The Asfari Foundation aims to help young people make a valuable contribution to society by empowering them through education, research, and the power of free-thinking. They support programs that encourage the development of civil society, as well as providing humanitarian relief in emergencies. The Foundation was established in 2006 by Sawsan and Ayman Asfari and is based in London; It is funded by the Asfari family.

Established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy. 

The oldest political foundation in Germany with a rich tradition in social democracy. Its work focuses on the core ideas and values of social democracy – freedom, justice, and solidarity. This connects FES to social democracy and free trade unions. FES promotes a free society, based on the values of solidarity; a lively and strong democracy; a welfare state that provides more education and improved healthcare; and a country that is responsible for peace and social progress in Europe and in the world.

An American private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare. Created in 1936[6] by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford, it was originally funded by a USD25,000 gift from Edsel Ford. For years it was the largest, and one of the most influential foundations in the world, with global reach and special interests in economic empowerment, education, human rights, democracy, the creative arts, and Third World development.

Inspired by Malala and Ziauddin’s activist roots, Malala Fund believes that local educators and advocates provide the greatest insight, innovation, and energy needed to address barriers that keep girls out of school in their communities. Through their Education Champion Network, they invest in local activists’ work so they can scale their efforts and leverage their collective power to create broader change to make it easier for all girls to learn.

The Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, are the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. We provide thousands of grants every year through a network of national and regional foundations and offices, funding a vast array of projects—many of them now shaped by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oxfam is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice. Across regions, from the local to the global, they work with people to bring change that lasts. Their work is grounded in the commitment to the universality of human rights. Driven by diversity and founding their asks in evidence and experience, they take sides against poverty and injustice everywhere. Feminist approaches guide all their analysis, action, and interaction.

UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) mission since 1945 is to build peace through international cooperation as it is the only way to build bridges between nations. Therefore, as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO seeks to offer a broad range of expertise in the fields of Education, the Sciences, and Culture.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights is a feminist fund that protects, strengthens, and sustains women and LGBT human rights defenders at critical moments. Urgent Action Fund partners with women’s movements worldwide to support women’s human rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality, and peace.

Institutional & Academic Collaborators

In 2004, ARI became a think tank in its own right with 20 peer partners across the region, acting as resources for exclusive knowledge on their respective governments and societies. Following 2011 (and the Arab Uprisings), ARI’s work shifted towards accompanying and consolidating the transition out of authoritarianism by addressing how street mobilization could lead to genuine political participation.

Based on a national heritage site in Amsterdam, KIT Royal Tropical Institute is an independent center of expertise, education, and hospitality dedicated to sustainable development. Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, KIT’s knowledge work focuses on global health, gender, economic development, and intercultural communication.

The Université de Montréal was founded with the goal of offering higher education. Over the course of more than 135 years, it has become an institution serving society as a whole.

Civil Society Partners

ANND (Arab NGO Network for Development) is an independent, democratic, and civil network, established in 1997, aimed at strengthening and empowering civil society and promoting the values of democracy, respect for human rights, and sustainable development in Arab countries. Which is all consistent with the International Bill of Human Rights and the freedom and dignity of the individual, respect for pluralism, equitable distribution of wealth, preservation of the cultural heritage of the region, and achieving the development priorities of local communities.

FEMENA was established in August 2017 and aims to support women human rights defenders (WHRDs), their organizations, and their movements in the MENA and Asia region. FEMENA is particularly focused on contexts where civil society space is shrinking and seeks to raise awareness and provide analysis about the impact of shrinking civil society space on the situation of women and progressive feminist movements.

Marsa is a sexual health center based in Beirut, Lebanon, operating as a non-profit organization since February 2011. Marsa provides confidential and anonymous services related to sexual and reproductive health. All services are provided to all in a friendly environment free of stigma and discrimination against age, sex, gender, and sexual orientation.

Mawjoudin or Mawjoudin’s Initiative for equality is a non-governmental organization that advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, especially LGBTQI+ people in Tunisia. Mawjoudin seeks to defend and promote human rights generally, and sexual and bodily rights as well as gender equality in specific, through diversity work focusing on advocacy and lobbying, documentation, capacity community building, and raising awareness.

Nazra for Feminist Studies is a group that aims at contributing to the continuity and development of the Egyptian and regional feminist movement in the Middle East and North Africa, where the group believes that feminism and gender are political and social issues affecting freedom and development in all societies. Nazra aims to mainstream these values in both public and private spheres. Nazra’s team believes that integrating gender and feminism will be achieved through the efforts of believers in the validity of these values and in the necessity of their implementation in both spheres. Nazra believes that youth, in their diversity, struggle to integrate their issues, which include gender-related issues, into their societies. And so Nazra generally works to provide all actors who strive to achieve gender-related causes with all forms of support needed; and focuses, specifically, on supporting youth groups who strive to achieve those causes.

AUB Collaborators

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The AUB Archaeological Museum, founded in 1868, is the third oldest museum in the Near East, after Cairo and Constantinople. It is a regional Museum with collections from 7 countries Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Palestine, ​Iraq, and Iran. The Museum was renovated in 1999 and reopened to the public in 2006.

The University Libraries are the intellectual hub of AUB. They develop, manage, and provide access to distinctive collections, services, and facilities in order to advance the research, teaching, and learning of the scholarly and clinical communities at the university and beyond.

The Education for Leadership in Crisis Scholarship program (ELC) at the American University of Beirut supports the education of 29 qualified students from Afghanistan. The program aims to offer undergraduate merit scholarships to these students who will be enrolled at AUB, with funding pr the United States Government. This program is designed around an arts foundation, based provided by AUB’s strong liberal with an emphasis on developing leadership skills during protracted crises. AUB also collaborates with Women for Afghan Women (WAW) to raise awareness about this scholarship and encourage students to apply from all over Afghanistan.

​Inaugurated in 2006, the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (IFI) is an independent, research-based, policy-oriented institute. It aims to initiate and develop policy-relevant research in and about the Arab world. The Institute aims to bridge the gap between academia and policymaking by conducting high-quality research on the complex issues and challenges faced by Lebanese and Arab societies within shifting international and global contexts, by generating evidence-based policy recommendations and solutions for Lebanon and the Arab world, and by creating an intellectual space for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers, scholars, civil society actors, media, and policymakers.

The Tomorrow’s Leaders Graduate Program (TLG) is a leadership training program by the US Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (ME​PI). Its objective is to support academically qualified and economically deserving ​students in the MENA region by providing graduate study and organized research that advances knowledge, furthers the pro​fession​alization of emerging leaders, and contributes to the implementation of socially relevant initiatives.

The AUB Tomorrow’s Leaders Gender Scholars Program (TLS) is an opportunity made possible with support from the United States Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). MEPI-TLS awards participating students with a scholarship that allows them to join an energetic community of gender scholars across campus. Participating students enroll in one gender studies course while attending professionalization workshops, writing papers, and participating in leadership events. Through this program, students have the opportunity to work closely with distinguished professors, experts, and activists.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​AUB encourages a diverse student body and workforce and is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. Consistent with this commitment and with Lebanese, U.S., and other applicable laws, it is the policy of AUB not to tolerate any kind of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment misconduct and to provide those who feel they are victims of any kind of discriminatory harassment (including sexual harassment) with mechanisms for seeking redress.

Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship

American University of Beirut


PO Box 11-0236

Riad El Solh, ​1107 2020
Beirut, Lebanon

Tel: +961-1-350000 EXT. 4469


The Debs Center, 3 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 8th floor
New York, NY 10017-2303, USA

Tel: 1-212-583-7600