has worked around the world, in Mexican, Lebanese, Palestinian, Indian, Brazilian, Moroccan, Jordanian, Syrian, Greek and British communities.
We are looking for a self-motivated and result-driven operations officer with extensive experience in finance/accounting and operations for NGOs.
Duties will include formulating policies, coordinating and following up with project managers of the different projects, working on general budgets, allocating budget resources, monitoring and motivating staff, managing operational costs, improving administration processes, identifying new opportunities, and monitoring financial activities.
The successful candidate for this role should possess good communication skills, exceptional budgeting and finance skills and strong leadership qualities.
Operations Officer responsibilities:
- Overseeing daily operations
- Developing and implementing growth strategies
- Developing and implementing policies in accordance to international NGOs norms
- Creating and managing budgets
- Evaluating performance and productivity
- Analysing accounting and financial data
- Generating reports
- Managing cash box and bankbook
- Drafting contracts
- Overseeing the legal papers of Awrad Association
- Overseeing the work being done at the new space
- Make all due cash payments in a timely manner in coordination with project managers.
- Make sure that all invoices are in compliance with rules and regulations required by the Lebanese government and donors.
- Make sure there are sufficient funds in cashbox and that cash counting is carried out on a weekly basis.
- Record all payments in cashbox sheet in a timely manner.
- Archive all financial supporting documents of cashbox according to budgets and projects.
- Make all due payments either via check or bank transfers in coordination with project managers and president.
- Record all payments in bankbook in a timely manner.
- Manage online banking.
- Carry out monthly bank reconciliations in coordination with president.
- Archive all financial supporting documents of bankbook according to budgets and projects.
- Make sure that there are sufficient funds in bank account in order to carry out due payments on time upon request of project manager and/or president.
- Draft new consultancy contracts per budgetary requirements.
- Archive resumes and contracts per projects.
- Deliver financial reports due to donors on time in cooperation with project manager.
- Provide all required financial supporting documents to donor due along with reports.
- Provide all documents required by the auditor for the preparation of end-of-year reports to the government and follow up with auditor and lawyer to guarantee that reports are submitted in due time.
Operations Officer qualifications:
- Degree in business management and/or MBA or similar
- At least 3 years of experience in NGOs
- Strong leadership qualities
- Highly organised
- Computer literate
- Good Arabic and English (French is a plus)
To apply, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Operations Officer” as a subject along with a motivation letter and your CV before April 19th.
Short-listed candidates will be contacted on the 22nd of April.
Job starts on May 1st 2019
Sabine Choucair, from Clown Me In – Lebanon, showcased the work she and her team are doing with refugees and disadvantaged communities in the Middle East and Europe. And opened a discussion about how artists can make a positive difference through our work. She is the proud co-founder of the IIVVSS ( International Institute of Very Very Serious Studies) that will be launched in Lebanon in the coming few months.
Wednesday, August 29th, at 7.30pm
Boulder Circus Center
4747 26th St, Boulder, CO 80301
These are some of the themes that we will be exploring.
The Hero and the Fool: how tragedy and comedy dance together.
What is the politics of the Fool?
Laughter is a human right. And so is Play, Joy and Humour.
What is the role of Clowns in areas of humanitarian crisis?
What is the difference between performing as clowns and touring to different communities vs using it as tool to find stories and spend more time with people?
Storytelling, trauma and the resilience of the heart.
How we as a community can take our work further?
Donations are very welcome and will fund the work of Clown Me In-Lebanon.
400 clowns from 50 different countries and 150 healthcare clown organisations gathered in Vienna for the very first Healthcare Clowning International Meeting hosted by Red Noses, and Sabine was one of them!
She was invited to give a workshop passing on methods she has used in Lebanon and elsewhere when working with refugees and disadvantaged communities. She led her workshop ‘We must clown: different artistic formats to engage with refugees’ on the first day of the conference for a group of 20.
Together they had a lot fun, playing games and engaging in focused exercises but they also talked about the use of clowning in crisis zones. They listened to stories recorded from children during The Caravan projects to help to contextualise the work that we do at Clown Me In and discussed the techniques we use.
“The conference was an incredible experience, all these awesome clowns gathered together in one space in a frenzy of silliness, laughter and practical jokes all in the context of a huge learning experience. It was fantastic to hear from so many very accomplished clowns working in healthcare clowning, leading fascinating and eye opening conversations about our form of art and performance, it’s techniques and effects.” – Sabine
Upon her return Sabine exclaimed that it was definitely one of the most fun conferences she had ever been to, and honestly who can blame her? An auditorium full of 400 clowns? Who wouldn’t want to be there!
