July 15 2021 GM

From TCU Wiki
Glitter Meetups

Glitter Meetup is the weekly town hall of the Internet Freedom community at the IFF Square on the IFF Mattermost, at 9am EDT / 1pm UTC. Do you need an invite? Learn how to get one here.

Join us on July 15th to hear from Francoise Nehme and Moussa Saleh, the primary organizers of the Bread&Net 2021 unconference.

Bread & Net has quickly become one of the most loved and cherished community spaces in the digital rights community. It brings together hundreds of activists, technologists, journalists, researchers and others, to promote and defend digital rights across Arabic speaking countries in Southwest Asia and North Africa. It happens annually in Lebanon, and is hosted by SMEX, a nonprofit that focuses on advance digital rights in Lebanon and the Arab region.

Francoise and Moussa will:

  • Introduce Bread&Net 2021, including this edition's themes
  • Share the origin story of the event
  • Share how to register and apply for the call for proposal for sessions/workshops
  • Answer any questions folks may have about Bread&Net 2021


Francoise Nehme (she/her); Events Manager (Bread&Net) Over 210 trade shows and conferences managed and executed, extensive experience in the MENA region in the events industry, awarded various honorary certificates and awards for multi-national campaigns and events.

Moussa Saleh (he/him); Program Consultant (Bread&Net) Researcher and facilitator. Joined SMEX in 2019 and led the Bread&Net 2020nline edition. His work is centered around digital rights, religious freedom, online hate speech, and queer issues in the region.


You can find Francoise and Moussa on Mattermost as @francoisenehme and @moussasaleh.

Francoise recently joined SMEX / Bread&Net Events Manager and, previously, she was working with the Marathon Association (Events and Operations). Moussa has been working with SMEX since 2019, and led Bread&Net with its online format in 2020, and this year, he is supporting the event as a consultant while he is Program Coordinator with Internews, advocating for Safe spaces for queer folks.

Can you tell us the story of Bread&Net? How did it start?

  • B&N started with a different name as a small meeting with few folks from Beirut and the region. That was in 2018.
  • In 2019 we decided to launch Bread&Net as a community safe space in Beirut to discuss digital rights topics in the region and share knowledge
  • Just last year (2020), as you all know, we shifted the event online, and based on the feedback we got, it was a success!
  • This year we are introducing the hybrid mode!

What are the challenges of this year's hybrid format?

  • We have opted for the hybrid mode since we have been in lockdown(s) since forever we wanted to see the familiar faces we saw in the past years and meet in person
  • However, the COVID 19 situation in Lebanon and the region is likely to worsen. By the updates we are getting, now cases are rising on daily basis in Lebanon & the region
  • Vaccine shots are slowly rolling out
  • So its gonna limit the presence to a MINIMUM in some session & we will definitely have some travel restrictions / quaratine time
  • It is gonna be hard on some to travel and attend in person.
  • Some sessions are gonna be virtual in full

What are the main themes of this year's edition?

  • This year's main themes are:
    • Digital security
    • Policy advocacy
    • Resistance communities
    • Technology and a resource
  • Submissions are open from 18 June till 18 August

What is the process for submitting a session?

  • People can log in into the Call for Proposals page
  • They can fill out the form with general questions about their session & once we close the submission process, we will take all the sessions submitted and filter them with our Advisory Committee & see what is acceptable and what is not & then finalize the program based on that along with the attendance guide & Code of Conduct
  • We might also have an expo for regional artists on the virtual platform to encourage them to push their art regionally.

What are the main lessons learned from organizing Bread&Net?

  • Mainly that we need to cover more issues during the event: some people requested few new sessions that we will consider and will be working with our advisory committee on setting up the more sessions
  • We try each year to cover the whole region. Last year tho, due to the limitations we lost few sessions covering main issues in diff countries. that's why we want to reserve more time this year for the sessions to think of new sessions and the most topics we wanna tackle
  • We also worked on sessions structure guide that will be out this year
  • We are basically trying to clarify what are the sessions types and how the speakers should thing of their ideas based on that

What is your favourite thing about Bread&Net?

  • The preparation process & meeting new faces and names just like now
  • Learn most importantly about the topics, causes, communities around us
  • Seeing B&N actually happening after months of harddd work
  • Definitely the cocktail parties we used to do

What is facing the community in Lebanon

Since in Lebanon we have major events happening

  • revolution
  • Currency Depreciation
  • Political Situation
  • Covid
  • Poverty
  • Unemployment
  • electricity outbreaks
  • Fuel Crisis
  • Internet Cutoffs