In partnership with the US Embassy in Beirut, the May Chidiac Foundation – Media Institute (MCF-MI) seeks to build on the success 1 of “Renewing Lebanon’s Political & Economic Structures” and extend for a third phase from October 2022 till October 2023.
The purpose of the overarching program is to benefit from U.S. expertise on good governance and advance the policy conversation on how Lebanon can save itself from collapse and renew its political and economic structures. The purpose of the extension is to create an inclusive space and elevate the national
policy conversation on reform with high-level policy experts, traditional and new political actors amid changing domestic and regional conditions.
Capturing the Complexity of Lebanon’s Dire Situation
The pressing economic and social situation in Lebanon is calling for emergency fiscal measures through International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiations. Lebanon is facing challenges posed by the ministerial crisis and regional shifts. The uprising of October 17 and the Beirut Port explosion aggravated the situation as a whole. How will the IMF negotiations and the upcoming parliamentary elections impact Lebanon’s dire situation?
International response to Lebanon’s Rising Humanitarian Crisis: Challenges and Solutions
Lebanon is in the midst of a rapidly escalating, unprecedented humanitarian crisis that is threatening the population’s well-being, economic development, social welfare, national and regional stability. This current emergency occurs in the background of a turbulent history and complex regional geopolitical context, including the refugee crisis and the ongoing influence of foreign actors. Under these ongoing challenges, Lebanon needs help from the international community. What are the challenges of the international response to Lebanon’s humanitarian crisis and the suggested solutions?
Injustice: The Beirut Port Explosion, Relevant Corruption Cases. How to Move On?
The long-lasting corruption and mismanagement at the Beirut port, allowed for explosive compound to be haphazardly stored there for nearly six years. However, Beirut’s port has been rife with corruption, negligence, and mismanagement. In the aftermath of the blast, Lebanese officials vowed that the cause of the explosion would be investigated vigorously and expeditiously. Amidst obvious political interference in the work of the judiciary, an internal conflict took place because of some political players setting parameters regarding whom a judge can or cannot prosecute leading to the current ministerial crisis. How the ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut and was stored in the port? What will happen if the ongoing investigation comes to an end?
Vienna Talks: Expected Outcomes and the Aftermath Effects on the Region
Almost a year after the talks began, officials from world powers and Iran are still gathering for other rounds of talks in the Austrian capital Vienna. Since the start of the eighth round of talks in November last year, the two sides have narrowed certain gaps, but disagreements persist, particularly over which sanctions the U.S. must lift. A potential final agreement will inevitably reflect on the countries of the region as a whole, especially on geostrategic countries. What are the expected outcomes and the aftermath effect on Lebanon and the region? Amid the possibility of regional realignment, does the solution in Syria and Lebanon require settlements on a regional and global level?
Elections in Lebanon, Damned if We Do and Damned if We Don’t: Possible Outcomes and Consequences
Lebanon is not far away from its upcoming parliamentary elections, but there is no clarity on when and if they will take place
The U.S. and Lebanese Army: The Trajectory Ahead
The economic crisis is affecting the Lebanese army on all levels and threatening the country’s stability. The Lebanese army is in desperate need of donor assistance to survive, and the needs are urgent: food, gasoline, salaries and other basic necessities, as well as spare parts and military equipment. The United States remains the biggest financial benefactor of the Lebanese military. It has pushed up funding for the army by $15 million in 2021, making the total amount of military aid $120 million. The International community is worried about the possible disintegration of the army, making room for local sectarian militias to rise, leading Lebanon to chaos. Taking into consideration that international donations might take time to materialize, how can the LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) survive the crisis? Is there a sustainable solution in sight?
Ensuring that Women Play a Greater Role in Conflict Resolution and Political Processes in Lebanon
This panel tackles the women’s role in peacebuilding and national dialogue focusing on the MENA region and Lebanon in particular. The situation of women has not been strengthened enough to have a role on an equal footing with men. However, the barriers to women’s leadership and participation in decision-making at all levels remain, including in political and public life, and in conflict prevention. How can women play a greater role in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and the political scene in Lebanon and the region?
The Pressing Economic Situation in Lebanon: Challenges & Solutions
Following the 1975-1990 civil war, successive governments racked up debt with little to show for it, resulting in a grave economic catastrophe in Lebanon. The service-oriented economy’s backbone, banks, is paralyzed. Savers have been shut out of their dollar accounts or told that the cash they have access to are now worth a quarter of what they were before. The value of the currency has plummeted, plunging a large portion of the population into destitution. What triggered this economic collapse? And what kinds of improvements can overturn it?
Lebanon’s Energy Crisis: Problems and Solutions
Lebanon is currently suffering from a crippling energy crisis. Unreliable power supplies have put hospitals and essential services in crisis mode. The United States and its Arab partners arranged for an initiative that would provide Egyptian natural gas to Jordan to be transmitted to Lebanon via Syria. Is there a sustainable solution for the electricity crisis in the country?
U.S. Government’s Policy in Lebanon in Light of Domestic Turbulence and Changing Regional Dynamics
The United States believes that a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Lebanon can make an important contribution to comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Some analysts are claiming that the Middle East is preparing for an American retreat, while others argue that it is merely readjusting its stance in the context of wider regional changes. What is the U.S. government’s policy in Lebanon?
UNIFIL: Borders Security Situation & Current Challenges
This discussion will give insights on the situation of the Lebanese-Israeli border, how the current Lebanese crisis is affecting the situation along the borders, and Lebanon’s fulfillment of its UNSCR 1701 obligations. It will also reflect on developments in UNIFIL’s area of operations and to understand the challenges that UNIFIL is facing in Lebanon.
Disability Rights & Challenges of Inclusion
This discussion will feature the story and journey of Sara Minkara, a visually impaired Lebanese-American woman, who was appointed by President Biden as the Special Advisor on International Disability Rights in the U.S. Department of State. This discussion will also give insights on how people with disabilities experience range of barriers to basic services whether they live in developing countries or conflict settings. It will also reflect on Minkara’s values on promoting inclusion, diversity and access in a range of countries including Lebanon