The Beirut Exchange

January 14-January 21, 2018

*Registration Deadline I December 1st /Deadline II December 15

*22 slots only/Rolling acceptance

The Nineteenth Beirut Exchange program rests on two tracks:

Professional & Academic Participants will attend a series of lectures led by prominent academics, analysts and activists from Lebanon and the wider region. Themes will include, among others: Recent protest movements in Lebanon; The Arab Uprisings; The Syrian conflict and its regional implications; The Islamic State; The Special Tribunal for Lebanon; The United Nations role in Lebanon and the region; Engaging political Islam; Asymmetrical conflict: The July 2006 Lebanon War; Human Rights in Lebanon and the wider Middle East; and the deployment of sectarianism.

Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Lebanon.NOTE: Due to the current security situation in Lebanon, the Eighteenth Beirut Exchange will generally restrict its meetings in and around Beirut, although at least one trip to the North and one trip to the South is planned.



NOTE: Accepted applicants will receive the full list of confirmed speakers one month prior to the opening of the Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions.

Sunday, June 18

7:30pm — Opening Orientation & Security Briefing

8:00pm — Habib Battah, Beirut Report

Monday, June 19

9:00 am — Nicholas Noe,

11:00am — Shadi Karam, Frm. Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister and President

1:00pm — Lunch

2:30pm — Ayman Mhanna, Samir Kassir Foundation

5:00pm — Bashir Saade, Stirling University

7:00pm — Nour Samaha, Journalist

Tuesday, June 20

9:30am — Sami Nader, Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs

11:30am — Karim Makdisi, American University of Beirut

1:00pm — Lunch

2:00pm — Ammar Moussawi, International Relations Office, Hezbollah

4:00pm — Bassam Khawaja, Human Rights Watch

7:30pm — The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Wednesday, June 21

10:30am — Yassine Jabber, MP, The Liberation and Development Bloc

12pm — Osama Hamdan, HAMAS

1:30pm — Lunch

2:30pm — Nicholas Blanford, Daily Star/Times of London

4:30pm — Jihad Yazigi, The Syria Report

6:00pm — Omar Nashabe, Consultant for Defense Counsel, STL

Thursday, June 22

9:00am — Lea Yammine, Lebanon-Support

10:30am — Sami Gemayel, MP, Kataeb

11:45am — ESCWA Syria Team

1:30pm — Lunch

3:30pm — Andrea Tenenti, UNIFIL

6:00pm — Roni Araiji, Marada

7:30pm — Marwan Maalouf, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist

Friday, June 23

9:30am — Abbas Assi, University of Leeds

11:00am — Alain Aoun, MP, FPM

12:30pm — Lunch

3:30pm — May Akl, Free Patriotic Movement

5:30am — Nicolas Pouillard, IFPO

Saturday, June 24

11am — Antoine Habchi, The Lebanese Forces

3:00pm — Mustapha Alloush, The Future Movement

Sunday, June 25

10:00am — Marwan Hamade, Minister of Education

11:30am — Discussion with Ahmad Husseini and Leila Hatoum

2pm — END


Program Format:

The Beirut Exchange will be held over the seven days in downtown Beirut and will open with an orientation and security briefing at 8pm on Sunday, January 14. The Exchange will close by 2pm on January 21. In order to promote small group dynamics, the number of participants will be capped at 20. Sessions themselves will be conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for all speakers and will generally allow ample opportunity for question time (consecutive translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under strict Chatham House rules, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work.


Participation Fee – $900; Note that participation fee discounts are available for participants who wish to attend multiple Exchanges. For more information, please email us here. Furthermore, all our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

Accommodation – $60 per night in a shared double room, including breakfast and taxes (we will arrange for sharing with other participants). Except for those persons already residing in Lebanon, we recommend that all participants in the Exchange reside at the conference hotel during the program (only accepted students will be notified of the hotel location). Single rooms are available for $100 per night. Note that we can also arrange for less expensive, private housing near to the conference room which is priced at approximately $40 per person, per night.

Airfare – $500, approximate from the European Union.

About the Director:

Yamen Soukkarieh graduated in 1999 with a Communication Media Degree from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Since that time, he has worked as a producer and cameraman for numerous Lebanese and international media organizations, including with CNN, Arte and Al-Jazeera, among others.

Upcoming Exchanges

The Exchange Foundation is an effort by the non-profit, 501 (C)3 Foundation for Global Political Exchange to promote professional and academic enrichment through a variety of small group, direct engagement conferences in Western Asia and North Africa.

During their stay, typically lasting five days to one week, participants from around the world listen to and question leading intellectuals, activists and politicians representing an array of different points of view in a specific country.

The first Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, thirteen years on, more than 850 people from 51 different countries have attended 40 different Exchanges in the region.

Crucially, all funding for the Exchange comes from only two sources: The participants themselves who pay the participation fee or scholarship recipients who benefit from individual, charitable contributions designed specifically to broaden the social, political and geographic diversity of each Exchange table. As such, there is no government, commercial or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.

Listen to and question leading intellectuals, activists and politicians from the Arab world

Broad social, political and geographic diversity of speakers

Creating a neutral platform for dialogue and understanding

More than 850 participants, 51 countries, 40 different Exchanges

The best immersion course on a country in transition I’ve seen.

Dr. Alfred Stepan

Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University

Time-tested technique and tactful diplomacy enables The Exchange to achieve an environment conducive to attention, dialogue and reflection.

Dr. Jalel Harchaoui

Research Fellow of the Conflict Research Unit of the Clingendael Institute

There could not exist a more thorough and intensive immersion into Lebanese history and politics than The Exchange.

Nathan Wexler

Phd. candidate at UC Berkley

A well-oiled program that brings you an impressive number and selection of speakers from across the spectrum. Worth every penny!

I learned more in my 10 days at the Beirut Exchange than in any university course! This was a wonderful experience filled with fascinating speakers.

Oliva Holt-Ivry

Nicole Sganga

Senior Programs Advisor on Women, Peace, and Security, U.S. Department of State

CBS News reporter

Illuminating and life changing experience. I will recall the Exchange as one of the most authentic educational experiences of my life.

Sahar Rizvi


Who should register?

NGO Practitioners

& Officers

Foreign Diplomats
& Analysts

& Faculty

Journalists & Media Professionals

Past Exchanges

Intensive & Immersive Courses on Western Asia & North Africa

Unique access to information, perspectives, updates and analysis.

Access to information

Gain direct insight and rare first-hand knowledge about the country from a wide range of perspectives.

First-hand knowledge

Engage with speakers during the sessions and connect with them after the Exchange.

Connect with speakers

Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic actors from across the spectrum in Western Asia and North Africa

Dialogue with Leaders

Upcoming Exchanges

Our first in-person Exchange since 2019 will kick off in Yerevan on September 19, 2021, one year after the latest Armenia-Azerbaijan war.

September 19-26, 2021

To be held virtually over eight Thursday and Saturday mornings (EST time), in partnership with Georgetown University's Democracy and Governance Center.

May 27-June 19, 2021

(Applications open June 1)

(Applications now closed)

Join our network

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Meet Our Team

Co-founder, Nicholas Noe: +961.81.797.943 (Beirut/WhatsApp)

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