On July 2nd, 2019 the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Offices in Beirut. The MOU aims to advance studies and research relating to refugees in Lebanon through engaging civil-society actors and various local, regional and global forums to address current and upcoming refugees challenges.
On this occasion IFI released the second volume of “101 Facts & Figures on the Syrian Refugee Crisis" 2019.
Dr. Nasser Yassin, Director of Research at the IFI and author of the book opened the ceremony by emphasizing on the success of the five-years partnership with UNHCR. He said that one of the biggest challenges facing the institute is to create a fact-based dialogue and debate between researchers, government officials, policymakers, the general public and media about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. It is a goal that IFI, as a dialogue platform, would like to reach.
Following the opening remarks, Dr. Tarek Mitri, IFI's Director, acknowledged the importance of this evidence-based book amidst a political strategy that distorts realities, invents figures, exacerbates tensions, exaggerates problems, and fabricates fears.
Mireille Girard, the Representative for the UNHCR in Lebanon emphasized on the success of this partnership stressing on the important role played by academia. She then praised the actions of both IFI and AUB to embody the global fight for refugees, to integrate them and to build bridges between people by putting reality back in a context, avoiding fake news and speaking to all spheres. Finally, she recognized the efforts of the AUB in its alliance with other universities.
Nasser Yassin closed up the ceremony by defending the role of academia to counter fear through figures and facts that leads to a third point between letting a laissez-faire approach and “sending bulldozers to refugee camps".
Summary written by IFI's interns Alexandre Colin and Maya El Dib