Lebanese Transparency Association
The critical activities of the Lebanese Transparency Association relate to implementing awareness and advocacy programs that nurture the utmost levels of professionalism and curb the activities of corruption in all scenarios (LTA, 2013). Additionally, the organization enhances transparency in public and private entities in Lebanon, and they advocate practices linked to good governance in the country. The Lebanese Transparency Association makes immense progress in its fight against the forces of corruption, and to date, the entity is a leading institution in terms of curbing corruption in Lebanon. More intently, the organization is reputable in the Middle East region and among the stakeholders of the international community. The achievements of LTA attribute to the utmost levels of the dedication of its workers and sufficient members’ network (Bishara, 2011). Moreover, the organization nurtures strong partnerships with other stakeholders. For instance, in 2005, the LTA closely worked with UNDP to initiate a project aimed at eliminating corruption in Lebanon.
A report from Transparency International indicates that Lebanon is among the top 50 corrupt countries in the world (LTA, 2013). Additionally, the country emerged 14 out of 19 in terms of high corruption in the Middle East and North African region. The factors that cause the high levels of corruption in the country include outdated pieces of legislation, an inefficient judicial framework, and not upholding the law appropriately (Cammett, 2011). The international donors and the diplomatic community appreciate a country that highlights a high level of commitment when fighting corruption. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) advocates the formation of bodies that prevent corruption in all the 140 countries, which are signatories to the pact. Anti-Corruption entities have the mandate to investigate malfeasance and to prevent all forms of corruption. The economic endowment of any country depends on the eradication of corruption, and this necessitates a study linked to the Lebanese Transparency Association (Choucair-Vizoso, 2014). The study focuses on the American University of Beirut, which is in Lebanon. More precisely, the LTA focuses on disseminating its documents to the public and private universities so that it advocates good governance and a corruption-free country.
The principles of ethics, morality, and justice are of utmost importance in any country. The moment a country fails to uphold the utmost levels of these three principles, it is prone to be extremely corrupt (Ghosn & Khoury, 2011). With the presence of numerous terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, curbing bribery in public and private entities becomes extremely difficult. The quality of government also depends on the notions of the higher institutions of learning. The Lebanese Transparency Association focuses on eliminating corruption in Lebanon and making it a bribery free country (Saad, 2012). If the future leaders of the country do not nurture the appropriate values, the state may end up not overcoming corruption. To reform Lebanon, it is essential to cultivate governance interventions that will promote a progressive agenda in the country.
The countries facing numerous cases of corruption ought to transform the values nurtured in their institutions of learning. More intently, the countries faced by massive cases of corruption ought to conform their frameworks to the international standards. Good governance groups set such standards, and this helps in eliminating the levels of corruption (Zaum & Cheng, 2011). Additionally, practices deemed acceptable by liberal peace agents supersede traditional and customary practices. Adequate governance interventions influence the ideologies advocated by the institutions of higher learning. More precisely, good governance practices go beyond administrative practices, and they affect educational standards in the country (Bishara, 2011). Moreover, a country that curbs corruption promotes democracy, and democracy goes beyond electoral issues. In addition, democracy incorporates the participation of universities and the public in all policies, and it involves upholding human rights.
The elements of civil society, gender equality, awareness of minority groups, constitutional reform, and financial consistency all fall under good governance. The Lebanese Transparency Association has the mandate to ensure that it advocates continuous awareness programs and campaigns to ensure that there are no cases of bribery in all entities including universities (LTA, 2013). Universities are critical to the economy of any country and if the correct curriculum lacks in the institutions of higher learning, the country becomes corrupt. Additionally, the LTA continuously nurtures proper financial behavior among university students to ensure that the students are knowledgeable about appropriate practices that are in line with sound governance principles (Cammett, 2011).
As much as governance issues are political, they also touch on issues that are fundamental to the wellbeing of the society. More intently, education is fundamental to the Lebanese society and corruption in universities results in bribery in the public and private entities because the scholars are the future leaders of the country (Choucair-Vizoso, 2014). Moreover, the Lebanese Transparency Association has an obligation to ensure that universities including g the American University of Beirut are free from corruption. In any country, the education system is a pillar of good governance, and an adequate university framework guarantees appropriate governance practices in the future.
