Lena Abbou

Project coordinator for Utopia 56, a migrant camp in Paris

9th Session

Residence: Paris, France

Languages: French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hebrew

Education: Degree in Law and Geography, La Sorbonne

LinkedIn: https://fr.linkedin.com/in/lena-abbou-9413a8a9

Interesting Facts: I am currently learning how to code.

After receiving her double degree in Law and Geography from La Sorbonne, Lena joined the Middle East and Peace Process Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the IGF program. There she coordinated peace projects between both civil societies, and took part in water negotiations over the Jordan river. She also dealt with a broad variety of projects including writing the speech delivered by Tzachi Hanegbi for the 20th anniversary of the Israeli Jordanian Peace deal, helping the new chargée d’affaire for Turkey acclimate to her position, and researching cybersecurity implications of non-state actors for the Committee of Experts on Cybersecurity of the UN. She also took part in delegations, including a Moroccan diplomatic mission, as a translator for the Conference on Fighting Antisemitism.
There she met her next mentor and boss, the Imam of Drancy, President of the Conference of Imams of France, who is a strong voice for interfaith dialogue and tolerance and against antisemitism within the French community. She worked for almost a year with him organizing interfaith dinners and prayers in Paris and Marseille during official commemorations after the attacks, as well as delegations of 150 Sunnis, Shias, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians to New York, Washington, Rome and the Vatican to meet other communities.
Lena still accompanies the Imam for the delegations but now works full time in the refugee camp of Paris, feeding, dressing, and treating people who have been through major traumas and whose situation in Europe is very difficult. Taking care of them means having a direct view into the situation of refugees in France and Europe, and gives her the opportunity to work towards bettering it with the municipality, NGOs, and civil society as a whole.