POLICY

The Foundation operates as a think tank that produces and communicates objective, high quality insights and recommendations on political, social, educational and economic matters related to Lebanon for policy makers, media and the public at large. We also organize non-partisan educational conferences.

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Hezbollah, the Shia Community and the Lebanese State
Roundtable – Washington, DC – December 1, 2010

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted "Hezbollah, the Shia Community and the Lebanese State" to unveil Ziad Majed's new policy paper regarding Hezbollah and the Shia community of Lebanon. During this conversation, experts debated Mr. Majed's recommendations and discussed events on the ground in Lebanon, including the implications of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as it relates to the Shia community.


Speakers

Mr. Ziad Majed, Instructor of Middle Eastern Studies at American University of Paris and Author of the report “Hezbollah and the Shiite Community: From Political Confessionalization to Confessional Specialization.”
Mr. Lee Smith, Senior Editor, Weekly Standard.

Moderator

Mr. Karim Sadjadpour, Associate, Middle East Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 
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Evaluating the U.S. Role in the Levant
Roundtable – Washington, DC – July 20, 2010

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted a roundtable discussion on the role of the U.S. in the Levant.
The panelists began by discussing four deficits that make the challenge faced by the US in the Levant more difficult, including a leadership deficit whereby regional leaders have their hands tied by issues of political identity, survival and authority; a legitimacy and authority deficit surrounding centralized states; a street cred deficit on the part of the U.S.; and an ownership deficit, reflecting the need to give countries control of their future.  The discussion also focused on U.S. policy toward Syria and its influence on Lebanon and the region, including years of unsuccessful policies implemented by the Bush and Obama administrations towards Syria and Iran. During the discussion, the U.S. Administration, in conjunction with the French and the Saudis, was urged to take a more vigorous position in support of Lebanese interests and sovereignty.


Panelists

Mr. Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations and Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council
Dr. Aaron David Miller, Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Former Senior Advisor on the Middle East to six US Secretaries of State

Moderator

Toni G. Verstandig, Middle East Programs Executive Director, The Aspen Institute

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The Future of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Panel - Washington, DC – May 27, 2010

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted “The Future of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon” to unveil Dr. Nadim Shehadi’s new study on various issues arising out of the Palestinian refugee presence in Lebanon. During this conversation, experts addressed the potential impact of Palestinian refugees on Lebanon's delicate sectarian balance, analyzed the rise of militant Islam in Palestinian refugee camps, and explained how regional states exploit armed Palestinian factions.

For further literature on this subject, please visit our Library Section page.


Panelists

Nicole Shampaine, Director, Office of Egypt and Levant Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Nadim Shehadi, Aspen Institute Visiting Fellow
Ghaith al-Omari, Advocacy Director, American Task Force on Palestine

Moderator

Toni G. Verstandig, Middle East Programs Executive Director, The Aspen Institute

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Views from the Hill: Lebanon and Syria in Light of an Ever-Present Iran
Panel - Washington, DC – March 15, 2010

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted “Views from the Hill: Lebanon and Syria in Light of an Ever-Present Iran,” to discuss and analyze Congressional perspectives on American policy towards the Levant. Among topics covered the Arab-Israeli Conflict with its territorial and security issues, Lebanon’s blurring boundaries between opposing parliamentary blocs, US-Lebanon relationships in light of new regional developments and options to convert present stability into progress, prioritizing with American Policy towards the Middle East and possible non-crippling sanctions on Iran.


Speakers
Mr. Perry Cammack, Professional Staff Member, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Mr. Howard Diamond, Staff Director, House Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia


Moderator

Toni G. Verstandig, Middle East Programs Executive Director, The Aspen Institute

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Dueling Agendas for Lebanon
Panel - Washington, DC – December 16, 2009

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted “Dueling Agendas for Lebanon.” The past month has seen two new agendas announced for Lebanon. One is the Ministerial Statement of the new Lebanese government, laying out a detailed and ambitious plan for reform and development. The other is Hezbollah’s new political manifesto, which sounds the battle cry of resistance and rejects the logic of elected majorities or minorities. These dueling agendas highlight the dilemma for Lebanese leaders today, in terms of building a strong, unified state that is responsive to and inclusive of all its citizens.
Both challenges and opportunities face Lebanon in the coming period as a new government tries to define its role at home and within the region. The discussion covered Lebanon’s new political landscape and its evolving role in the region, in the context of the two paths laid out before it. In the process, ideas and proposals were developed for how the United States can best help create the context for Lebanon to resolve these contradictions, to achieve its goals for development and reform, and to become a constructive part of a comprehensive regional peace.


Panelists

Emile Hokayem, Political Editor, The National
Dr. Nabeel Khoury, Director, NESA/INR at U.S. State Department
Andrew Exum, Fellow, Center for a New American Security
Toni G. Verstandig, Executive Director of Middle East Programs, The Aspen Institute

Moderator

Toni G. Verstandig, Middle East Programs Executive Director, The Aspen Institute

 

Lebanon's Election In Context
Panel - Washington, DC – June 1, 2009

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program convened a discussion on the upcoming Lebanese elections and their potential implications for Lebanon, U.S.-Lebanon relations, and the wider region. Panelists were challenged to consider whether Lebanon’s position, embracing ambiguities between East and West, might mark a change following these elections and whether their results will continue or hamper the country’s on-going power sharing arrangements.  Macro views were also discussed given Lebanon’s position as the “regional laboratory”, with possible consequences on present rivalries among regional stakeholders.


Panelists

David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist
Raghida Dergham, Columnist and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for the London-based Al-Hayat,
Les Campbell, NDI's senior associate and regional director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Moderator

Toni G. Verstandig, Middle East Programs Executive Director, The Aspen Institute

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