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IFI Newsletter Issue No.12 - October 2011
Issue No.12 | October 2011 

UN in the Middle East Research Initiative:
Lebanese delegation to the UN call in IFI's resident expert

   Lebanese Ambassador to the United Nations Nawaf Salam (pictured to the right) invited IFI Associate Director Dr Karim Makdisi (pictured to the left) for his expertise to join him at the United Nations in New York recently, during the time when Lebanon held the rotating Presidency of the Security Council. Dr Makdisi joined Ambassador Salam in the Security Council's Office of the President to meet with the Palestine Ambassador, who was scheduled to officially hand the President of the Security Council the 'Palestine seat', which represented the Palestinian Authority's statehood bid for Palestinian membership into the UN.
   After the official exchange between the Palestinian delegation and Ambassador Salam, Dr Makdisi also attended a press conference held outside the UN's inner chambers.
   Ambassador Salam was Dr Makdisi's former colleague at the department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut.

Read Dr Makdisi's personal account of his official visit to the UN

UN in the Middle East Research Initiative:
IFI attends the UN Convention of Cluster Munitions in Beirut

   Lebanon hosted for the first time the Second Meeting of States Parties (2MSP) to the United Nations Convention of Cluster Munitions in Beirut, early September. A total of 131 states attended the meeting, including seventeen Arab states. Approximately thirty of the attending states had come as observers, and, by the end of the weeklong conference many of them had agreed to sign the convention. Many humanitarian organizations and NGO's were also present, including the main organizations dealing with the ban of using cluster munitions: the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC), the International Red Cross (ICRC), Article 36, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Oxfam. According to Ambassador Mansour Abdallah, one of the main Lebanese authorities responsible for the 2MSP, the convention was a success due to the number of states that had attended this year's meeting, and he praised the Lebanese army, "without [whom] the event could not have been such a success."

Read UN Convention of Cluster Munitions conference report

Research in Focus

RAPP: A Case Study on Lebanon's National Strategy for Forest Fire Management

   The Issam Fares Institute's Research, Advocacy and Public Policy-making (RAPP) program conducted a 3-month case study on Lebanon's forest fire policy, tracing the policy-formulation process that lead to the National Strategy for Forest Fire Management—this policy represents a successful example of how a civil society organization specialized in reforestation activities can influence policy-making through research and advocacy. Data for the IFI study was collected in two phases: a review of relevant documents, and elite interviews conducted with primary policy-makers, including officials from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense. The study found that the policy-formulation process was achieved by the forestry association's strong lobbying efforts and its grasp of an entry point into policy-making. Collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sectors led to the successful adoption of a new forest fire policy in Lebanon.

Read IFI's study on Lebanon's National Strategy for Forest Fire Management

International Affairs

"America, Islam and the Middle East"

IFI Director Rami G. Khouri co-taught classes open to the Boston community. The classes included presentations and discussions from journalists, professors and policy-makers. IFI Associate Director Dr Karim Makdisi gave a presentation for the second class of the course.

Course schedule ||| Watch recordings of the classes

International Affairs

"Routine Turmoil or Historic Transformation? Understanding the Changes Underway Around the Arab World"

The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Department of History at Dartmouth invited IFI Director Rami G. Khouri to give a lecture and engage in an open discussion with students.

Watch lecture ||| Related article

International Affairs

"Beirut, Damascus, Tehran, Tel Aviv: Moment of Reckoning is Near"

The Carnegie Council: The Voice for Ethics and International Affairs invited IFI Director Rami G. Khouri to give his analysis and insight.

Video ||| Audio ||| Transcript

Working Paper Series

"Is It Wrong or Illegal? Situating the Gaza Blockade between International Law and the UN Response"

IFI Working Paper No.2 by Noura Erakat is now available in Arabic.

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