• Overview
  • Mission
  • Topics
  • Meet The Team
  • Governance
Lebanon is in an existential crisis. This is reflected in the collapse of its economy, major social and demographic upheavals and a questioning of the power system in place since the end of the war. This power system is based in particular on a politico-financial oligarchy with communitarian and militia components. It has monopolized the institutions of the state to the point where Lebanon now ranks, a hundred years after its creation, in the unenviable category of failed states, with all the risks entailed.

Rebuilding the state is a priority. Unstructured popular movements and citizens in search of renewal are looking for ways to embark on this path. This also implies mobilizing the tools of non-partisan thinking and public action.

The project to create our Foundation is born from this priority. The Foundation will serve as an instrument of strategic thinking and influence for the various actors on the Lebanese scene, whether local or international. The Foundation, while promoting citizenry, will provide a range of public policies options, create the debate and serve as a catalyst for the implementation of specific public policies. Its vocation will be to accompany Lebanon beyond the end of the crisis to preempt the challenges and essential choices of the future, and mobilize its population and its youth to support optimal choices and push toward their implementation.
Unlike what happens in politically developed countries where think-tanks contribute to the formulation of public policies in full recognition of their role, Lebanon is not in this configuration. The challenge is to bring about changes of a systemic nature through the promotion of ideas, projects, recommendations, and public policies’ choices.

The stake is to contribute to the evolution of the power system and governance despite the limitations of the institutional and political game, and the inherent resistance to the modernization of institutions.

The choice of themes is therefore dictated by a common thread: that of their transformative and systemic nature.

There are many, given the current configuration of relation modes at the economic, social, and institutional levels in the Lebanese system. Currently, essential elements such as justice, the media, education, the health system, basic infrastructure, public administration, the armed forces – to name but a few examples – respond to the double logic of communitarian distribution of power and of economic and social rents perpetuated for the benefit of identified groups / families.

On the other hand, essential issues such as the ecological transition and the digital transformation are completely overlooked, whereas they should be addressed given the size of the opportunity cost involved.

Other critical options are taboo, in particular when it comes to rationalizing the relations between Lebanon and Syria on solid ground, or when striving to optimize governance under a communitarian system.

A non-profit organization, the Foundation is a “société civile”, registered in Lebanon and authorized by

the relevant authorities.

The Foundation is forging institutional partnerships with world class quality reference institutes (in France, the UK and the USA as of today).

 

The objective of these partnerships is to benefit from a transfer of skills, but also from access to a well- established network.

 

In turn, the partner will be able to strengthen its positioning on themes of interest to it in the Middle East.

The Foundation strives to diversify its funding sources, none of which should represent more than 33% of its overall budget.

 

Donors are institutional, private or public

Contributions will be in the form of support to the Foundation, or funding for studies and projects, or core funding.

 

The possibility of setting up an endowment fund will be investigated to guarantee the financial autonomy of the Foundation over time.

The Citizen Foundation is a platform for strategic thinking and influence. It is a high-quality reference in the production of public policy options, as well as studies and analyses focusing on Arab countries, and also on middle-eastern relations with the world. The Citizen Foundation is also proactive in managing the debate on those various options. Combining the functions of a “think tank” and a “do  tank”,the Foundation deals with subjects upstream with the parties concerned, then proposes clear and structuring choices in the short, medium and long terms, to finally create and organize the debate downstream.It is always mindful of bringing the youth into the process. Established in Lebanon and intended to support the challenges in this country, its action covers the Arab world, and extends to relations with Europe and its institutions. The Citizen Foundation offers optimal public policy choices, makes them explicit to the driving forces in one country, gathers support around them, and then pushes toward their implementation

A Foundation for the re-founding of Lebanon whose vocation is to think about the overhaul of the State and its public policies. In particular, it provides a set of policy options and will act as an enabler in various areas that are of high importance to stabilize the country, put it on a sustainable development path, and facilitate and accelerate its recovery. The Foundation is engaged in a permanent dialogue with the various parties involved on the Lebanese scene, be they local, civil society, or international, bilateral or multilateral. It relies on a wide network of high-quality collaborators, and ensures the monitoring and lobbying necessary to promote the choices resulting from its work. It also relies locally on quality staff who have extensive experience in Lebanese institutions and hands-on management. Supported by high-level non-partisan figures, well-recognized for their independent minds and impressive international expertise, the Foundation ensures its autonomy through diversified sources of funding. The Foundation seeks to propose options and ideas, and to disseminate them in a logic of influence, and to accompany the process until targets are met. A network of driving forces for change is being constituted, bringing together intellectuals, private players, associations, youth, universities, and others. The Citizen Foundation chooses its topics based on their transformative nature. The main focus of the Foundation is Lebanon, with right on target subjects, but it also provides expertise to Arab countries, especially when the same topics addressed for Lebanon are of relevance to others. The Foundation is also providing a southern look at policies promoted by the northern part of the Mediterranean.

