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Newsletter No.8 - May 2011
Issue No.8 | May 2011 

Youth in the Arab World:
Regional conference explores Arab youth sexuality

   In partnership with the Goethe-Institute Lebanon, IFI hosted a two-day interdisciplinary conference exploring Youth, Sexuality and Self-expression in the Arab world. The round-table discussions examined how culture, religion, social and political values, economics, and science shape and define sexuality and how these factors are expressed both cross-culturally and artistically throughout the region.
   In his keynote address, Dr. Samir Khalaf, Director of the Center for Behavioral Research at AUB, noted a lack of research in the field of sexuality citing "confusion, ambivalence and embarrassment" as the main factors contributing to such a void.
   Regional and international experts led the talks, including Dr. Silja Matthiesen , University Hospital of Hamburg, who discussed sexual behavior of the internet generation, Dr. Brigitte Khoury of AUB, who presented perceptions and practices of reproductive health among Arab youth, and Dr. Faysal El-Kak of AUB, who presented on the regulating aspects of youth sexuality and hymenorrhaphy.

UN in the Middle East Research Initiative:
IFI hosts Senior Norwegian Delegation at AUB

   Experts from the Middle East and Norway recently met for closed discussions on leading issues in the region, focusing on the internal security situation in Lebanon and the historical and current role of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in which Norway is a major participant.

   Panelists included H.E. Abdullah Bou Habib, former Lebanese Ambassador to the United States and Director of the Issam Fares Lebanon Center, Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi, Hezbollah Media Relations Officer, Dr. Paul Salem, Director of Carnegie Middle East Center, Diego Zorilla, Senior Advisor to UN Office of Special Coordination for Lebanon, Timur Goksel, AUB lecturer and Former Media Spokesperson for UNIFIL, Lt. Col. Egil Haave of Norwegian Armed Forces, and Gjermund Hagesaeter, Norwegian Member of Parliament.

Read full summary of the closed meeting proceedings.

Research in Focus

Climate Change in the Levant and North Africa

   IFI recently commissioned five Levant and North African-focused papers exploring various issues and stakeholders involved in climate change research. The authors, leading water experts in the Levant, discussed their findings at a closed workshop held at AUB entitled "Climate Change, Water and the Policy-Making Process in the Levant and North Africa". Topics ranged from individual case studies in Jordan and Palestine to general Levant climate change research.
   Dr. Manar Fayyad, professor of analytical and inorganic chemistry at University of Jordan, pointed out that while progress in re-forestation in Jordan is evident, a stronger commitment to the allocation of precious resources in greatly needed. Dr. Ziad Mimi, associate professor of water resources at Birzeit University and Director of the Institute of Environmental and Water Studies, explored climate change and the policy-making process in Palestine. Dr. Abdallah Droubi, Director of Water Resources at the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, focused on Syria's role in climate change policy.

International Affairs

"Exploring the Role of the Army as a Public Institution in the Arab Region: Will the Uprisings Change Anything?"


A lecture and open discussion with Dr. Yezid Sayigh, Professor of Middle East Studies, King's College London. He has written extensively on security reform issues in Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen.

Listen Audio ||| Watch Video



Youth in the Arab World

"The Making and Unmaking of Uprisings:Reflections on Youth–Generated Media"

A lecture and open discussion with Dr. Joe F. Khalil, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University in Qatar.

Listen Audio ||| Watch Video



Climate Change and Environment in the Arab World

"The Tripod of Academia, Government and Private Sector: From Science to Policy Making"

A lecture and open discussion with Dr. Berj Hatjian, Director General, Lebanese Ministry of Environment . He currently also teaches a course at AUB titled, "Environmental Policy Practice in Lebanon".

Watch Video

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