As clowns we tend not to be too dramatic about things, so when we cry or make a fuss you KNOW it’s for a good reason. Back in February we joined a protest (I know, I know, February was a long time ago – but we’ve been in mourning!) to express our extreme distress at the government’s solution to our ongoing trash crisis: to build an incinerator for Beirut! Apparently it’s not enough that our sea is drowning in trash, that our landscape is littered with plastic, that our food has become poisonous and that the air is filled with the exhausts of a million cars. Apparently now we must inhale the fumes of all the trash piled up and burning in our very own incinerator!
So we joined the demonstration, protesting in the only way we know to be effective: with a good dose of humour. We arrived with a goal and determination to break the Guinness World Record for the longest noose of trash. On our shoulders we bore an incinerator and around our neck was tied a noose. We hugged each other and sobbed loudly –
We were received with surprise and encouragement from the many people gathered on the streets of Beirut that day. A couple even asked us to include their infant in our procession which we did gladly, giving him a bright red clown nose and carrying him whilst we set up our Guinness World Record breaking noose of trash. The crowd was keen to take part, we placed the noose around one of our necks and with the help of enthusiastic (and sometimes weary) volunteers we held it up with a broomstick and started piling on the trash.
Our attendance at the demonstration is part of our long term clown commitment to living in a cleaner and healthier environment. You may remember us from the last protest we attended where we were interviewed by the press:
After everyone had packed up and gone home, we received a message from one of the organiser’s of the event who thanked us for our participation and intervention because we had transformed the protest from a dramatic and heavy on the heart event into something a little more enjoyable. It is always important to stand up for our rights. See you very soon on the streets, where we will be standing up for social justice with a little side of clown humour!
Back in July I was invited to represent Lebanon as a storyteller at the 2017 Jeux de la Francophonie in Abidjan.
I used the opportunity to share stories about my experiences clowning for refugees with Clown Me In and Clowns Without Borders.
I am always grateful to be given a platform to tell these stories, they are stories that are very important to me and to many others I am sure. They ares stories of human suffering, compassion and love. They are stories that need to be shared with the world. Thank you to all the artists and athletes with whom I had the pleasure of sharing these few days with, and thank you to my fellow Clown Me In member Chantal Mailhac who translated all the stories into french.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to work with PanOptikum, a theatre ensemble based in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
My relationship with the producer Matthias Rettner of Pan Optikum actually began 5 years ago when Chantal Mailhac (fellow Clown Me In member) and myself were performing Whispered Tales in Portugal. Pan Optikum were doing a huge street production so Matthias was there and able to catch our show. He loved it and invited us to work with the theatre one day.
5 years later and here we are! Matthias contacted me and asked me to take part in PanOptikum’s project entitled ‘Power of Diversity – The Crossing Lines’. I was invited to Freiburg on 3 separate occasions for 9 days each where I worked with youth and refugees to develop the piece HOCHWASSERZUKUNFT (High Water Future) which was co-directed by Sigrun Fritsch.
I had a fantastic time working with the group who were enthusiastic and great collaborators! We had the pleasure of working in the big and beautiful PanOptikum workshop space ordinarily used for building their sets. Working on a German text was a challenge for me but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I was able to focus more on the physical performance and stage presence. Sigrun did the rest and most of the amazing work
In February, the show was finally performed for two nights on the small stage of the Freiburg Theatre to a completely packed audience on both nights!
My final week in Frieburg, I performed Whispered Tales in two cafes. Whispered Tales is a collection of Lebanese and Syrian stories told alongside musical accompaniment and enjoyed with Lebanese coffee and thyme and oil. The performances in Freiburg were particularly exciting because I teamed up with students from UCW Freiburg. I spent three hours at their school telling them stories with students improvising the accompanying music and then three of the students offered to perform with me in the cafes!
So, together with Imelda, Donovan and Katja, we spent three hours rehearsing and then set off for our first performance. It took place in a small local café with an audience of about 40. The second night we performed at the theatre café before the main performance where we attracted an audience of 150 people! Both shows were a huge success, so thank you Imelda, Donovan and Katja for taking part and being so wonderful!
All photographs credit to Felix Groteloh
In May, Sabine spent 3 weeks clowning along the Balkan Route for The Route to Connect, a Service Civil International project. With Clay Mazing from Clowns Without Borders USA they spent 3 days training 16 volunteers in clowning before setting off together.
Throughout their journey, the group met beautiful people living in shocking conditions surrounded by fences, barbed wire and a complete lack of humanity and understanding from their host governments. Sabine reported what she saw along the way in a series of facebook posts. We have gathered them all here to be read as a journal, documenting the injustice of the refugee crisis in Europe but also the beautiful moments they managed to find amidst the sadness.
Please share these stories far and wide with friends and acquaintances!
More pictures from our Clown Attack in Aitanit!
So much fun running through the streets and playing with the schoolchildren!
It’s so important to teach children about the negative consequences of littering on our environment, our health and wellbeing. Teaching them to practice responsible garbage disposal and recycling early on is the best way to engrain good habits!
HERE’S TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF RECYCLERS!
All these beautiful pictures are courtesy of Enke Hwang.