The 20th Beirut Exchange (Virtual)

Upcoming virtual event organized by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and The Exchange Foundation

November 29 - December 3 & December 6-10, 2021

*Application Deadline I October 31/Deadline II November 15

*35 slots only/Rolling acceptance

After an almost four-year hiatus, the 20th Beirut Exchange Conference will take place online over 10 days, November 29-December 3 (Monday - Friday) and December 6-10 (Monday - Friday) from 4pm-7:30pm (Beirut Time) via Zoom. During the 35 hours of sessions, participants will have the opportunity to listen to and engage with leading academics, analysts, activists and politicians representing a wide spectrum of views on Lebanon.

The first Beirut Exchange took place in June 2008, only a few weeks after sustained violence across Lebanon led to a political settlement known as the Doha Accords. It was our belief at the time that Lebanon was in dire need of more direct and diversified understanding, especially for those who are studying the country, influencing public opinion and discourse, or shaping their own country's foreign policies. Given the current situation that finds Lebanon slipping in terms of international focus even as its citizenry is immiserated further by the day, this is - regrettably - more true than ever.


In the years following our first Exchange, and given the evident need regionally, we steadily expanded our efforts, hosting more than 40 different Exchanges across the Middle East and North Africa - including in Tunisia, Iraq, Syria and Turkey and on Libya as well as Yemen. Thirteen years later, over 1,000 people from 51 different countries have attended an Exchange, with many alumni returning in later years to join sessions once (or several times) again.I


In 2019, in order to transparently organize and further professionalize our work, we were finally able to establish The Exchange as a US-registered non-profit, under the aegis of The Foundation for Global Political Exchange, with the mission of promoting professional and academic enrichment through a variety of small group, direct engagement conferences in Western Asia and North Africa.

Our History & Purpose:

Crucially - and since our beginning - all funding for the Exchange comes from only two sources: First, the participants who pay the participation fee and, second, scholarship recipients who benefit from individual, charitable contributions designed 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 independent platform for dialogue and understanding.

Our Funding:

NGO Practitioners

& Peacebuilders

Foreign Diplomats
& Analysts

Academics
& Researchers

Journalists & Media Professionals

Who Should Apply:

APPLY NOW


In order to promote small group dynamics (this time via Zoom), the number of accepted participants will be capped at 35. Sessions themselves will be almost exclusively conducted on an individual rather than a panel basis for our speakers and will generally allow opportunity for question time (simultaneous translation into English will be provided when necessary). All sessions will also be held under the Chatham House rule, although we customarily work with our speakers to approve any quotes/references that participants may need for their own work whilst also facilitating direct connections between participants and speakers.

Our Format:

Among the themes that we will delve into during The 20th Beirut Exchange:

The October 17 revolt

The Syria War and its implications for Lebanon

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The United Nations role in Lebanon and the region

The July 2006 Lebanon War

The state of Human Rights in Lebanon

The deployment of sectarianism in Lebanese history

Hezbollah’s role in the state and outside of the state

Understanding the history of US - Lebanon relations

The role of the Lebanese Army

Impact of the Syrian Refugee crisis

Anti-establishment movements and prospects for electoral change

Lebanon’s political party divisions: Past and current

The IMF, World Bank and Lebanon's recovery

Women in Lebanese politics

Energy challenges and prospects for resolution

The August 4, 2020 explosion: Responsibilities and Impacts

Unraveling Lebanon’s financial “House of Cards”

The politics of the Lebanese diaspora

Lebanon's Neoliberal project in crisis

Regional state competition and rivalry in Lebanon

Media politics in the Lebanese context

Although limited by the constraints of an online format where our participants span several time zones, we have nevertheless attempted to assemble a diverse group of speakers that we believe represents the wide spectrum of thought and action characteristic of Lebanon itself. It should be noted that The Exchange pays an honorarium to those speakers that do not serve in an official or party capacity and who are also able to accept funds from our foundation.


Accepted applicants will receive the precise order of sessions with confirmed speakers (always within the daily 4pm-7:30pm Beirut time window, Monday-Friday) one month prior to the opening of the 20th Beirut Exchange, as well as readings pertinent to the sessions. A partial list of confirmed speakers will additionally be available on our website by October 11.

