The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies convened the Second Annual Conference on the Social Sciences and Humanities from March 30 to March 31. The 2013 Conference addressed two specific themes: "The Dialectic of Social Integration and the Building of Nation and State in the Arab Homeland" and the "Definition of Justice in the Arab Homeland today".

ACRPS General Director Dr. Azmi Bishara began the proceedings with a welcoming note in which he stressed the importance of continuity between this year and the previous year's event. He highlighted the importance of the meeting not only as a chance for detailed discussions of research findings and scholarship, but also as an opportunity for Arab academicians to connect. Dr. Bishara also stressed that this event would be held annually.

Following Dr. Bishara's welcome, Dr. Ahmad Baalbaki, from Lebanon, presented the first general lecture, titled "On Liberalism in Lebanon: Promoting the Integration of Individuals within the Confines of their Confessional Group," relating to one of the conference's main themes-social integration in the Arab Homeland. He spoke of a social cohesion within liberal societies. The first is a cohesion born out of a social integration that is imposed on migrants in continental European countries, while the second is seen as social assimilation in Anglo-Saxon countries, where the immigrants' social and cultural differences are tolerated. Baalbaki observes that many Arab migrants often  become more fundamentalist, while living in liberal, Western societies. He also discussed Lebanon's domestic situation, noting that  half of the country's university graduates were forced to migrate-making the case that it was the failure of trans-confessional social integration which led to the breakdown of the role of labor unions and professional syndicates.

Lebanon sects have been able to entrench themselves within their own institutions, pointing out that one-third of the country's school students are registered in parochial schools. According to Baalbaki's concluding remarks, the barriers to social integration in Lebanese society led to the reduced participation in political life, which has detrimentally affected labor rights.

The second lecture in the opening session was presented by Kuwait University's Dr. Fahmi Gedaan, who addressed the present-day Arab definition of justice-another major conference theme. Dr. Gedaan's lecture was titled "Justice within an Arab Deontology," which included the etymology of the Arabic word of justice, focusing on contemporary writers use of the words adl and adala interchangeably to mean "justice," though most historical Arabic literature  distinguish between the two. Accordingly, the word adl, traditionally carried more of a connotation of right and virtue as opposed to procedural justice. It was a word that had an important place in the long-standing traditions in the Islamic world. The problem, Gedaan feels, is that "unbridled" liberalism has ignored such variations on justice, but that attention to it by Arab scholars is necessary.

According to Gedaan, the theoretical conceptions of justice produced by various schools of thought are not exclusive to the West, but are part of a common human tradition. He did, however, suggest that it is quite simple to attempt projecting Western theories onto an Arab reality.

He maintained that utilitarianism, as a philosophical approach born in the West, holds promise in how it could be applied in Arab countries, though he acknowledges the need to distinguish between a utilitarianism based on the public good, and one that leads to excessive individualism and hedonism. In closing, Gedaan suggested that a universalist form of democracy could provide the key to what is a "just" or "virtuous" society, provided that there is justice, the value of work, and holistic economic development.

Read a full report on the conference procedings.

The conference program:

Day One: Saturday, 30 March, 2013





Lusail Hall

Opening Session

Chaired by: ACRPS Researcher Dr. Elnour Hamad

“On a Liberalism in Lebanon Strengthened by the Integration of Individuals within Sects”

Presented by Dr. Ahmad Baalbaki

“Justice within the Limits of an Arab Deontology”

Dr. Fahmi Gedaan


Theme: Social Integration

Lusail Hall

Theme: “What is Justice in the Arab Homeland Today?”

Almukhtasar Hall

Session One

10:00 12:00

Arab Society and Social Research

Session Chair: Dr. Asmaa Al Attiyah

Dr. Antoine Massara: “The Impacts of the Human Factor on Social Integration and on the Effectiveness of Social Research”

Dr. Baqer Al Najjar: “The Arab States between Failures of Construction and Obstacles to Integration”

Dr. Ali Abdul Rauf: “Social Integration between the Deadlock of Identity and the Trap of Globalization”

Dr. Walid Abdulhay: “A Model for the Measurement of Separatist Tendencies Amongst Minorities in the Arab Homeland”

Theoretical Background and Concepts

Session Chair: Dr. Ibrahim Al Issawi

Dr. Murad Dayyani: “The Roots of the Link between Economic Freedom and Social Equality in the Theory of Justice”