International organizations, such as the World Bank and IMF are keen on managing the projects attributed to advocating good governance practices. The IMF and World Bank invest substantially in the universities across many countries including Lebanon (Ghosn & Khoury, 2011). Thus, this attests to the fact that the educational system is an important component of the mission of the Lebanese Transparency Association. The LTA can manage to improve the efficiency of the government towards the Lebanese citizens, but this does not mean that the Lebanese people access an improved experience. The LTA must ensure that the citizens’ access to health, education, and social services is appropriate at all times, and it does this by eradicating corruption (LTA, 2013). Creating awareness in the universities ensures that the citizens access an enhanced service from the government because the students nurture appropriate virtues and the private and public sectors in Lebanon undergo an immense transformation.
Good governance practices in Lebanon will ensure that there is tackling of poverty, exclusion, and under development. Poverty, exclusion, and underdevelopment cause unrest in Lebanon and these three factors influence the ethical values of university students (Saad, 2012). The Lebanese Transparency Association faces many challenges in curbing corruption because of increased levels of corruption, and regional imbalance in Lebanon. A society going through a season of poverty tends to become corrupt in a massive way. The Lebanese Transparency Association acknowledges that it ought to nurture good enough governance frameworks, not just an agenda for eradicating corruption and implementing normal governance structures.
Lebanon experienced immense distortions in its governance structures because of the 1975- 1990 civil war (Zaum & Cheng, 2011). The Lebanese Transparency Association and other international entities, such as the UNDP, IMF, and World Bank aim to guarantee appropriate governance practices free of corruption in Lebanon. Important to note is that a vibrant civil society will ensure that the country formulates a proper governance structure in the universities and all the industries in the country. For Lebanon to be successful in curbing corruption, the youth including college students must be willing to associate with the Lebanese Transparency Association. They should regard it as a neutral entity, and this will make them appreciate the awareness programs and the campaigns of the LTA. In addition, Lebanon incorporates a majority of Muslims in its population. However, there are tremendous divisions between the Shiite and Sunni Muslims (Bishara, 2011). Such differences tend to affect educational institutions, and the LTA attempts to sensitize university students so that they do not tolerate any divisive politics. Division in Lebanon hinders the fighting of corruption, and the Lebanese Transparency Association advocates its campaigns by availing publications in universities to unite students and other Lebanese students to fight corruption.
The research focused on establishing the effectiveness of the Lebanese Transparency Association at the American University of Beirut. Ethics is the backbone of good governance, and if Lebanon upholds ethical values, the country will conquer the elements of corruption drastically (Cammett, 2011). The three components of ethics, which are utility, justice, and morality were under an in-depth examination to ascertain the effectiveness of LTA’s campaigns and awareness programs in the university. Additionally, the analysis aimed to discover the elements of ethical decision-making among 163 students in the university. The research activities included conducting self-assessment tests among the students to gauge their good governance principles. In addition, the study embraced data collection by use of focus groups, whereby there were categories of professionals and undergraduate students. The intent of the dissection was to establish the moral reasoning of the students when they encounter ethical dilemmas (Choucair-Vizozo, 2014). The 163 participants incorporated graduates and undergraduates, whereby there were 35 graduates, and 128 undergraduates. The majority of the respondents were females in both focus groups (graduates and undergraduates).
A lengthy discussion about the practices of good governance occurred and an in-depth analysis related to the implementation of the four elements of ethics among the students’ daily lives occurred. The critical elements of good governance that were under scrutiny included morality, justice, integrative social frameworks, and utilitarianism (Saad, 2012). The respondents had to write down and indicate the degree to which they value the three attributes, and the attributes that are more important to them.
A score of 0 to 8 was applicable in the study, and the self-assessments aimed to find out the personal attitude of the students towards good governance principles. More intently, the endeavors of the study were to ascertain the intentional behavior of the students, and the research was to establish how the students would behave when an ethical dilemma encounters them (corruption activities). Additionally, the statistical analysis of the students’ responses was evident in the study and the corresponding statistical means and profile scores had to be evident in the data collection process. It was also critical to determine the variant responses from the two focus groups, and from the different genders.
