About Active Arab Voices
The Asfari Institute
for Civil Society and Citizenship
In November 2012, the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB was established and funded by a $10 million grant from the Asfari Foundation, which was founded by Trustee Ayman Asfari.
The Institute has been conceived as a framework that will advance research and other initiatives to support the development of an informed citizenry engaged at all levels of Arab associational life and promote openness, transparency, and accountability in the region. Both the Foundation and AUB recognize that the Arab world is undergoing significant change, and they intend that the work of the Asfari Institute will make a unique and valuable contribution to progress in the region during this era of historic transition and beyond.
The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship will serve as the regional hub of a dynamic community of academics, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and members of the general public interested in exploring traditional and innovative forms of associational life and in advancing realistic solutions to the obstacles to effective civil society and citizenship in the Arab world. The Institute will encourage evidence-based research; disseminate research findings and policy/practice recommendations; provide education and training for active citizenship and effective civil society; promote awareness of civil society and civic engagement in the region; and stimulate fruitful dialogue among the region’s varied publics.
In the conduct of its mission,
the Institute will:
• Support freedom of thought
• Provide a neutral space for dialogue;
• Foster tolerance and respect for the diversity of Arab cultures and perspectives;
• Seek to interpret civil society and citizenship broadly and inclusively; and
• Remain responsive to emerging needs and trends.
Through its research, education and activities, the Institute will support the development of an informed and engaged citizenry and of increased openness, transparency, and accountability at all levels of Arab associational life.