Universities Responding to the Refugee Crisis​


4th Conference of the Alliance of Lead Universities on Migration (ALUM)
Conference hosted by the American University of Beirut (AUB)Organized by AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, the Alliance of Lead Universities on Migration, the LSE Institute of Global Affairs, and the AUB4Refugees Initiative 

Date: November 6 - 7, 2017
Location: Olayan School of Business – Maamari Auditorium (AUB Lower Campus)


With this conference, members of the Alliance of Lead Universities on Migration (ALUM) aim to present and deliberate the critical role that universities can play in the current refugee crisis in Lebanon, and how they can ameliorate the situation of refugees by providing realistic ideas and policy proposals to the multiple challenges refugees face in their current predicament. We will be focusing on the implications of the ongoing challenging political context related to the current migration/displacement of so many people, and how the current public perception has been evolving over the years. We will also focus on the various health challenges facing refugees, including nutrition and basic healthcare provision. A crucial point that will be discussed is education, and the challenges refugees face in accessing primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Lastly, we will explore the role the private sector can play in job creation for those that are displaced.

  • To access OSB Maamari Auditorium, kindly enter through gate G66 and walk to building 0566. Click here for AUB Map
  • Click here for a full overview of the speakers’ biographies​


​​Day 1​

​Monday November 6, 2017​

​8:30am - 9:00am​
​9:00am - 9:30am
​Introductory Remarks

Nasser Yassin, Director of Research, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB & Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs, LSE

Opening Remarks 

Dr. Mohamed Harajli, Provost of the American University of Beirut

Ms. Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative, Lebanon

H.E. Mr. Marwan Hamadeh, Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education

​9:30am - 10:15am
​ Keynote Speech by Professor Marek Belka, Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland and Chairman of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Development Committee
​10:15am - 10:30am
​ Coffee Break
​10:30am - 12:00pm​
​Session 1 – Migration, Displacement and the Public Perception 
Chair: Tamirace Fakhoury, Department of Social Sciences, Associate Director of the Institute of Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR), Lebanese American University 

Sari Hanafi, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies, AUB
Valerio Dotti, Department of Economics, Washington University, St Louis
Ayşen Üstübici, Departments of International Relations and Sociology, Koç University
Policy-makers & Expert Opinion: 
Khalil Gebara, Policy and International Affairs Advisor to the Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities
Thaer Ghandour, Journalist & Media and Policy Advisor
12:00pm - 1:30pm​​Session 2 – Political and Institutional Constraints to Migration and Displacement 
Chair: Gibril Faal, Co-founder of GK Partners and founding director of Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform 

Carmen Geha, Department of Political Studies and Public Administration, AUB
Dominik Hangartner, Department of Government, LSE and Faculty Co-director of the Immigration Policy Lab
Carlo Devillanova, Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management, Bocconi University
Nate Breznau, Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim
Policy-makers & Expert Opinion: 
Carole Sharabati, Director of the Political Science Institute, Saint-Joseph University
​1:30pm - 2:30pm
​Lunch Break
​2:30pm - 4:00pm
​Session 3 – Return Migration and Vulnerable Groups 
Chair: Eleonore Kofman, Co-director of the Social Policy Research Centre, Middlesex University 

Nourhan Abdel Aziz, Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, American University in Cairo
Rebecca Bryant, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University
Brad Blitz, International Politics, Law Department, Middlesex University

Policy-makers & Expert Opinion:

Ziad El Sayegh, Expert on Public Policies and Refugees and Senior National Policy Advisor to the Ministry of State for Displaced Affairs
Muslih Irwani, Chair of the Center for Peace and Human Security, American University of Kurdistan
Marco Borraccetti, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Bologna
​4:00pm - 4:30pm
​ Coffee Break
​4:30pm - 6:00pm
​Roundtable 1 – Advocacy, Policy and Research Impact on Issues of Migration and Displacement 

