Harvard University -A.U.B. Collaboration

In 1992 the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the American University of Beirut began a joint research program in the area of administrative reform in the Lebanese public sector. This program was underwritten by a grant from Mr. Rafik B. Hariri through the Hariri Foundation, Washington DC.

In the first year of the collaborative program, 1992/93, two research focuses emerged: (1) Strategies and Priorities of Administrative Reform, and (2) Public Autonomous Agencies. The research resulted in a seminar held in Beirut in April 1992 and attended by the top officials of most public autonomous agencies, senior officials of the main tutelage agencies, and interested faculty members from A.U.B. The research also resulted in a draft law on the re-organization of public autonomous agencies being submitted to parliament in December 1993.

In the second year of the collaborative program, 1993/94, research and activities focussed on reviving and strengthening the central control and management agencies of Lebanon: the Civil Service Council, the Central Inspection Board, the Bureau of Accounts, and the Ministry of Finance.

This joint collaborative program was considered to be an essential counterpart to the project on Civil Service Training which was financed by a substantial grant from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Kuwait Fund, and the OPEC Fund. The A.U.B./Harvard research program identified priority training needs which the project on Civil Service Training then addressed  through specific training modules.

A primary benefit of the A.U.B./Harvard collaborative program derived from involving key figures in administrative reform efforts as members of the research team. Their involvement increased the likelihood that important ideas and results generated by the research on administrative reform would become part of the reform policies adopted by the government.

Finally, it is worthy to note that the Hariri Foundation’s involvement in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard led to the establishment in May 1991 of an endowed chair at the school to be known as “The Rafiq Hariri Professorship of International Political Economy.” In the words of Harvard University President Derek Bok, this chair “will create a living and perpetual tradition of scholarship to commemorate Rafiq Hariri’s commitment to enlightening the minds of future world leaders.”

In a similar manner the A.U.B./Harvard Collaborative Program in Administrative Reform in the Lebanese Public Sector sought to enlighten the minds of current and future leaders of Lebanese public agencies and governmental bureaus.