The logo has been created after a thorough type analysis that focused on the letter “C” (citizen)

  • Edges have been rounded in order to emulate inclusivity and tolerance, 2 important aspects that our current society doesn’t really value as it should.
  • We decided to flip it and reflect it to show transparency in proactivity and create the spearhead shape to represent a powerful thrust that can’t be stopped. The arrow is pointed downwards in an effort to highlight and pin point with accuracy the errors and swiftly “attack and intervene” to solve them as a consolidated entity carrying an entire squad of people, real people, that truly and deeply want to create a change.

 

Edges have been rounded in order to emulate inclusivity and tolerance,
2 important aspects that our current society doesn’t really value as it should.
We decided to flip it and reflect it to show transparency in proactivity and create
the spearhead shape to represent a powerful thrust that can’t be stopped. The arrow
is pointed downwards in an effort to highlight and pin point with accuracy the errors
and swiftly “attack and intervene” to solve them as a consolidated entity carrying an
entire squad of people, real people, that truly and deeply want to create a change.

Priority themes

Priority themes cover adjustment policies, providing the country (and/or the region) with long-term goals for sustainable welfare. There will be a dual focus on macro and sectors, since both are central legs of a reform agenda. On the macro, how to fix the state is important, as well as major options such as bank restructuring, sustainable development and civil rights. Also, inclusive growth opens studies on business climate, SMEs, new industries and green industries.

Other studies will focus on short and medium-term infrastructure and sectoral issues. Many topics are identified (see below) and are subject to strategic and operational validation. Some items are related to the expected reinitiating of the sectoral and infrastructure agenda supported by international financing, and in all cases, topics are selected to highlight credible alternatives to unsuccessful public policies and poor governance.

The Foundation complements its research and studies with wide awareness campaigns to mobilize citizens’ and organized groups’ support on the relevant topics. Building support through networking with the civil society, youth movements and other organizations will always be key.

 

Wide Spectrum

Short to medium term objectives

Type of production

One or two in-depth studies on the chosen theme which will result in the regular publication of concise notes outlining the diagnostic, the issues and possible solutions in the meantime.

In parallel, short and well-focused sectoral or system-improving studies will be issued in line with the context of the moment.

Formats suitable for social media will be produced. Podcasts and media will also be used.

Alain Bifani

founding president of the Foundation

Lydia Assouad

PhD, Paris School of Economics- Visiting Student at UC Berkeley

Michel Bauer

Director, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Kristin Fabbe

Associate professor, Harvard Business School

Ishac Diwan

PhD Economics, World Bank, Normal Sup, Harvard

Sylvain de Forges

Directeur Veolia Environnement, directeur général de l’Agence France Trésor

Ibrahim Warde

Scholar international finance. Professor of International Business at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Its role is to implement the Foundation’s missions, namely the definition of public policy recommendations and their dissemination. It will also have to ensure the administrative management of the Foundation. The recruitment of the director is carried out by the president and approved by the General Assembly. The Foundation will rely on a small dynamic team and a solid network of renowned collaborators. It will offer internships to university students interested in research. And given the critical role of the financial sector in Lebanon, the Foundation will eventually integrate a permanent financial team. It will also analyze the macro situation on a recurring basis.

The governance of the Foundation reflects its objective of serving as a credible, long-term public policy tool. Needless to say, the Citizen Foundation applies the best practices and transparency standards. Governance is structured around five functions:

President

The president represents the Citizen Foundation and defines its image, strategy and funding. He / she is the spokesperson for the Foundation with third parties, whether it is general public communication or lobbying. Her / his term of office is three years, renewal or replacement carried out by vote of the General Assembly. Alain Bifani is the present president of the Citizen Foundation.

General Assembly

It is composed of all associate members of the Foundation. It elects the President, makes suggestions, approves the financial accounts and has the power of changing the statutes of the Foundation. The General Assembly’s members are presently Riad Solh, Toni Haddad and Alain Bifani.

Strategic orientation board

Its role is to define the main orientations and suggest avenues for the work stream. The strategic council must bring its expertise on given themes. It is made of 7 members, including the representatives of the main contributors, for a renewable two-year term. (See the members below). Its recruitment is carried out by the president.

Advisory board

Its role is to provide its expertise on the orientations of the Foundation and on the given themes. It advises the president and proposes themes to the strategic orientation board. Its members also help promote the public policy choices adopted by the Foundation. It is made up of 5 to 7 members, for a renewable period of three years. Its recruitment is carried out by the president after consultation with the strategic orientation board.

Executive team

Its role is to implement the Foundation's missions, namely the definition of public policy recommendations and their dissemination. It will also have to ensure the administrative management of the Foundation. The recruitment of the director is carried out by the president and approved by General Assembly. The Foundation is based on a small dynamic team and a solid network of renowned collaborators. It will also develop young potential by providing internships to university students interested in research.