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AUB awarded substantial research grants from Carnegie
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  | 


The Carnegie Corporation has approved grants to fund regionally-relevant research at AUB on transnational social movements by the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship and on social sciences’ correlation with religious knowledge by Professor Sari Hanafi.

Asfari Institute research on transnational social movements

The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB received a two-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to work on the evolvement of transnational social movements in the Arab region. A team of public scholars and researchers, led by director of the Asfari Institute, Dr. Dina Khawaga, will work on the project entitled “Beyond Arab Exceptionalism: Transnational Social Movements in the Arab Region,” which aims to illustrate tangible shifts in public engagement and collective actions.  Bringing together policy experts and transnational social movement activists, the in-house research program will collaborate with research groups from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. 

The focus will be on political claims and social action in the five countries, as they converge with four global causes: austerity and social injustice; political and civil rights; gender equality; and access to natural resources. The research will map out their definition of the cause of their collective action, their types of organization, and their capacity to build coalitions with each other to address the closing public spheres in the region. The project seeks to reinforce the process of strengthening inclusive citizenship and state legitimacy through enhancing transnational social movement initiatives, actors, and networks; providing in-depth analyses of those movements across the region for integration into higher education programs within the region; and promoting democratic processes and participation by way of informing policy-practitioners. 

The first of its kind in the region, the Asfari Institute advances research and initiatives to support the development of an informed citizenry engaged at all levels of Arab associational life and promote openness, transparency, and accountability in the region. It aims to make a unique and valuable contribution to progress in the region during this era of transition and beyond.

"Transnational causes have encouraged multiple forms of mobilizations among Arab citizens over the last 20 years around human rights, gender equity, social justice, access to public services and anti-globalization,” Dr. Dina Khawaga told us. “This project tries to map these rising forces of activism and their respective trajectories in five Arab countries beyond the so called Arab exceptionalism.”

Dr. Sari Hanafi connects social sciences with religious knowledge

Professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Sari Hanafi received a two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation for his project entitled “Connecting Social Sciences with Religious Knowledge in Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco: Research and Policy”.

The two-year grant funds a project that brings together research and policy, investigating the relationship between social science and religious science and creating a Portal for the Social Impact of Scientific Research (PSISR) targeting research related to the Arab World.  The project will also aim to design textbooks/curricula/syllabi that serve as undergraduate and graduate introductory courses for faculty of Sharia/Islamic studies as well as an undergraduate course (Religion and Society) in social science in Arab universities. 

With an aim to facilitate discussions between social scientists and policy makers on the one hand, and with religious scholars, leaders, and preachers on the other, the project will work closely with institutions in charge of religious affairs and faculties of Sharia and Islamic studies to organize forums in each country.

The project will also collaborate with bodies such as the National Council for Scientific Research – Lebanon (CNRS-L) and various initiatives, programs, and departments at AUB to disseminate research through a series of lectures and talks facilitated by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies; the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI); other departments and programs at AUB; and other universities involved in this project in Morocco, Algeria, and Jordan.

“This research addresses many connections; fixing the broken cycle between university, research, and society in the Arab world but also making religious sciences more informed by the social sciences and the humanities, and eventually, the social sciences more acquainted with religious phenomena,” Dr. Hanafi told us. “I am so excited to lead this project with my colleagues at AUB and universities in Algiers, Amman, and Rabat.” 
Story Highlights
  • ​​The Carnegie Corporation has approved grants to fund regionally-relevant research at AUB on transnational social movements by the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship and on social sciences’ correlation with religious knowledge by Professor Sari Hanafi.
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