Dr. Said Bensaid Al Alawi: “Justice First: From an Awareness of Change to a Change of Awareness”

12:00-12:30 Coffee Break

12:30 14:30


The Arab Maghreb and Mechanisms for Social Integration

Session Chair: Dr. Abdulraheem Benhadda

Dr. Abdulhamid Haniyeh: “Constructing a Spatial State in the territories of Tunisia and the Western Arab Maghreb, together with the Mechanisms of Social Integration within them from the 17th to the 19th Centuries”

Dr. Mohammed Maleki: “Social Integration and the Construction of Citizenship-based Societies in the Greater Arab Maghreb”

Dr. Mohammad Humam: “Moroccan Art as a Catalyst of Social Integration: the Lyrics of the Nass El Ghiwane Musical Group”


Theoretical Background and Concepts

Session Chair: Dr. Antoine Saif

Dr. Mohammed Al Haddad: “The Dialectic of Justice and Freedom in Light of the Arab Revolutions”

Abdulaziz Labib: “The Ambiguities of Justice in Exceptional Cases”

Dr. Najma Habib: “Justice, Socialism and the Concept of Equality in Contemporary Arab Writing”


 Lunch Break


Lusail Hall

Opening Ceremony

Speech by Dr. Azmi Bishara on the Conference Themes: Justice and Social Integration

Address by His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al Thani, President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Dr. Kamal Abdullatif will present the Report of this year’s Committee for the Arab Prize on Social Sciences and Humanities


Lecture by

Legal Consultant Tareq El-Bishry: “On the Dynamics of the Formation of Political Groups”

Followed by a Dinner Banquet


Day Two: Sunday, 31 March, 2013

Theme: The Controversy of Social Integration

Lusail Hall

Theme: Justice in the Arab World Today

Almukhtasar Hall

09:00 11:00

Social Integration and Citizenship: The Case of Egypt

Session Chair: Dr. Thanaa Abdullah

Dr. Ali Chalabi: “Social Integration and Active Citizenship: Egypt following the January 25 Revolution”

Dr. May Mujeeb: “The Dialectics of the Social Integration of Copts in a post-Revolutionary Egypt”

Mr. Hassan Obeid: “The Role of Islamist Movements in the Process of Social Integration in Egypt from 2010 to 2012”

Transitional Justice

Session Chair: Dr. Farida Bannai

Dr. Kamal Abdullatif: “Transitional Justice and Political Transformations in Morocco”

Dr. Abdulhay Moden: “Transitional Justice and Authoritarianism”

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 13:30


The State in Social Integration in the Arab Levant

Session Chair: Dr. Darem Al Bassam

Dr. Abdulaziz Khazaaleh: “The Weakness of the States and Policies of Social Disintegration in Jordan”

Dr. Muhanad Mustafa: “Electoral Systems and their Impact on Social and Political Integration: The Cases of Egypt and Tunisia”

Mr. Nerouz Satik: “Sectarianism in the Syrian Revolution: Paths and Patterns”


Justice in Heritage

Session Chair: Dr. Hamdi Abdulrahman Hassan

Dr. Mohammad Jabroun: “Justice in Traditional Political Thought”

Dr. Ibrahim Butashish: “The Discourse of Justice in the Traditional Literature on Governance”

13:30-15:00 Lunch Break

15:00-16:00 Lusail Hall

Results of the Arab Opinion Index public opinion survey on questions related to citizenship and equality.

16:00 18:00

The State and Social Integration: Yemen and Mauritania

Session Chair: Dr. Abdullah Al Kindi

Dr. Adel Alsharjabi: “Construction of the State in Yemen: Unifying the Elite and Taking the Nation Apart”

Dr. Hamaho Allah Wald Al Salem: “The Crisis of the Nation-State and its Impact on Integration and Citizenship: the Case of Mauritania”

Mr. Hani Al Maghless: “The State and Social Integration in Yemen: Opportunities and Challenges”

Closing Session on Justice in the Arab World Today

Session Chair: Dr. Hanaa Al Jawhary

Dr. Mohsen Bouazizi: “Justice in the Eyes of the Prisoners: A Study into the Social Representations”

Dr. Bassem Serhan: “Inequality as a form of Injustice in the Context of a Process of Development”