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Research and Policy-making in the Arab World Program

Mission of the Program


The goal of the program on Research and Policy-making in the Arab World at IFI is to contribute to the understanding of public policy-making in the region, and ultimately improving this process through initiating policy-relevant research and promoting a culture of evidence informed decision-making. It aims at bridging an existing knowledge gap in policy-making by documenting experiences, replicating successful ones, and assessing and improving weak ones. The program focuses on studying the development of public policies in Arab countries and the role of non-state actors in public policy-making. The program also aims at engaging with policy-makers in national and regional dialogues and debates on the development of policies in the countries of the region, as well as responding to contemporary and pressing policy issues. Its uniqueness lies in being an indigenous effort by a policy research institute in the Arab world, collectively with other institutes in the region, to understand and improve how research is influencing policy-making.

Areas of Focus, Goal and Objectives of the Program


The program aims at providing an understanding of the evidence informed policy and decision-making process in countries of the Arab world as well as the role of non-state actors in this complex process. This will be addressed through initiating policy-relevant research, increasing and deepening knowledge production in and about the Arab region, and creating a space for exchange of ideas among researchers, civil society actors and policy-makers. In order to achieve this goal, the program will focus on three objectives that will address two major areas as follows:

Objectives:

1- Document the process of developing public policies in the Arab world through policy-tracing studies that examine different sectors such as (but not limited to) health, education, youth, labor and other public policies, such as social policies.

2- Link the development of research at AUB and beyond to inform policy-making by providing a platform for the exchange of ideas and expertise through workshops, dialogues, and other models that allow for the exchange of ideas, expertise and experiences.

3- Identify the non-state actors involved in the development of public policies in countries of the Arab world and map their role and existing networks in this process, convening actors (when needed) to collect information and work collectively towards agenda setting.

Areas of Focus:

AREA #1: Policy-Tracing in the Arab World

This area will address the study of the development of policies in countries of the Arab world. It builds upon the assumption that evidence-informed decisions can strengthen institutionalized systems within a country by improving policy-making and providing accountability for public decisions. Despite the abundance of research on the process of public policy-making in a number of countries across the world, there remains a lack of data and understanding of this same process in the countries of the Arab world. This program, through its policy-tracing studies, aims to provide in-depth insights on the public policy-making process in the MENA region, identifying the factors that influence policy-making and assessing to what extent evidence is used in this process. These studies will also shed light on the accountability mechanisms employed by the different states for ensuring a transparent and just process. Understanding the policy-making context and influences over this process, in addition to drawing on past policies and experiences, will allow designing context-specific strategies toward more evidence-informed policies. Therefore, the program will examine different sectors such as (but not limited to) health, education, labor and social policies in Lebanon and beyond to provide policy analysis case-studies that will form the foundation for establishing models and designing specific strategies that facilitate and promote evidence-informed policy-making catering to the different political contexts of the region.

AREA #2: Understanding the Role of Non-State Actors in Policy-making in the Arab World

This area of the program will focus on studying the role of non-state actors in policy-making in countries of the region. Non-state actors, among which are think tanks and civil society organizations, have had legal status and formal roles in legislative efforts and public policy-making processes in a number of countries across the world. These actors have emergent as key stakeholders in the public domain relatively recently in the Arab world, slowly and steadily gaining power. The program has engaged in the study of think tanks in the region since 2010 with a particular emphasis on examining the role of these stakeholders and their impact on the policy-making process. This area of the program will look into the involvement of non-state actors in different stages of the policy-making process, with differentiation in the nature of the actors and social and political contexts. As such, it will also look at the advocacy efforts that the non-state actors initiate and put forth as part of the lobbying for policy change. Therefore, the program will examine how these stakeholders provide an avenue to foster the exchange of ideas and to confer legitimation on social and public policy matters that are decided at the government level. It will further work towards convening non-state actors (when needed) to work collectively towards agenda setting and advocacy.


Main Contact


Dr. Hana A. El-Ghali, Senior Program Coordinator
Ext. 4154 ||| Email: ha58@aub.edu.lb

Nadine Ghalayini, Project Coordinator
Ext. 4175 ||| Email: ng27@aub.edu.lb

Samira Koujok, Project Coordinator
Ext. 3379 ||| Email: sk94@aub.edu.lb

Sawsan Allam, Project Coordinator
Ext. 3328 ||| Email: sa187@aub.edu.lb

 
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