American University of Beirut

Call for Proposals: Demystifying Decentralization and Federalism

      ​​​​​I.         Background

As Lebanon continues to suffer from several compounded crises, a growing debate is gaining traction on possible political solutions to the country's woes and responses to the country's sectarian, clientelist, and corrupt political system. Decentralization and federalism are two political models that have become important topics when discussing political and institutional reform in Lebanon. Inherently linked but varying in their modeling and applications, decentralization and federalism are currently being touted by some as the cure-alls for Lebanon's ills, and staunchly opposed by others.

In order to contribute and bring more awareness to the political debates on decentralization and federalism, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Lebanon Office Lebanon and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut are collaborating on a multi-dimensional research project entitled Demystifying Decentralization and Federalism. This project will be centered on the research and development of two main in-depth research papers: one on decentralization and one on federalism, in addition to other activities such as roundtable discussions and other dissemination activities towards creating a nationwide awareness campaign. Target groups for this particular project include:

  • ​Lebanon scholars and academics across various disciplines (such as political studies, sociology, economics, and policy);
  • Lebanese politicians and policymakers, former Ministers, current Members of Parliament, and top-ranking senior officials and advisors; and
  • Lebanese civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and political groups involved in calls for and the debate on decentralization, federalism and/or policy reform.

     II.         Call for Proposals

In this call for proposals, the Demystifying Decentralization and Federalism Project Team invites candidates to submit a proposal for the development of the two in-depth research papers. The main objective of these papers is to provide clear definitions of federalism and decentralization and elucidate their potential applications to the Lebanese context. More specifically, in order to contribute to the increasingly growing debates in Lebanon and bring more clarity to political and expert discussions, these papers will:

  • ​​Define and analyze the various aspects of each of these models and potential applications for Lebanon;
  • Tackle the increasingly heated debates on these topics;
  • Define and map out what these models entail; and
  • Identify the pros and cons to each.

These papers would provide a timely scholarly perspective to the greater political discussions and policy debates happening in Lebanon on both decentralization and federalism. Such discussions and debates more than often lack a rigorous academic perspective and presentation of data and research analysis, which these papers will provide. Two researchers will be selected to write the two papers accordingly, with each paper approximately 7,000 to 8,000 words in length.

Deadline for the submission of a first draft for review of the paper is September 30, 2023; for the final paper October 14, 2023.

The proposal to be submitted to the Project Teams should include:

1.     An updated CV/resume with contact details;

2.     A one-page cover letter that specifically indicates which paper the researcher is interested to develop (decentralization OR federalism);

3.     A one- to two-page proposal document which includes a proposed outline for the paper and the planned research methodology as well as a timeline for the development of the paper;

4.     A list of potential interviewees for the paper; and

5.     A proposed budget detailing cost of services rendered.​

   III.         Selection Notification

The selected researchers must begin developing the paper shortly after the Project Team sends a notification of selection by email. Following recruitment of the two researchers, an initialization meeting will be organized to agree on the final outline of the paper and the timeline.

   IV.         Submission and Evaluation of Proposals

Please submit your proposal by sending an email with all the documents listed above to by August 15, 2023. Only selected proposals will be notified.

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