Program staff at the SSRC are helping incubate a significant initiative for promoting the social sciences in the Arab region. The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), a legal, autonomous, regional, and independent nonprofit organization, headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, is in its first year of establishment. Its structure consists of a General Assembly and will include both individual and institutional members, an elected Board of Trustees, and a Secretariat, headed by a Director.
The SSRC’s Seteney Shami is acting as “Founding Director” during 2010, and the search for a full-time director has been launched. MENA senior program assistant Shabana Shahabuddin as well as the Council’s IT and Finance offices are all providing important support and advice for the fledgling institution.
The ACSS seeks to promote a strong, vibrant social science community in the Arab region by establishing networks of knowledge production and collaboration between individuals and institutions within the region, as well as cross-regionally and globally. By supporting researchers and academic/research institutions, the ACSS aims to contribute to the creation, dissemination, validation, and utilization of social science research and to provide a model for academic excellence and professional standards in the region. It also aims to enrich public debate about the challenges facing Arab societies and to enhance the role of social science in informing public policy in the region.