The University established a center for research, studies, and documentation within the framework of a University research policy that aimed at developing the role of scientific research in the treatment of social, economic, political, educational, ethnical, and human rights issues in society and, further, at activating the contribution of spiritual and civil institutions in this treatment.
Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) is establishing a center for research and studies and documentation in the framework of a university research policy that aims at developing the role of scientific research in the treatment of social, economic, political, educational, ethical and human issues in society and, further, at activating the contribution of spiritual and civil institutions in this treatment.
Foundations and Basis
In its quest to establish this Center, NDU relies on its research experience in the field of the specializations it offers in general, and in the fields of general public interest in particular. The University acquired its experience in the latter through the research and dialogue program it launched ten years ago under the heading: General Public Interest, Needs, Research and Expectations. The University has persevered in its aim and is pursuing the implementation of this program with vigor.
In addition to the researches that have been carried out, the program has included seminars and conferences that discussed the results of the studies and drew up practical procedures that aim at boosting the process of development and ensuring the establishment of a right democratic path that will encourage general public participation.
This plan has actually opened new fields for the development of scientific and practical research and for the promotion of cooperation between academic researchers and decision-makers in the political, economical, social, health, and educational sectors. This cooperation has been embodied in a dialogue over experiences and experiments in the concerned fields, the researches conducted on them, and the suggested strategies and processes for future development and change.
Furthermore, NDU has worked on promoting the relations between the methodology of research and the need for dialogue to draw attention to public matters such as traffic, water, electricity, telecommunication, etc… NDU has also been aware of the need for developing an infrastructure for education, work, city, health and technological changes. There has been particular attention given to their repercussions on Lebanon and the relation between specializations and professions.
In our focus on this path we aspire to building an interconnected approach for treating any subject related to individuals and groups in their public life inside their community. Hence, it will be possible to integrate infrastructure, construction, social, economic and educational policies in the framework of a unified work plan for the treatment of public problems at all levels wherever they arise.
Objectives and Methodology
- Establishing research and documentation that give access to basic data on economic, social, political, educational, ethical, and spiritual topics in the Lebanese and neighboring societies and allow those concerned to follow up on their development throughout time. The lines of research deal on the one hand with the factors affecting the aforementioned fields and on the other hand with how members of the general public perceive them. There is a focus on choosing subjects of research and the appropriate means of treating them with a view to reinforcing the mechanisms of dialogue and participation in the fields of citizenship, democracy, human rights, and human relations built on the acceptance of “the other” and to strengthening dialogue between cultures, civilizations and religions.
- Establishing a data bank to store all the data, indicators, and evidence, classifying them according to the needs of research and distributing them.
- Proposing projects in the social, economic and educational fields and evaluating them. The conditions of benefiting from the services of this bank and the required procedures for this are to be defined.
- Establishing a research network that includes academic researchers responsible for advancing scientific research, and civil and spiritual development.
- Developing methodologies of research and documentation in order to promote dialogue and the acceptance of “the other”.
- Drafting a yearly plan for the dissemination of information and the organization of dialogues and discussions based on this information.
Services of the Center
- Studies that rely on statistics and facts in different national and spiritual fields and that establish strategic approaches for treatment and practical suggestions for implementation.
- Studies requested by the different institutions’ of the Church on specific subjects, taking into consideration the factors of time and potentials. Through them the center seeks to provide these bodies with concrete information and some insight into the future.
- Studies on subjects and projects of laws imposed by the political situation either through the legislative, executive and judicial authorities or through researches and presentations or institutions.
- Various studies on different subjects related to infrastructure form basic research subjects.
- Studies on subjects that will make headlines in the near future: peace, technology, globalization, democracy, state and decentralization, human rights, and the dialogue of civilizations.
Work Methodology of the Center
The Center adopts a compound work methodology to perform the tasks that it undertakes. These methodological frameworks can be classified as follows:
- Methodology of documentation and interconnection of information inside different sections and chapters. This methodology adopts a developed technological framework in order to provide the required consultations mechanically and to cater to the greatest number of requests.
- Methodology of field researches through the adoption of quantitative and qualitative techniques that help complete the required data and evaluate them continuously every time an urgent social or economical issue arises.
- Methodology of teamwork based on the variety of competencies, which helps the development of scientific dialogue and critical thinking.
- Methodology of communication between the various parties concerned in all subjects and between them and researchers, in order to develop fields of knowledge and to establish programs for publication and dissemination.
- Methodology of listening and communicating with the general public and with officials in the various fields of interest of the Center.
Cooperation with Research Centers
- With universities having common interests,
- With media establishments,
- With peer centers,
- With government agencies,
- With economic institutions, especially banks (among them the Bank of Lebanon).
- This cooperation can go outside Lebanon to extend to its Arab and international environment.
- This cooperation can take up several forms (exchange, coordination, marketing, etc…), depending on the size of the Center.
- This cooperation can highlight the necessity of using advanced technological equipment in the studies and the means of cooperation.
The Work Plan of the Center in its First Phase
During the first year of its establishment the Center strengthened the research and dialogue for studies and applications that it will be conducting for the development of NDU in the intellectual and institutional change taking place in Lebanon and the Arab region. Accordingly, during the coming years, the Center will undertake research-based practical steps:
- Conducting a study on decentralization and coexistence in Lebanon on the geographical, social, economical, political and educational levels; and suggesting an administrative structure for the local societies in order to support decentralization.
- Drafting summaries of all research, studies and dialogues conducted by NDU during the past ten years and reinforcing them with explanations and analysis and publishing them in a book that serves for an academic and educational dialogue at the university level.
- Organizing two international conferences to promote the activity of the Center based on the research experience of the university in the fields of general public interest. The first conference is to be on State democracy in the Light of the Threat of Civil Dictatorship. The second conference is to be on The Peace and War of Religions in a Time of Need for Human Communication and of Fear for Identity.