The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace announces the opening of its new Middle East Center to be located in Beirut, Lebanon, and the appointment of leading Lebanese scholar and public figure, Paul Salem, as its Director.

“The opening of the center was to have been announced in mid-July — just at the time when hostilities broke out — and hence had to be postponed. However, the conflict that has shaken Lebanon has only increased Carnegie’s commitment to establish its Middle East Center there,” said Endowment President Jessica Tuchman Mathews.

The Carnegie Middle East Center will help to better inform the process of political change in the Arab Middle East and deepen understanding of the complex economic and security issues that affect it. It will cover all of the Arab Middle East and will be led and staffed by leading researchers from the region.

“Today, more than ever, there is an urgent need for countries to understand each other better on critical issues,” continued Mathews.  “The Carnegie Middle East Center will bear the hallmarks of the Endowment’s highly respected Moscow Center: sustained international collaboration, political independence, top-tier policy research by leading experts from the region, and a long-term commitment by the Endowment.”

“We know from more than thirteen years of work in Russia that there is no substitute for a presence on the ground. Such a commitment produces fresh and practical approaches to problems by really hearing the views of others and taking them into account.  This new Center in Beirut, which will work closely with Carnegie’s long-standing Middle East Program based in Washington, will add valuable voices and perspectives from the region to Carnegie’s Middle East work.”

“Paul Salem, a highly respected Lebanese scholar and leader in the public arena with extensive knowledge of the region, and an appreciation for the potential of independent research in encouraging policy change, fits perfectly the role of the Center’s founding director.  I can think of no one better to unite, in a distinctive international collaboration, the outstanding team with Carnegie’s strong program in Washington,” Mathews added.

Dr. Salem said, “The launch of the Carnegie Middle East Center is a historic opportunity to link researchers from the region and the world who are concerned with the positive horizons of change in the Middle East. International cooperation is a necessity in today’s interconnected world, and good research is the cornerstone of enlightened policy. I am excited about the challenge of launching this new center and I am confident that the Carnegie Middle East Center will quickly make its mark as a center of excellence in this important arena.”

Notes to Editors:

1. The Carnegie Middle East Program was established in 2002 to bring analytic insights, a broad comparative understanding of how political transitions occur, and deep regional expertise to bear on the question of political evolution in the Arab world. The Program has become known for its well-informed analysis free of ideological preconceptions. The Program has built a global network of scholars, journalists, and institutions, particularly in the Middle East.

2. Paul Salem, Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, came to Carnegie from the Fares Foundation, where he had been general director since 1999. Previously, he founded and directed the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies and served as Associate Professor of Political Studies and Assistant Dean at the American University of Beirut. He holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Salem is the author of Bitter Legacy: Ideology and Politics in the Arab World, the editor of Conflict Resolution in the Arab World, and the former editor of the Beirut Review, the Lebanon Report, and other works. Biographies of the full Carnegie Middle East team can be found at www.CarnegieEndowment.org/MiddleEast.

3. The goals of the Middle East Program are to:

  • Build a better understanding of political and economic reform in the Middle East, through deepening understanding in the policy community and the public about the political forces, ideas, and debates that drive or impede such efforts.
  • Add a comparative dimension to debates and analyses (both in the Arab world and in the United States and Europe) about reform in Arab countries.
  • Develop a research agenda that stresses collaboration with scholars and institutions in countries spanning the Middle East, Europe, Russia, China, and the United States to engage key voices in thoughtful dialogue.
  • Launch a Carnegie Arabic Web Portal in order to reach new audiences with a growing volume of publications in both Arabic and English.
  • Develop a training program in Beirut for young researchers from the Middle East, based on Carnegie’s successful programs in Washington and Moscow, tailored to meet the needs and conditions in the area.

4. Key elements of the Middle East Program’s work include:

  • Research and analysis focused on critical policy questions (e.g. a series of widely circulated papers on major problems concerning democratization in the Middle East, now collected in an edited volume, Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, and a second series of case studies about the reform process in each Arab country is underway). A third ambitious project is seeking to map the political platform and strategies of the major categories of organizations that claim to be pursuing democracy in Arab countries: ruling parties, Islamist movements, and secular parties. Recent Carnegie publications are available at www.CarnegieEndowment.org/pubs.
  • The Arabic Portal, an Arabic-language resource designed to reach new audiences and broaden access to Carnegie’s growing volume of Arabic publications: www.CarnegieEndowment.org/programs/arabic.
  • The Arab Reform Bulletin, an online monthly journal on the latest political reform developments from Arab and Western perspectives, can be found in English at www.CarnegieEndowment.org/ArabReform or in Arabic through the Carnegie Arabic Portal at www.CarnegieEndowment.org/programs/arabic.
  • Complementing the Middle East Program is the Endowment’s unique vehicle for communicating to a broader audience — the award winning FOREIGN POLICY (FP) magazine. Since February 2003, an Arabic language edition of FP published in Kuwait has been distributed throughout the region, further expanding the Endowment’s reach in the Middle East. For more information go to www.foreignpolicy.com.
  • Meetings in Washington, the Middle East, and Europe that bring together key actors for debate and discussion in formats ranging from small working groups to symposia and larger conferences.
  • Visiting scholars in Washington who inject regional perspectives into U.S. policy discussions. 
  • International partnerships — Carnegie has developed a growing number of joint activities with Middle East research institutions in 2006. These regional partnerships will be continued and widened through the Center in Beirut. Further details about the work of the Middle East Program can be found at www.CarnegieEndowment.org/MiddleEast.

For more information please contact:

Washington:
Peter Reid, +1 202/939-2319,
preid@CarnegieEndowment.org
Marc Osgoode Smith, +1 202/939-2366, msmith@CarnegieEndowment.org
Emily Hancock, +1 202/939-2265, ehancock@CarnegieEndowment.org

Beirut:
Paul Salem, (011) 961/3 948 995,
psalem@CarnegieEndowment.org

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