BEIRUT: University College London, in partnership with the American University of Beirut and the Centre for Lebanese Studies, launched the RELIEF Centre program to improve the prosperity of urban communities in Lebanon within five years during a conference earlier this week at the Grand Serail.
“The RELIEF Centre looks at issues of learning, education, bringing in communities together, and how we can actually help Lebanon come into mutual prosperity in light of the refugee crisis,” Dr. Nasser Yassin, the Director of Research at AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, told Annahar.
Professor Henrietta L. Moore, the Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL stressed the importance of thinking of what would be a long-term legacy for such projects.
“In many challenging situations in the world, it’s often the case that projects come in saying that they would do something, and when they do something, they go away; and then whatever they have done stops which does not go into anything in the future; this is why it is very important to start thinking about long-term legacy,” Professor Moore said.
The Centre’s research themes are Liveable Cities to build and design public goods and services, Creating Value to generate value of successful community-driven projects, Future Education to co-design appropriate education and learning opportunities, and Prosperity Gains and Inclusive Growth to monitor the prosperity and quality of life in host and refugee communities in Lebanon.
The program aims at improving the quality of life and the prosperity of urban communities.
The purpose of prosperity as people understand it now is not just income, wealth, or increase in growth domestic product, but it is actually improving the quality of people’s lives, emphasized Professor Moore.
“Economy is not just about having headline figures to report in newspapers, but also about making sure that you do something with the wealth your country creates, and you do it for everybody in that situation across the country and, in particular, attend to those who are most vulnerable,” she noted.
As for the challenges that the project might encounter, the Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL said “we need to listen; we don’t know everything we need to know, but what we can do is be quick learners, take actions, build solutions, and we will do it together.”
The special skills that have been developed at AUB and the Centre for Lebanese Studies put together with the ideas that the Institute for Global Prosperity can collaboratively bring new perspectives to the concepts of capacity building, Professor Moore noted.
“It’s a very good initiative, especially that it’s an international cooperation bridging the academia policy making and that’s what is mostly needed in Lebanon,” Abir Chebaro, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Minister of State on Women's Affairs, told Annahar.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.