In 2009, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), based at the American University of Beirut (AUB), launched the United Nations in the Arab World Program with the objective of exploring and analyzing the role of the United Nations (UN) in the Arab region and the impact it has had on regional politics and societies. Encouraging and analyzing research on cases where UN intervention has had an impact in the region--along with situating such UN intervention within broader political, historical and social contexts--comprises the core of this program.
The UN decision advocating the partition of Palestine into both Jewish and Arab states in 1948 is perhaps the most prominent example of the UN's impact in the region. Other cases of UN involvement in Middle Eastern affairs include UN enforcement of economic sanctions on Iraq between 1990 and 2003, the repeated deployment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on its southern border since 1978,other UN peace-keeping and truce supervisory programs, developmental aid programs administered by several UN specialized agencies, and the role of the United Nations Relief Work and Agency (UNRWA) in Palestinian refugee camps scattered across several Arab countries. The program also seeks to assess how international law norms and conventions are applied in the Middle East via UN and related agencies. Encouraging and analyzing research on these and other cases comprises the core of this program.
The aim of the UN in the Arab World program is to collect, support, and initiate research relevant to the UN's multiple roles in the Middle East. By organizing research studies, lectures, roundtable discussions, and workshops, the Program hopes to bring together scholars and decision-makers to discuss salient issues that fall under the spectrum of the UN’s operations in the Middle East. IFI aims to fund and promote research that would provide insights and analysis to:
- Improve our understanding of how the UN has shaped the Middle East
- Develop a rich academic environment in the Middle East
- Inform public policy decisions made by regional leaders and decision-makers