Analysis and Discussions
As depicted in Table 1, the principle that is most applicable to the undergraduate group is the morality principle. Moreover, the principle with the lowest score was utility. Thus, this depicts that the Lebanese Transparency Association has been effective in advocating morality amongst the undergraduate students at the institution (Ghosn & Khoury, 2011). Hence, that is a significant step towards eradicating corruption in the university structure of the country. As highlighted in Table 1, the male populations at the university appreciate the utility principle more than the females. Hence, this indicates that the utility campaigns run by LTA at the University influenced the male population more than their female counterparts. To improve the utilitarian levels among the females, the LTA must execute more campaigns. Such campaigns will ensure that the females appreciate the value of utilitarianism in fighting corruption in Lebanon and in practicing excellent governance (Bishara, 2011).
As depicted in Table 2, the graduates acknowledge morality more than the undergraduates. The mean score of the graduates was 5.8, and that of the undergraduates was 5.24. Good governance depends on morality in an immense manner, and this indicates that he graduates are more enlightened about the morality programs of the Lebanese Transparency Association (Cammett, 2011). Table 3 depicts the correlation between attitude and intentional behavior. As highlighted in Table 3, the undergraduate students tend to relate more to morality when it comes to matters of attitude and intentional behavior. Thus, this shows that the awareness initiatives, which fall under the mandate of the Lebanese Transparency Association, are not effective at the American University of Beirut because the students based their judgments on their personality. Moreover, as discussed earlier, Lebanon is one of the 50 top most corrupt countries (Ghosn & Khoury, 2011). Thus, this means that the initiatives LTA is conducting at the universities have not yet had an influence on the corruption index of Lebanon. However, the graduates and the undergraduates will become the future politicians of Lebanon. Hence, the Lebanese Transparency Association has to enlighten the students to improve the practices of good governance in the country to abrogate or minimize corruption.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The Lebanese Transparency Association should initiate training programs that advocate managerial ethics, and this will eradicate corruption in Lebanon (Choucair & Vizoso, 2014). The study shows that the students depend on their morality excessively, and this is an indication that the awareness programs executed by LTA have not yet been successful. The scholars base their judgments on family values, culture, religion, and personality, and this indicates a minimal influence by LTA (Zaum & Cheng, 2011). However, the respondents still have confidence in the justice system in the country notwithstanding the extreme levels of corruption in the nation. The analysis resulted in the formulation of some recommendations, and they are:
- The Lebanese Transparency Association should dedicate substantial resources to the universities and research must occur in other universities to determine the effectiveness of LTA.
- Ethical values and active citizenship help in eliminating corruption and LTA should advocate such values in the universities and the Lebanese society.
- The Lebanese Transparency Association should enhance its information technology framework so that it may convey numerous publications to universities and the citizens via online platforms.
- It is critical to carry out further research on the influence of the Lebanese Transparency Association in the companies, government institutions, the public, non-governmental organizations, and in other civil societies.
Bishara, N. D. (2011). Governance and Corruption Constraints in the Middle East: Overcoming the Business Ethics Glass Ceilings +. American Business Law Journal, 48227.
Cammett, M. C. (2011). Partisan activism and access to welfare in Lebanon. Studies in Comparative International Development, 46(1), 70-97.
Choucair-Vizoso, J. (2014). Spoils of Truce: Corruption and state building in postwar Lebanon. Political Science Quarterly, 129(1), 175-177.
Ghosn, F., & Khoury, A. (2011). Lebanon after the civil war: Peace or the illusion of peace? The Middle East Journal, 65(3), 381-397.
LTA. (2013). Lebanese Transparency Association annual report. Retrieved from http://www.transparency-lebanon.org/Modules/PressRoom/Reports/UploadFile/2829_13,11,YYAnnual Report 2013.pdf
Saad, W. (2012). Causality between economic growth, export, and external debt servicing: The case of Lebanon. International Journal of Economics and Finance, 4(11), 134-143.
Zaum, D., & Cheng, C. (2011). Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the peace? Routledge.
Table 1: Ethical principles in business students”! Gender American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Table 2: Ethical principles in business students: Professionalism American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Table 3: Ethical principles in business students’: Attitude and intentional behavior American University of Beirut, Lebanon