The British Embassy in Lebanon has earned praise and a loyal following in Lebanon for its support of social media as a means of engagement with Lebanese citizens over the past few years. In keeping with that digital tradition, Ambassador Tom Fletcher hosted a virtual dinner via Google hangout yesterday where citizens could envision and discussion what kind of Lebanon they want in the years ahead. The conversation was organized around 10 questions posed by the ambassador. Explaining his intentions, Ambassador Fletcher writes:

So we want to start a conversation about Lebanon 2020. To lift debate beyond the year ahead, important as it is. Stability yes, but also growth and reform. A focus on the factors that unite rather than divide. We think that new groups, often disenfranchised, should be central to this conversation: business, civil society, youth. We must of course learn the lessons from the past. But we cannot make progress solely by looking in the rear view mirror.
Also in Arabic:

لذلك نريد أن نبدأ بحوار حول لبنان 2020. علينا أن أن نبدأ بالنقاش – بأهميته – بدءاً بهذا العام، من الإستقرار حتماً إلى النموّ والإصلاح. يجب أن نركّز على العوامل التي تجمعنا عوضاً عن التي تفرقنا. على مجموعات جديدة باستقلالها غالباً أن تكون في اساس هذا الحوار من الأعمال، إلى المجتمع الأهلي والشباب. علينا أن نتعلم من دروس الماضي ولكن لا يمكن إحراز أيّ تقدّم إذا ستمرّينا بالنظر إلى ما مضى.

In addition to Google hangouts, channels opened for the conversation included the hashtag #leb2020, @hmatomfletcher@ukinlebanon, and soon, a new space on the embassy’s website.