The Arab uprisings which started in December 2010 will undoubtedly be one of the most studied episodes of recent history. Accordingly, the office of the AUB Provost has launched a long-term, multi-sectoral research initiative on the Arab uprisings, aiming to harness the university's many resources and assets to engage constructively with the historic changes taking place across the Arab world. The revolutionary and transformational processes underway are dynamic, defined by many ups and downs, in one of the most complex geo-political regions in the world. The challenges of researching and understanding this pivotal moment in history - its causes, main actors, critical dynamics, changed power relations, and likely consequences - demand that critical research in multiple fields be defined by perspectives from across the region, and continue for years ahead rather than merely comprise an occasional conference or publication.
The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) is managing this AUB-wide initiative, which was initiated in April 2011 with a five-member AUB faculty panel discussion moderated by the provost. This was followed by a trip to the USA by four faculty members and the AUB president, who held public events in half a dozen major east coast venues. The initiative has identified to date 20 AUB professors in different fields who are working on research projects related to the Arab uprisings and the transformations in society that they reflect, in fields such as political science, international affairs, psychology, youth attitudes and identities, public health, media studies, sociology, food and agriculture, civic engagement, democratization, economics, and others. A steering/advisory committee of 8 AUB professors, chaired by the provost, oversees this initiative.