The Middle Eastern Studies Program (MESP) is excited to announce that a Memorandum of Un- derstanding (MOU) has been signed between the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Syracuse Uni- versity (SU). AUB is one of the Middle East’s premier universities. Located in Lebanon, AUB is a private, independent institution of higher learning, functioning under a charter from the State of New York. AUB provides a rigorous curriculum taught in the English language and based on the American liberal arts tra- dition. Academic programs are offered in undergraduate, graduate, medical, and professional education. The university campus, situated on the waterfront in Ras Beirut, is nothing short of magnificent, replete with lush landscapes, beautiful architecture and gorgeous views of the Mediterranean Sea. The university is also home to some of the brightest minds in the Middle East, indeed several MESP faculty and graduate students are AUB alumni. The MOU is a statement of institutional friendship that will create new opportu- nities for faculty and students at both universities, starting primarily with the social sciences. According to Dr. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Director of MESP, “this MOU will create opportunities for our faculty and students to really understand the Middle East region and will help them gain first-hand experience of learning from the resources at the Issam Fares Institute, the leading public policy institute in the Middle East. The other resources at AUB will complement the learning experience.”

The first collaborative project will be between the Issam Fares Institute (IFI) at AUB and the Trans- national Non-Governmental Organizations (TNGO) initiative at the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs. The IFI, headed by Rami Khouri, renowned journalist and research affiliate of the MESP, is a newly founded institute at AUB that focuses on research and its linkages to the public policy making process in Arab states, an area of study where there is currently a huge knowledge gap. The IFI recently sent Lana Salman, the program coordinator of the IFI program on Research Advocacy and Public Policy making (RAPP) in the Arab world, to research the feasibility of collaborating in a joint research and faculty exchange project with Moynihan and MESP. According to Lana, the ISI is interested in launching a project similar to the TNGO initiative to research how NGOs impact policy making in Jordan and Lebanon. The plan is to conduct interviews initially with NGOs working on environmental issues in Jordan and Lebanon, and then expand to other Arab countries. This project would involve both faculty and graduate students with the aim to generate an annual research conference, online workshops, research reports and journal articles.

Other proposed collaborations are between AUB’s Office of Regional External Programs and the SU/Maxwell School’s Executive Education Programs. One program being discussed would be to organize an annual non-credit certificate program for adult learners on the political, social and economic issues facing Lebanon and the Middle East. Other future partnership activities under consideration between AUB and SU include: extending Maxwell’s successful “Religion, Media and International Relations” research project to AUB and collaborating with Maxwell’s Program for the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (PARCC) to promote the creation of a conflict resolution program at AUB. Maxwell’s Dean Dr. Mitchel B. Wallerstein and Associate Dean for External Relations Bill Sullivan will be traveling to Beirut this winter for further discussions about proposed collaborations. Short term goals include creating a graduate student exchange program, while the longer-term feasibility of an undergraduate student exchange program will also be evaluated.