The Speakers:

Sunday

07:00pm – Opening Orientation & Security Briefing


Monday

09:30am – Nicholas Noe, Mideastwire.com

12:00pm – Ghattas Khoury, Minister of Culture

12:45pm – Lunch (at the participants discretion)

02:00pm – Karim Makdisi, American University of Beirut

04:00pm – Nour Samaha, Journalist

07:00pm – Ahmad Fatfat, Future Movement


Tuesday

09:30am – Ammar Moussawi, Hezbollah

12:00pm – Bassam Khawaja, Human Rights Watch

01:30pm – Yassine Jaber, The Development & Liberation Bloc
03:00pm – Lunch

04:00pm – Lea Yammine, Lebanon Support

05:30pm – Nicholas Blanford, Journalist


Wednesday

09:30am – Jihad Yazigi, The Syria Report

11:00am – The International NGO Safety Organisation

01:00pm – Lokman Slim, Umam Documentation & Research (w/Lunch)

03:00pm – Sami Gemayel, Kateab

04:30pm – Omar Nashabe, Consultant for Defense Counsel, STL

06:30pm – Walid Jumblatt, Progressive Socialist Party


Thursday

09:30am – Antoine Habchi, Lebanese Forces

11:30am – Ali Fadlallah, Mabarrat Foundation

01:00pm – Lunch

02:00pm – Imran Riza, UNIFIL

03:30pm – Alain Aoun, Free Patriotic Movement

05:30pm – The Syrian Social Nationalist Party

07:30pm – Nicolas Pouillard, IFPO


Friday

09:00am – Claudio Cordone, UNRWA, & Camp Visit

01:30pm – Osama Hamdan, HAMAS

03:00pm – Lunch

04:00pm – Ayman Mhanna, Samir Kassir Foundation

06:00pm – Shadi Karam, Former Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister


Saturday

11:00am – May Akl, Free Patriotic Movement

01:00pm – Lunch

02:00pm – Malek Al-Shaar, Mufti of Tripoli & The North

03:30pm – Faisal Karami, Arab Liberation Party

05:00pm – Achraf Rifi, Former Minister of Justice

07:00pm – Mustapha Alloush, Future Movement


Sunday

11:00am – Marwan Maalouf, Menapolis/#YouStink

01:00pm – Sami Moubayed, The Damascus History Foundation

The Completed Program Of The Last Beirut Exchange (January 2018):

$350

UNAFFILIATED

For undergraduate and graduate students, unaffiliated researchers and freelance journalists

APPLY NOW
APPLY NOW

For private enterprise, government or UN staff

INSTITUTIONAL

$950

APPLY NOW

For affiliated researchers, academics, journalists, NGO staff

AFFILIATED

$750

Participation Fee Levels:

Accepted Lebanese organizations and Lebanese individuals who can demonstrate need will be able to cover the participation fee at their current Bank rate governing non-external USD conversion to Lira.

Scholarships:

The Foundation for Global Political Exchange currently has a total of five Scholarship slots (covering the participation fee) available in two categories: A) The Lebanese/Lebanese Origin Researcher Scholarship for three Lebanese researchers who additionally demonstrate a lack of institutional or self-funding ability; B) The Global Exchange Researcher Scholarship available for two researchers who will deepen the social, political and geographic diversity of the Exchange and who can demonstrate a lack of institutional or self-funding ability.

Apply Now

Application Deadline I: October 31, 2021

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

Student

Who should register?

NGO Practitioners

& Officers

Foreign Diplomats
& Analysts

Academics
& 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 Lebanon.

Dialogue with Leaders

Upcoming Exchanges

After an almost four year hiatus, the 20th Beirut Exchange Conference will take place online over 10 days, November 29-December 3 (Monday-Friday) and December 6-10 (Monday-Friday) from 9am-12:30pm (Eastern Standard Time) via Zoom.

November 29 - December 3 & December 6 - 10, 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 are now open)

(Applications now closed)

Join our network

Receive updates about The Exchange Foundation and upcoming Exchanges.

Meet Our Team

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

© 2021, All rights reserved to The Foundation for Global Political Exchange non-profit 501(c)3

Get in touch with us:

Clear value for

YOUR CUSTOMER

Rhetorical question to reinforce your headline


Adam Blumand

1-800 168-3035

Your personal Real Estate Agent

Let's get in touch