Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs
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The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) was founded through donations by Lebanese businessman and politician Issam Fares who also served as Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon.
IFI aims to harness the policy-related research of AUB's internationally respected faculty in order to achieve several goals: to raise the quality of public policy-related debate and decision-making in the Arab World and abroad, to enhance the Arab World's input into international affairs, and to enrich the quality of interaction among scholars, officials and civil society actors in the Middle East and abroad.
In the established tradition of AUB, IFI is a neutral, dynamic, civil, and open space where people representing all viewpoints in society can gather and discuss significant issues of the day, anchored in a long-standing commitment to mutual understanding and high quality research. IFI brings together and showcases in one place -physically and virtually on the web -the research of AUB scholars related to public policy and international affairs.
IFI acts primarily as catalysts and connectors between AUB, other Arab scholars, and the global research and policy community. This includes collaborative work with colleagues around the region and the world, through ongoing and ad hoc partnerships with other universities, stand-alone think tanks, research centers, and institutions in the private and public sectors.
IFI impacts on national and international policy issues through three principal means:
1. Generating high quality, policy-relevant research texts and analyses in formats that are credible to our varied target audience of policy-makers, bureaucrats, the mass media, scholars, business and civil society leaders, and opinion molders throughout society
2. Hosting public conferences, workshops and other gatherings that bring together policy officials, private sector and civil society leaders, scholars, students and the interested public for frank exchanges of views on timely issues, leading to more clarity and possible consensus on critical policies
3. Facilitating or hosting private gatherings that bring together individuals and groups in the fields of policy-making, civil society, the corporate world and scholarship.
IFI targets multiple audiences with very different needs and interests: academic scholars, students, policy-makers, the mass media, civil society, the private sector, and other research centers in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
IFI activities include the following: Conferences, workshops and symposia; visiting fellows (from a few days to a full year); guest lecturers and ongoing thematic lecture series; visiting researchers; panel discussions and debates; research projects that generate studies, papers, scholarly articles, books; a "working papers" series of articles by AUB and visiting scholars; short policy recommendations, analyses and briefs; opinion and analysis articles and interviews for the press; ad hoc white papers on timely issues; faculty and student exchanges, regionally and globally; internships; private meetings among scholars, activists and officials; an active website that pulls together all public policy and international affairs work at AUB.
Zaha Hadid, one of the most celebrated and iconic architects of our time and a former student of AUB, was announced winner of the design competition for AUB's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs building in 2006, which was completed in 2014.