American University of Beirut

Localized Knowledge Ecosystems in East Africa and the Middle East

​​​​​Funded by the Canadian International Development Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN) at the Carleton University and the African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC) in Kenya, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut conducted this research project seeking to generate a more nuanced understanding of how localized knowledge ecosystems on forced displacement can be effective, policy impactful, and sustainable.

This project builds on earlier research undertaken in 2019 and 2020 which aimed to support an evidence-based understanding on how to localize research on refugee and forced migration issues in key regions of the Global South. The aim of this phase is to transition from anecdotal to evidence-based insights on how localized “ecosystems" of research, civil society, and refugee-led initiatives produce new forms of knowledge on displacement issues that have an impact on policy and practice. Project researchers set out to understand how localized knowledge ecosystems in Kenya and Ethiopia in East Africa and Jordan and Lebanon in the Middle East produce, translate, and use knowledge to effect change. This was achieved through in-depth case studies of knowledge ecosystems, sub-ecosystems, and entities that make up knowledge ecosystems in each of the four included countries.​


  • ​How do national and local actors produce new forms of knowledge that impact policy and practice in the Middle East?
    • ​ ​What role do these different actors play in the knowledge ecosystem on forced displacement?
    • What types of knowledge are they producing, and to what end?
    • How is this knowledge being shared between actors within this ecosystem?
  • ​What is the value of localized knowledge ecosystems in promoting a more nuanced and localized understanding of forced displacement issues?​

Project Outputs

Regional report: An Overview of Knowledge Ecosystems on Forced Displacement in the Middle East- Examples from Lebanon and Jordan​

Case study report: Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation- A Government-Led Knowledge Ecosystem on Forced Displacement.​

Case study report: The Refugees, Displaced, Persons, and Forced Migration Studies Center- An Academic Research Center in Jordan's Knowledge Ecosystem on Forced Displacement​.

Case study report: Basmeh & Zeitooneh Relief and Development- A Refugee-Led Organization in Lebanon's Knowledge Ecosystem on Forced Displacement.​

Case study report: The Lebanon Policy and Research Network on Displacement – A Knowledge Sub-Ecosystem on Forced Displacement​

Conference presentation: “IASFM19: Global Issues, Regional Approaches – Contexts, Challenges, Dialogues and Solutions" in August 2022 on panel entitled “Localized Knowledge Ecosystems: Lessons from East Africa and the Middle East.

Our research team was invited to take part in a webinar on January 16 organized by LERRN to launch the Middle East results from the project Evaluation of Refugee-Led Organizations in East Africa and the Middle East.

Project Contact Persons

Project Manager: Yara Mourad,

Project Coordinator: Nadia Nameh,

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