Arab Social Sciences: Building Capacity — On the Ground

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“The future of the region will be made in the region,” says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. As a knowledge-sector foundation, the Corporation aims to expand the activity, connection, and impact of social science expertise in the Arab region across a range of critical topics shaping its future, primarily through its Transnational Movements and the Arab Region program. Corporation support enables social scientists to conduct research and to form professional networks that can amplify the impact of their work. Within a wider range of field-building support, here are a few practical tools and platforms developed by grantee organizations working on economic challenges.

ACSS Dataverse

Since 2010 the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) has been serving and building the growing community of social scientists in the Arab region. Among its latest features is the ACSS Dataverse, an Arab public data initiative offered by ACSS in collaboration with the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Initiative promotes data preservation and data sharing among social scientists and research institutions, in support of developing policies and procedures for data archiving in the Arab region.

Alternative Policy Solutions, The American University in Cairo

A nonpartisan public policy project at The American University in Cairo, Alternative Policy Solutions produces evidence-based, participatory, and actionable policy research in the areas of socioeconomic reform, resource management, and public services.

Arab Barometer

A research network providing insights into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of ordinary citizens across the Arab world, the Arab Barometer has been conducting high-quality and reliable public opinion surveys in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since 2006. It constitutes the largest repository of publicly available data on the views of men and women in the MENA region.

Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, American University of Beirut

The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship is a regional hub of academics, practitioners, and policymakers interested in locally grounded policy debates and advancing realistic solutions to obstacles to effective civil society and citizenship in the Arab region. The Institute provides training workshops and evidence-based research in areas related to political participation, accountability, and good governance.

Athar (Portal for Social Impact of Scientific Research In/On the Arab World)

Based at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, Athar is an open repository for completed and ongoing research projects. Researchers may directly upload publications which they would like to share with other institutions, the public, or policymakers. For Athar the word “social” is meant in a broad sense, including its economic, political, cultural, and conceptual aspects.

Carnegie Middle East Center

An independent policy research institute based in Beirut, Lebanon, and part of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), the Carnegie Middle East Center provides in-depth analysis of political and socioeconomic issues facing the Arab region, offering fresh insights and ideas that cultivate a deeper understanding of the region.


Program on Governance and Local Development, University of Gothenburg

The Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD) is dedicated to international collaboration and rigorous policy-relevant research focused on improving governance and development. GLD co-organizes Policy Dialogues and created a Local Governance Performance Index for use by policymakers. The program develops insights into the roles of state and nonstate actors and relations between local-level factors (e.g., poverty, gender relations, elite dynamics, ethnic diversity) and governance. Program findings are shared with academic, policy, and local communities through publications, policy briefs, and workshops.