- To promote better understanding of the national and international issues relevant to Lebanon through the pursuit of independent objective academic research into the political, social, educational, historical, economic, and cultural issues of Lebanon.
- To inform policy-makers in Lebanon and make recommendations based on research findings in connection with issues facing Lebanon.
- To provide support and information for governments and international institutions in the formulation of their Lebanese and Middle East policies.
In order to realise these objectives the Centre aims to:
- Highlight relevant and contemporary issues of importance to the future of both Lebanon and its people.
- Play a central role in encouraging the serious study of political, economic, historical, geographic, sociological and cultural issues facing Lebanon.
- Generate and channel ideas that will contribute to stability and sustainable development.
The Centre for Lebanese Studies was founded in 1984 by a group of Lebanese in London, who had been meeting regularly for a year concerned with the state of affairs in their country. Their objective was to set up an independent academic institution that would undertake impartial and balanced research and contribute towards Lebanon’s recovery and long-term stability. They aimed to promote a better understanding of Lebanon and to help find solutions for its problems. As a registered charity (registration number 298375), the Centre for Lebanese Studies is governed by a board dedicated to its existence and success.
November 1983 to 1984 witnessed the beginnings of the Centre for Lebanese Studies (and the creation of the British Lebanese Association and the Lebanese Section of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce). The documents, notes, correspondence in the early history section reveal the ideas and concerns of a group of Lebanese living between London, Paris and Beirut, triggered by the situation at that time in Lebanon.
Nearly three decades later, the Centre has achieved international recognition and plays a pivotal role as a focus for academics, journalists, researchers and students. It has become a major international resource for Lebanon.
The Centre for Lebanese Studies’ affiliation to the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and the support provided by the late Albert Hourani and other fellows of that Centre is a major factor in its success. A research committee comprising scholars of international reputation advised the Centre on its programme and the late Marwan Buheiry (1984 -1986) and Nadim Shehadi (1986 – 2005) directed the Centre.
Currently, the research fellows appointed through the research fellowship programme, are influential in defining the research and activities of the Centre.
The Centre owes its accomplishments to the continuing financial support of committed individuals and organisations, public and private, who have funded its activities and have provided it with the freedom and independence required to carry out its work as a Centre of excellence.