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AUB a lead partner in international research on refugee and host community prosperity
7/28/2017
Safa Jafari Safa  |  Office of Communications  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 

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AUB has partnered with the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) at University College London (UCL) and the Centre for Lebanese Studies to launch a long-term project entitled RELIEF (Refugees, Education, Learning, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship for the Future), an innovative and interdisciplinary project of global significance. The project received a grant of five million Sterling Pounds for the next five years from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to look at ways of measuring and building prosperity for Lebanese host communities and the Syrian refugees in ways that respond to the effects of the massive displacement of people. 

Working in this unprecedented partnership from AUB are the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the AUB4Refugees Initiative. The project is the result of mutual discussion between IGP and AUB professors: Dr. Nasser Yassin, director of research at IFI, professor of policy and planning, and co-chair with Dr. Hala Muhtasib of the AUB4Refugees Initiative; and Dr. Fouad Fouad, professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and co-director of the Refugee Health Program. It builds on the work that AUB has been undertaking in addressing the impact of the refugee crisis in the past few years, galvanized by the AUB4Refugees Initiative, launched in January 2017. 

The project aims to speed up the sustainability transitions that the world critically requires in the context of large-scale movement of people. Focusing specifically on Lebanon, RELIEF will develop a program of research and education that addresses the challenges of public service provision, community cohesion, and sustainable value creation in areas and districts with high numbers of refugees. It will include research as well as launching a PhD scholarship program offered for AUB graduate students at UCL. Preparatory work is being done to launch the project on October 2nd.

Research will focus on how to measure prosperity and growth in Lebanon with an emphasis on the current experience of hosting the largest proportion of refugees-to-host population in the world. The project will examine how Lebanese host communities can work alongside the Syrian refugees to design more resilient and better quality living environments. It will also look at how new technologies can be used to deliver affordable education to both refugees and Lebanese citizens, equipping people with the skills and capacities for managing conflict as well as improving their environments and well-being. In addition, the project will conduct research into how, Syrian cities, institutions, and communities can be rebuilt and strengthened once the current conflict has ended. The end result of the project will be an enhancement of future prosperity for Lebanon, with indicators that ordinary citizens can use to determine whether their communities and government are on track to achieve their vision. The project will produce a “prosperity index” for Lebanon. A novel model such as this could also be used in other countries affected by global migration.

“Through this and other projects, AUB has positioned itself as a global leader on refugee research and policy,” Dr. Nasser Yassin told us. “We shall continue to strengthen the pioneering role of AUB with the support of the University's visionary leadership.”
Story Highlights
  • ​​AUB has partnered with the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) at University College London (UCL) and the Centre for Lebanese Studies to launch a long-term project entitled RELIEF (Refugees, Education, Learning, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship for the Future), an innovative and interdisciplinary project of global significance.
 
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Email: media@aub.edu.lb
 
 
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