American Univesity of Beirut

What The Lebanese Want

​​​​​​​March 3, 2022

​​​​​In September 2021, Zogby Research Services conducted a survey of 869 Lebanese adults across all age and income brackets, political affiliations, and geographic locations. The poll was sponsored by the American Task Force on Lebanon and the report published in November under the title: Crisis of Confidence: Lebanese Reflect on their Crisis, their Institutions, and their Future.

On February 15, 2022, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs held a webinar to discuss the results of​ the poll and focus on issues directly tied to the university and its community. 

President Khuri opened the panel, reiterating the university’s commitment to face the challenges laid bare in the survey, followed by a presentation from James Zogby, then two academic experts who addressed the survey’s results through different disciplinary perspectives: one political, one psychological. 

Following are some of their observations as well as a few interesting findings from the poll.

Fadlo R. Khuri, AUB president
“Many [in the poll] naturally express willingness, even eagerness, to emigrate if given the opportunity. This is the single greatest concern in our view. As an educational institution that regards human capital as a first and foremost treasure of any nation or people, these findings underline the risk—and in fact the phenomenon—of a severe brain-drain and loss of existing talent and skilled labor. AUB has been addres​sing these contingencies for years and today intensifies its efforts to restore and build: not just buildings, but institutions, values, and the will to prosper.”

Jamil Moua​wad, lecturer, Department of Political Studies and Public Administration
“The Lebanese are somehow optimistic that elections will bring about political change to the country … The poll mentions that two-thirds expressed their intention to vote for new alternative parties as opposed to only one in five say that they would vote for the traditional parties. The question is to what extent this will translate into voting ballots and is in not just maybe wishful thinking, a kind of lip service.”

Brigitte Khoury, associate professor and clinical psychologist, Department of Psychiatry
“What increases stress and anxiety is the sense of lack of power; the powerlessness. I think the Lebanese lost their sense of control and power when it comes to the simplest daily tasks: getting gas, getting bread, medications, seeking medical care, paying for tuition, accessing money in the banks. We know money gives a sense of security and control, so when we cannot even control what we can get from the bank—they dictate our finances—it leaves people feeling powerless and not in control of their own life.”

Watch the full webinar here:


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