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Civil society actors need to better collaborate across issues, according to a panel held Wednesday examining the role of civil society in the Arab World. The event, titled "Can Arab Civil Society Actors Influence Public Policy-making?" was hosted by the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.Rasah Jarhun, a doctoral candidate in the U.K., presented her research on groups in Yemen that advocate against child marriage, despite the difficulties they face operating in a conflict setting.While the presenters provided numerous examples of successes, they also touched on the difficulties faced by civil society groups in addressing broader issues less tailored to specific interest groups.Manar Zaiter, director of the Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering, noted that, in order to play a larger role in policymaking, civil society organizations have to expand their scope.
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