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LAU institutes awarded sizable Carnegie grant

Two LAU institutes have won a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to expand research into inclusive governance and gender policies.

Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded LAU a substantial grant for research into transnational social movements to be conducted by the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR) and the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW).

“We’re bringing together expertise from different areas and developing cross-disciplinary specializations while working on common ground,” said Associate Professor of Political Science and ISJCR Director Imad Salamey. “The goals of this expansive project can only be achieved through collaboration,” adds Salamey, the principal investigator of the projects to be funded by the grant.

The Carnegie grant will go toward two projects with distinct but interconnected goals, each spearheaded by one of the two LAU institutes. “Our project will focus on Islamic family law in the region,” explains Connie Christiansen, visiting associate professor in gender studies, and author and co-principal investigator of the IWSAW project.

“We will be reviewing existing literature pertaining to transnational movements — within the region, but also originating from Muslim countries outside the Arab world — that aim to instigate changes in family law,” continues Christiansen. The literature review, which aims to extend the impact of existing scholarly work, will be followed by an in-depth study into the impact and development of Islamic family law in Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco over the past two decades.

The ISJCR project will target Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Somalia in a bid to develop a transnational network of advocates seeking to promote pluralism in governance. Salamey has written many articles and books on the need for pluralism and power-sharing in the Arab world and expects to host a number of events with IWSAW through which LAU can advance cooperation between decision makers and academics across the region. “LAU, the institutes and our collaborators all cherish diversity and are seeking inclusive governance,” says Salamey, stressing the shared vision of the Carnegie funded projects.

“Congratulations to you, your colleagues and networks for your remarkable achievements,” wrote the Director of Carnegie’s Transnational Movements and the Arab Region program Hillary Wiesner in her message announcing the sizable grant awarded to LAU. “We look forward to working together over the next months and years.”

Also eager to express her enthusiasm for the two-year project is IWSAW Director Lina Abirafeh. “We work nationally, regionally and internationally, and this project further strengthens and supports our work on and with other countries, building our regional network to address gender equality and women’s empowerment in Arab countries,” explains Abirafeh. “Social movements do not stay nicely confined within borders and, as such, our reach has to be regional and our analysis must be transnational in order to be rigorous and relevant.”

Echoing Salamey’s view that collaboration is the key to success, Abirafeh adds: “We are stronger together. It is not the job of one single entity to address gender equality — it is everyone’s responsibility! This partnership is an ideal example of how we integrate gender across LAU departments to better understand gender issues and ultimately foster gender equality.”

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