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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Electoral Reform in Lebanon: What’s in Store for 2013?
Roundtable - Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2012

 

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program  hosted "Electoral Reform in Lebanon – What's in Store for 2013" to launch Dr. Ekmekji's new policy paper exploring the complexities of Lebanon's confessional society and avenues for reform in its electoral system. During this conversation, experts discussed Dr. Ekmekji's paper in light of the debate on democratic representation and the rights of minorities in Lebanon, Syria, and the region. The panelists also offered actionable recommendations for lasting reform that reflects Lebanon's democratic prospects, leading up to the parliamentary elections in 2013.
Dr. Arda Arsenian Ekmekji is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon and the only female member on the National Commission for a New Electoral Law (2006) and on the Supervisory Commission for the Electoral Campaign (2009).

 

Speakers

Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Haigazian University – Beirut, Lebanon; Author, "Confessionalism and Electoral Reform in Lebanon"
Mr. Leslie Campbell, Senior Associate and Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), National Democratic InstituteMr. Hassan Mneimneh, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States

 

Moderator
Mr. Hussain Abdul-Hussain, Washington Bureau Chief, Al Rai Newspaper

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An Overview of the Levant: What's Next in Syria?
Washington, D.C. – May 22, 2012

As the Syrian uprising enters its second year, The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted a conversation that included a stock-taking of the uprising and international mediation efforts, as well as its impact on and relationship with neighboring Lebanon. These issues, along with U.S. foreign policy towards Syria, Lebanon and the region more broadly were discussed directly with U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

Ambassador Ford served in Syria from 2010 until October 2011 when threats to his safety necessitated his recall to the United States. A career diplomat with previous postings in Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Bahrain, and Iraq, Ambassador Ford provided a unique window into Syria as well as the impact of the uprising on Lebanon and the region.

 

Moderator

Hisham Melhem, Al-Arabiya Washington Bureau Chief

 
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Women's Political Participation in Lebanon
Roundtable - Washington, DC – November 10, 2011

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted a roundtable discussion on “Women’s Political Participation in Lebanon”.  Women in Lebanon have led women’s emancipation in the region but have lagged behind in many ways. They are currently virtually absent from policy-making circles, and they continue to fight for basic human rights. This panel invited leading women’s rights activists and social actors to shed light on some of the challenges women in Lebanon face and suggested recommendations to advance their role in society. These experts addressed the legal, religious, political and social status of women in Lebanon and discussed how it compares to other countries in the region.


Speakers

Lamia Osseiran, Board Member, Civil Center for National Initiative & Member, Economic and Social Council – Lebanon.
Hayat Arslan, President and Founder, Committee for Women Political Empowerment – Lebanon.
Raghida Dergham, Senior Correspondent, Al Hayat Newspaper.

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Lebanon in the Shadow of the Syrian Uprising
Panel – Washington, DC – July 15, 2011

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted an off-the-record discussion on "Lebanon in the Shadow of the Syrian Uprising”. The panel focused on the impact of the Syrian uprising on Lebanon, including the formation of the new cabinet, the STL indictment, and the relationship between Hezbollah and Syria. The panel also addressed the implications of these developments on Lebanon's relationship with the United States.


Speakers
Mr. Alan Makovsky, Senior Professional Staff Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Congress.
Mr. Andrew Tabler, Next Generation Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Dr. Robert Malley, Director, Middle East and North Africa Program, International Crisis Group.

Moderator

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

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Understanding Lebanese Temperament
Research - Lebanon - June 29, 2011

The Lebanon Renaissance Foundation has partnered with IDRAAC (Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy & Applied Care) a Lebanese NGO, over a research project titled “Understanding Lebanese Temperament”. Findings would help the Foundation better understand the elements affecting the Lebanese temperament, thus enabling the Foundation to properly tackle root policy issues and methods for addressing educational programs promoting attitude change.

 
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The Special Tribunal & Hezbollah's Growing Influence in Lebanon: Challenges Ahead
Panel – Washington, DC – March 14, 2011

The U.S.-Lebanon Dialogue Program hosted "The Special Tribunal & Hezbollah’s Growing Influence in Lebanon: Challenges Ahead" to address the challenges ahead of Lebanon on the sixth anniversary of the Cedar Revolution. 

The speakers discussed the challenges facing the STL, including funding, cooperation between the STL and the new government (when formed), and the potential of a trial in absentia for the accused named by the STL indictments. The conversation examined the concept of justice in Lebanon and the importance of ending a culture of impunity for political assassination, along with the advantages and disadvantages of the STL serving as the vehicle for truth and justice in light of the polarized political environment. The STL was described in the context of previous international tribunals, thereby enhancing the understanding of its unique challenges and the potential outcomes. Broader issues facing Lebanon, from deepening sectarianism to the potential for withdrawal of US assistance in the future, were also addressed. Finally, the discussion touched upon the status of the March 14 coalition six years after the Cedar Revolution, particularly its approach to its new role as the political opposition in Lebanon.

This discussion was held under Chatham House Rule.


Panelists
Mr. David Tolbert, President, Center for Transitional Justice and former Registrar of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Ms. Mona Yacoubian, Director, Lebanon Working Group, United States Institute of Peace.
Mr. David Schenker, Director, Program on Arab Politics, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Moderator
Ms. Toni G. Verstandig, Executive Director, Middle East Programs, the Aspen Institute.

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