Campus - 11.11.2021 - 00:00 

Institutional cooperation between the American University of Beirut and the HSG

A unique course that brings together Master's students from several universities leads to an expanded institutional cooperation between the American University of Beirut and the University of St.Gallen.

11 November 2021. For the sixth time, the course "The Law, the Economics, and the Politics of Forced Migration", taught by Dr. Andreas Böhm and Mahmoud Haidar assembled Master’s students from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and the University of St.Gallen (HSG). Over the years, double-degree and exchange students from a wider network of Master’s programs at institutions such as the Fletcher School in the USA, Sciences Po in France, Yonsei University in South Korea, and several CEMS-affiliated schools have participated in the exchange.

Joint course "The Law, the Economics, and the Politics of Forced Migration"

The course focuses on Syrian refugees in Lebanon and challenges related to policymaking on both national and international levels. As the situation with Syrian refugees in Lebanon has developed over time, so has the course. In the beginning, the course focused on the economic and legal status of refugees along with providing humanitarian services such as shelter, access to education, and healthcare. Now discussions probe policy options and different frameworks as they look at effectiveness, sustainability and legitimacy.

The success of the course was in no small part due to its particular setting and structure. Students from different backgrounds come to cooperate and think outside the box in analyzing interlinked policy aspects and feasible solutions. They combine intellectual rigour with the quest for relevance. A select panel of experts, thought and practice leaders has challenged the students and provided them with inspiration and advice.  

Deeper cooperation between the two institutions

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Christoph Frei from HSG and Prof. Dr. Nadia el-Cheikh from AUB steps for a deeper cooperation between the two institutions were evaluated. In 2020, AUB and HSG signed an agreement to foster academic exchange and finally this fall, the first HSG student, Andrin Wey begun his exchange studies at AUB.

The programme has served as a perfect occasion to commemorate the cooperation between the two universities and the milestone was marked in a festive ceremony at Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), where the seminar has been held since 2016.

At the formal ceremony following the course, Dr. Andreas Böhm looked at the history of the programme and highlighted previous milestones, which included research stays for multiple HSG Bachelor’s and Master’s students in Beirut. President Prof. Fadlo Khuri, MD (AUB), continued and emphasised that not only were both institutions dedicated to excellence in research and teaching, but they also shared values and a commitment to creating impact for the benefit of mankind. He also added that students are the most important constituents of both institutions which aim at enabling and empowering them to bring hope into the future.

Vice-President Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schmid (HSG) joined Prof. Khuri in pointing out that the students assembled in this seminar represent the value of this cooperation. He underlined similarities in the foundational periods of both institutions in the late 19th century, when Beirut blossomed from the silk trade and St.Gallen from its textile industry. Behind such a background, both AUB and HSG have embraced their leading roles in a competitive international setting. Establishing relations between the two universities strengthens their individual positions.

Prof. Dr el-Cheikh emphasised the value of bringing together the experiences and perspectives of students from different backgrounds, which the course on migration exemplifies.

Ms. Maja Messmer Mokhtar, Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss embassy in Lebanon, who was an integral part of the discussions between HSG and AUB, welcomed the cooperation, and Prof. Dr. Joseph Bahout, Director of IFI at AUB reiterated his invitation for future editions of the seminar to be held there.

After partaking in the seminar, HSG students visited two schools for Syrian refugees in the Bekaa valley, which are being run by the AUB Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) and enjoyed the cultural and culinary richness of Lebanon.

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