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Strengthening knowledge, evidence use, and leadership in the Global South on forced displacement: Focus on the Middle East


Some 79.5 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, economic hardships, climate change, and prolonged situations of political fragility. Eighty percent of the world’s forcibly displaced people are hosted in countries in the Global South while almost all of the research that influences policy and practice originates from researchers based in the Global North. Local knowledge is underused.

To address this challenge, this project establishes an inter-disciplinary research chair on forced displacement at the American University in Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, with a focus on the theme of the well-being of displaced children and adolescents. The research chair will focus on how national systems and societies in low- and middle-income countries can address forced-displacement challenges. It will take a multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach, not only in terms of health (both physical and psychological) but also in terms of access to educational opportunities and transition to adulthood; the political economy of non-skilled labour to which displaced children and adolescents contribute; and the challenges of fostering sustainable and inclusive economies that reduce gender inequities and mitigate the impacts of environmental stresses.

Concerted and context-informed knowledge production from the university aims to have a significant impact on regional and global debates on forced displacement. The chair and program will also lay the basis for the development of a cross-faculty and multidisciplinary degree program in forced displacement at AUB.

This project is part of a five-year IDRC initiative on forced displacement through support to research chairs in established universities in four regions (the Middle East, East Africa, Central and South America, and South and Southeast Asia). The aim is to empower universities to define research agendas and lead on practical, gender-transformative solutions which promote social, economic, political, and health rights of forcibly displaced persons and host communities in the Global South, while ensuring that Southern voices inform local, regional, and global policy discussions on forced displacement. There will be emphasis on promoting exchanges between the eight research chairs.

Project ID
Project Status
60 months
IDRC Officer
Roula El-Rifai
Total Funding
CA$ 1,154,900.00
Middle East
Institution Country
Université Saint-Joseph
Institution Country
American University of Beirut