The American University of Beirut (AUB), the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London, and the Center for Lebanese Studies are coming together to launch the “RELIEF" Centre, an interdisciplinary research center focusing on addressing issues of prosperity and improving quality of life in Lebanon and beyond.
On Monday 2 October 2017, Lebanese officials, international diplomats, members of the parliament, and senior representatives from the civil society partnering agencies and institutions met at the Grand Serail in Beirut under the patronage of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad el-Hariri, to announce the launch of the Refugees, Education, Learning, Information technology, and Entrepreneurship for the Future (RELIEF) Centre, a pioneering initiative funded by U.K. Economic and Social Research Council.
Speaking at this event, Dr. Fadlo Khuri, President of AUB stressed that “the three institutions together can do more than each of them alone", emphasizing on the significance of the RELIEF Centre in supporting the Lebanese government throughout the current Syrian refugees crisis.
Dr. Khuri highlighted that “AUB contributed significantly during the different crises that the people of this region suffered from in the last decades, starting from the Armenian crisis, through the Palestinian crisis, and down to the current Syrian crisis. AUB, in cooperation with international institutions and civil society organizations, played an important role in helping improve those people lives", added Dr. Khuri.
Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of the Issam Fares institute, considered that The RELIEF Centre will “build bridges among the knowledge producers and decision makers", confirming that the main objective of this initiative is to support the Lebanese government and PM Hariri in establishing a “realistic and fair policy advancing public interest, and that would help overcome the current binary that is based on, one side, the conceit of what Lebanon have suffered from by hosting Syrian refugees who have left their country, and the complain of the burden of this asylum on Lebanon from another, leaving us with this fruitless and frustrating bilateral."
“This collaboration is a full partnership. We are at the frontier of the refugee crisis and crisis of displacement and the needs of those communities," said Nasser Yassin, Director of Research at the Issam Fares Institute, and Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at AUB. He added that this project is a continuation of the mission that AUB has been undertaking since the First World War. “AUB has always been at the forefront of responding to those who need help the most," Yassin said.
U.K. Ambassador to Lebanon, Hugo Shorter, praised this event considering it as “a key indication of the significant role that universities should play worldwide. In Lebanon, universities show major interest in social development."
Also speaking at this event, Professor Henrietta Moore of the University College London Institute for Global Prosperity, who is leading the center, who, in a statement to the Daily Star, considered that “the massive displacement of people is one of the major challenges to global prosperity. It is now the new normal".
After the launching event, participants attended a lecture on Inclusive Growth and Prosperity in Lebanon by Moore, followed by a panel discussion between members of UCL, AUB and the Centre for Lebanese Studies was held at the Issam Fares Institute.
For more about the RELIEF Centre, please visit: