the beirut forum

The Beirut Security Studies Collective 



The Beirut School of critical security studies evolved as a transnational process with several networks connected through the Eastern Mediterranean city of Beirut. The project is brought together and supported by the Beirut-based Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), a regional, independent, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening social science research and knowledge production in the Arab world. While the project seeks to expand and connect to centers of knowledge production across the region and beyond, its foundation draws primarily on the work of Arab and non-Arab scholars based in Beirut, affiliated with institutions such as the American University of Beirut, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), as well as Arab and non-Arab scholars who have worked on questions of security in Lebanon.


What these scholars had in common were encounters with the lived experiences of insecurity and precarity in Lebanon, the complex dynamics of contentious politics within a pluralistic political environment, and an interest in engaging in scholarly knowledge production across and between North American, European, and Arab spheres and institutions. From this core, the project has expanded to include scholars from or working across the region with similar concerns about developing a critical approach to security studies. What this network avoids, and in many ways seeks to counter, is the proliferation of ‘security studies’ and ‘strategic studies’ training programs and think tanks developing across the region, funded and supported by regional and foreign governments seeking to develop national geopolitical traditions to advance state security interests.

Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Nicole Grove, 2017. 

Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Nicole Grove, 2017. 


About the Forum

The Beirut Forum aims to bring together scholars working within various critical approaches to the study of security issues specifically, and international studies more broadly, to advance the development of a critical security studies scholarship on the Arab region. We are working from the premise that while the major schools within the broad field of CSS do havetheoretical, methodological, and conceptual contributions to make to the study of the Arab region, there is a significant absence of critical work being done by scholars in and on the region. 

The aim of the working group is to encourage more critical engagement with the region within the existing CSS approaches, but to also put forth ideas, cases, frameworks, and concepts, which reject the European and Western dominance of questions of security  while advancing alternative approaches to security and insecurity grounded in the study of the region.


لمحات البحوث

Research Profiles


Working Group.

Advisory Board.