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For the third year running, international affairs master’s students from AUB and St. Gallen University in Switzerland collaborated in a teaching and research initiative. The event, which focused this year on "The Economics, the Law, and the Politics of Forced Migration," was held on April 4, 2018 under the auspices of AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Small teams of students from the two universities prepared for the conference in Beirut by conducting research on issues related to forced migration. Prior to the event, teams sent draft papers to panel members for review. Once the international students came to Beirut, the participants spent two days presenting their papers to the entire group and the guest panelists. AUB faculty members—Dr. Charbel Nahas, Dr. Omar Dewachi, and IFI Coordinator of the Refugee Research and Policy in the Arab World Program Maysa Baroud—provided valuable feedback to the students to be included in their final papers.
For the students, the seminar provided a unique opportunity to challenge their own perception of the issues at stake and to learn from applying different perspectives. It was an experience meant to broaden the students’ understanding of complex international concerns and enhance their critical thinking skills.
The participants included master’s students from St. Gallen studying international affairs and governance (MIA), as well as master’s students in public policy and international affairs (PPIA) at AUB. It was a truly global event because the St. Gallen contingent included double-degree students from Sciences Po (Paris), Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, Boston), and Yonsei Graduate School of International Studies (Seoul). The students were mentored by faculty members Mahmoud Haidar and Andreas Böhm, who co-organized this collaboration between St. Gallen and AUB.
To conclude the communal experience, the students went on a field trip to Bar Elias in the Beqaa Valley to visit the AUB-Ghata schools, which provide primary school education to Syrian refugees living in informal tented settlements, and the University Bridge Program for young adult refugees. The visiting students were also able to learn about Lebanese history and culture and enjoy Lebanon’s world-renowned culinary treats.