Chair: Sobhiya Najjar, Journalist and News Reporter, LBCI 

  • How can universities maximize their policy impact on issues of displacement, including influencing international fora such as G7, G20, UNGA?
  • How can research-based activism be reinforced to support policy interventions?
  • What is the role of academic activism in times of conflict?
  • How to increase student engagement in areas of migration & refugee crises?
  • Showcase some examples of impactful activist research


Elie Al Hindy, Department of Political Science, Notre Dame University, Lebanon
Unni Karunakara, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University
Rabih Shibli, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service, AUB
Lilli Banholzer, Department of Political Science, Mannheim University
Shaden Khallaf, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR MENA
Maria Gabriella Trovato, Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management, AUB
Angelo Martelli, LSE & Rapporteur from INET Young Scholars meeting
Location: Common Room - West Hall, AUB 

Speech by Dr. Iman Nuwayhid, Dean of AUB’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Co-chair on the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria

Day 2

Tuesday November 7, 2017

​8:30am - 9:00am​
Welcome Coffee
9:00am - 9:45am
Keynote Speech by 
Dr. Francisco Marmolejo
Tertiary Education Global Coordinator and Lead Tertiary Education Specialist of the World Bank
9:45am - 11:15am
Fourth ​Session

Health and Nutrition of Migrants and Refugees 
Chair: Francesco Aureli, WHO Senior Advisor and former G7 Italian Sherpa on Migration 


Fouad Fouad, Director of the Refugee Health Program, Global Health Institute, AUB
Kaveh Khoshnood, Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Public Health, Yale
Lamis Jomaa, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Co-director of the Refugee Health Program, Global Health Institute, AUB

Policy-makers & Expert Opinion: 
Shadi Saleh, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs at AUB and the Founding Director of the Global Health Institute at AUB​
11:15am - 11:30am
​ Coffee Break
11:30am - 1:00pm
​Fifth Session
Refugee Education 
Chair: Sonia Languille, Higher Education Support Program, Open Society Foundation 


Maha Shuayb, Director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies
Keith David Watenpaugh, Co-director of UC Human Rights Collaboration, University of California, Davis
Hana Addam El-Ghali, Education and Youth Policy in the Arab World Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB
Sahar Almakhamreh, Head of Social Work Department, School of Applied Humanities and Languages, German Jordanian University
Policy-makers & Expert Opinion: 
Massa Mufti, Co-founder and Chair, Sonbola Group for Education and Development
Agatha Abi-Aad, Associate Education Officer, UNHCR
Pam DeLargy, Advisor to the President, Arizona State University
​1:00pm - 2:00pm
Lunch Break
​2:00pm - 3:30pm
Roundtable 2 – The Constructive Role of Business Initiatives and Scholarship in the Refugee Crises 

Chair: Charlotte Karam, Associate Dean of Programs, Olayan School of Business (OSB), AUB 
  • How can businesses better mobilize and organize capacity to build momentum toward more efficient and effective solution-oriented initiatives?
  • What are the potential mechanisms to facilitate business’s ability to foster innovation and find sustainable solutions to refugee problems?
  • Do business and management scholars have a public role in advocating the interests of non-shareholder stakeholders through advocacy, teaching and scholarship?

Nadim Munla, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Lebanon
Hoda Younan, Country Manager, Lebanon and NEPA New Markets, Microsoft
Harry Van Buren, Jack and Donna Rust Professor of Business Ethics, University of New Mexico
Randa Salamoun, Business Information Decision Systems, OSB, AUB
Yasser Akkaoui, Chairman, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Bijan Azad, Business Information Decision Systems, OSB, AUB
3:30pm - 4:30pm
​Announcing the Beirut Declaration on the Role of Universities in the Refugee Crisis

Nasser Yassin, Director of Research, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB & 
Piroska Nagy-Mohacsi, Programme Director in the Institute of Global Affairs, LSE
​4:30pm - 5:00pm
​Closing Remarks 

Nasser Yassin, Director of Research, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB & 
Erik Berglof, Director of the Institute of Global Affairs, LSE​