The Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) is a French research centre with branches in Syria, Lebanon, Irak, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Created in 2003 by the CNRS and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs the institute’s primary role is to ensure a high level of research about the region. The IFPO promotes cooperation with local academic institutions and scientists from all over the world involved in its research projects. It also supports young researchers in every discipline of the social sciences and humanities – from antiquity to the present day – and trains future researchers in Arabic. The Institute consists of three scientific departments: the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, the Department of Arabic, Medieval and Modern Studies, and the Department of Contemporary Studies, which participates in the Power 2 Youth program. This department consists of twenty research-fellows and/or PhD candidates as well as a similar number of associated researchers. The Department of Contemporary Studies prioritizes two concerns: the first is to observe social processes as closely as possible by means of extensive fieldwork with special attention to the production of new data, and the second is to contribute to theoretical debate, employing diachronic and synchronic comparative analysis.

The Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux sociaux (IRIS) is a research team that brings together sixty researchers and over one hundred PhD students and young doctors in the fields of anthropology, sociology, history, law, political science, public health and forensic medicine from the EHESS, the CNRS, the INSERM and the Université Paris 13 (UMR8156- U997). Their work explores social, political and ethical issues of contemporary societies in France, Europe, Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, as well as Oceania.

The IRIS actively participates in the three levels of French Higher Education and proposes five Master degrees destined to prepare students to conduct social science research. It grants PhDs autonomously as well as in conjunction with European, American and African Universities. The scientific program is built around four major axes. The first is primarily epistemological and concerned with fieldwork and methodology. The other three are thematic with subjects ranging from the future of postcolonial societies, gender studies, power relations, public health and work.

Dr Aude-Annabelle Canesse holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and obtained fellowships from the Regional Council of Ile-de-France and the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain (IRMC, CNRS/Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs). She specialises in development policies and tools analysis with a particular interest for governance, participation, public administration and development management in MENA countries. Apart from participating in several publications she recently wrote Les politiques de developpement en Tunisie (2014).

Dr Myriam Catusse is a CNRS research fellow at the Institut de recherche sur le monde arabe et musulman (IREMAM), Aix en Provence, and since 2013 head of the Department for Contemporary Studies at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) in Beirut. A political scientist, she wrote her PhD (1999) on businessmen in Morocco. She has worked mainly on social issues, economic policies and political mobilisation in the Maghreb and Mashreq. She has co-edited nine books as well as numerous articles on elections in Morocco and Lebanon, political parties and social questions such as labour; she most recently published Jeunesses Arabes. Du Maroc au Yémen : loisirs, cultures et politiques (2013, with Laurent Bonnefoy).

Dr Françoise De Bel-Air is a sociologist and political demographer. She received her PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris in 2003. She has been working as a research consultant on the Arab world since 2007. She specialises in Arab and European migration issues and policies, as well as demographic and socio-political dynamics in the Middle East and in Tunisia (youth, intergenerational and gender relationships, family structures, labour market characteristics, labour migration and socio-political representations of labour, population policies). She has two books currently under review, has edited one book and has written over forty articles, academic papers, policy reports and chapters in edited volumes.

Dr Blandine Destremau, senior researcher for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the IRIS. She holds a PhD in Development Economics (1989, with a thesis on social, economic and agrarian changes in Yemen) and a post-doctoral degree in Sociology (2009). She specialises in social policy and gender studies at a global level, and particularly Middle Eastern countries. Her principal research interests include domestic workers, social protection and poverty. She has edited or co-edited fifteen collective books and journal issues and published over a hundred articles and book chapters. Among her recent publications is the book Women and Civil Society Capacity Building in Yemen: a research perspective on development (2012, with Maggy Grabundzija).

Dr Isabel Pares-Reyna is a researcher working on the education of attention, the interface of neuroscience and education, socio-emotional learning and philosophy of education. After obtaining a Master of Education from Harvard University, she received a PhD from Aix-Marseille Université. She has been working and teaching in the US, Venezuela and France. Her work was recently published in the proceedings of international conferences (2013, 2012, 2011)

Omar Somi is a community organizer committed to strengthening political participation amongst youth with fewer opportunities, especially in the Arab and Muslim diasporas in Europe. He coordinated a cooperation program on youth and community work between the University of Paris Est Créteil and Tunisian organizations. After having taught in the Institut Universitaire Technologie de Sénart-Fontainebleau and worked as a consultant for a foreign delegation to Unesco, he is now involved in local development and youth issues, as a project manager for the city of Montreuil.

Dr Sbeih Sbeih is a sociologist and an associated member in the Laboratoire Printemps (UMR, CNRS-UVSQ). His research focuses on the sociology of commitment as well as the sociology of professions and development. His PhD dissertation is entitled “the professionalization of NGOs in Palestine: between the pressure of donors and the logic of engagement”. He co-organized a teaching seminar about Palestinian studies at the Institut d'études de l'Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman (IISMM/EHESS). Since September 2014, he teaches the sociology of development at Al-Ahliya University at Bethlehem and works in Palestinian research institutes such as the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS).

Dr Marie-Noëlle Abi Yaghi is an associated researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) since 2010 and head of the research department of the NGO Lebanon Support. She specialises in social movements, collective action and left-wing politics. Since 2013, she coordinates a research program on the evolution of Lebanese trade unionism. A former researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies of the University of Oxford, she recently defended her thesis on Lebanon’s alter-globalisation movement.

Main tasks attributed to IFPO-IRIS:
-Leader of WP2
-Partner in WP3, WP4, WP8 and WP9 



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