Working at the intersection of academia and activism, The Arab Institute for Women (AiW) has been advancing women’s rights to achieve gender equality across the region since 1973. AiW was established to pay tribute to LAU’s origins as a girls’ school and to fulfill the university’s commitment to education, empowerment, and equality for women and girls.
As the first of its kind in the Arab world and among the first in the world, AiW takes pride in its legacy by:
- Advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality nationally, regionally, and globally.
- Engaging in gender mainstreaming across all LAU departments and schools, and combining academia and activism to achieve gender equality and human rights in the Arab region
AiW is committed to advancing gender equality and empowering women in the Arab world and across the globe by engaging in a unique combination of education, research, development programs and outreach with a focus on issues affecting Arab women.
- Raises the profile of gender as a cross-cutting issue by engaging students, faculty, and staff to integrate gender issues across all programs of study
- Engages in global dialogues on women and gender issues to raise awareness and rally action.
- Builds partnerships and forms strategic collaborations to address gender justice issues in all its thematic areas.
- Brings together stakeholders to advance these issues through shared discussions – and shared agendas.
- Conducts and supports innovative applied research on women and gender issues in the Arab region
- Partners with a variety of organizations to deliver development, capacity building, and continuing education programs, addressing key regional issues with a view to promoting gender equality, empowering women, and serving as a catalyst for policy change on women’s rights.
AiW: The Five Pillars
I. Education: Establishing and supporting high-quality education programs on gender to encourage interest and build capacity at the undergraduate, graduate, and mid-career levels:
- M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies & Minor in Gender Studies
AiW lobbied for and succeeded in the development of an undergraduate minor in Gender Studies and a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, which are both housed by the Department of Social Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences.
- The Certificate in Gender in Development and Humanitarian Assistance - offered through The Academy of Continuing Education at LAU aims to establish a pool of professionals with marketable skills in integrating gender in development and humanitarian programming, addressing issues such as the women, peace, and security agenda, and gender-based violence prevention and response. The AiW tries to secure grants to custom-make courses from the certificate depending on the nature of the grant.
These three interventions are connected and mutually reinforcing. They foster interest and build capacity in gender issues for a range of audiences: students and seasoned experts, policymakers and practitioners, academics and activists.
II. Research: Strengthening research on and by women and on gender issues, in order to build a body of knowledge to further social and policy change at the national and regional levels.
The Institute’s ground-breaking English language bi-annual journal, Al-Raida, The Female Pioneer, has been a platform for researchers, policy-makers, practitioners, and students to address critical issues for over four decades.
It is available in print and online.
Alongside Al-Raida, the Institute addresses a range of contemporary issues through Aqlam, our collection of writings on gender. AiW conducts research commissioned by or in partnership with a range of national, regional, and international institutions. This body of knowledge helps fuel momentum on gender equality in society and policy. Scholars from across the globe contribute to the research of the Institute. Some join us at the Institute to pursue their research in line with our vision and expand the world view of our students and partners through teaching and guest lectures.
III. Development Projects: Conducting sustainable development projects to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at the national and regional levels.
We collaborate with national, regional, and international organizations on programs that aim at:
- Advocating for equality in legislation
- Reaching marginalized groups
- Providing life-skills support
- Promoting women’s political participation
- Engaging women in peace and security
- Preventing gender-based violence
IV. Outreach: Promoting gender equality, human rights, and social justice through outreach events and activities at the national, regional, and international levels.
- Organizing conferences and learning events to disseminate knowledge, promote gender issues, and encourage activism for equality
- Commissioning, publishing and distributing creative expressions that advocate for gender equality - including songs, films, theatre productions, photographs and visual arts – that engage youth and sets a precedent for the region
- Encouraging innovative action and youth engagement through annual events, international days of activism, and student competitions
We partner with civil society organizations, academic and research institutes, NGOs, UN agencies, governments, donors, the private sector, and other critical partners.
- In Lebanon, the Who is She in Lebanon? online database charts the work of leading Lebanese women to promote and celebrate their achievements.
- In the Arab region, we amplify advocacy and action by joining forces with other institutions through social media and youth outreach, while our competitions engage hundreds of youth in a range of gender issues every year.
- Internationally, we serve as a resource center and knowledge hub, organizing conferences and events for local, regional, and international partners. We engage in global dialogues and provide a regional perspective to global movements..
V. LAU Engagement: The AiW was founded and is based at the Lebanese American University, which has campuses in Beirut, Byblos, and New York. We engage the LAU community across all campuses to enhance a university culture committed to gender equality and to ignite activism for social change.
We inspire young minds to understand and advance women’s rights and gender equality by:
- Stimulating discussion and debate with Food 4 Thought, our monthly student-driven speaking series on gender issues, bringing students together with practitioners and activists
- Recognizing excellence in student research on women’s issues through the Mary Turner Lane Award, in honor of the late founder of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Supporting student clubs to address gender issues through workshops, events, and on-campus activism
- Integrating gender issues across the LAU curriculum and community, supporting the development and delivery of courses and activities that spotlight gender issues
- Fostering a campus culture of gender excellence through working closely with Title IX Office and contributing to the development of progressive university policies and practices as part of LAU’s commitment to equality, inclusion, and diversity.
AiW welcomes visiting researchers, faculty and scholars from Lebanon and around the world to work with us on research and explore critical gender issues, advance pioneering projects, and forge new partnerships For more information, contact the Institute by email or social media.