Policy and Time (Lebanon)

The interaction of practical times of humanitarian, disaster relief and refugee policy with long memories of conflict and displacement in Lebanon

Research Overview

The Lebanon case “Policy and Time” of the Rights for Time Project explores how historical legacies, accumulated practices, and recurrent policy cycles have informed the crafting of Lebanon’s politics of reception towards refugees, the international politics of humanitarian funding in the small polity as well as the multi-level governance of Lebanon’s cumulative and cyclical “crises”. The case analysis aims to understand how policy-making cycles interact with broader social and cultural settings, and how such policies are constructed along a continuum of perceptions and communal imaginaries that accumulated over time. 


Lebanon is a unique and valuable case for analysis of how historical dynamics continually re-emerge, interact, and affect contemporary policies and decisions. Therefore, Policy and Time pays specific attention to policy-making cycles, conflict phases and developments in Lebanon in light of the codification of country politics and governance before and during its independence; various periods of internal upheaval, transformation, and conflict; and external events and impacts on the country from regional and global sources. 

Objectives, Methods, and Impacts

The objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Retrace the history and temporalities of displacement in Lebanon as a case study with broader insights for humanitarian governance
  • Understand how the practical times of humanitarian, peacebuilding, disaster relief, and refugee policy interact with the long memories of displacement across generations and geographies
  • Draw on case studies as “tunnels”, time capsules or exploratory tools for understanding the nexus between time and policy
  • Link temporalities to existing protection challenges 
  • Understand the alignment or lack thereof of policymaking cycles with Lebanon’s cumulative crises since 2019.
  • Test the concept of an interdisciplinary temporal lens and developing interdisciplinary peer-to-peer protocols (policy, poetics, and law)


The project’s methodology takes a multidisciplinary lens juxtaposing politics, law and poetics of refugee and conflict temporalities that allows for an interrogation of temporal commitments of politics, of law, of outsiders, and of calls to ‘action,’ as well as of a modus operandi of the “crisis governance” perspective. The project is also collecting data through focus groups, interviews, archival research and participant observation.

The anticipated impact of this case study is to inform multiple stakeholders as to why externally sponsored policy templates often clash with local realities, and explain how engaging with context-based temporalities can inform the adoption of policy solutions that are more attuned to realities. 

Outputs and Target Groups

The project will produce the following outputs: 

  • Episodic peer to peer protocols         
  • Conceptual and empirical memos and reports on the nexus between temporalities and policy-making 
  • Reflection notes on how to capture policy narratives across linear and non-linear time
  • Hiring of research fellows
  • Peer-reviewed articles
  • Conference presentations and webinars


The output of the project aims to target the general public, humanitarian organizations, academics, practitioners, policy makers, students, journalists, and media experts

Tangled Crises and Temporalities: The 1958 Crisis in Lebanon
Case Partners and Team Members

The “Policy and Time” case on Lebanon is undertaken with the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) in Beirut, Lebanon. The CLS is an independent academic institution that undertakes impartial and balanced research in the Social Sciences focused on education, refugee rights, social movements, and disability advocacy. 

The case is led by Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury, Associate Professor of Political Science at Aalborg University in its Copenhagen Campus in Denmark, visiting Professor at Sciences Po in Paris, and Co-Investigator with the Rights4Time network.

The Lebanon case is supported by:

Lebanon fellow - Stella Peisch

Stella Peisch is a PhD candidate in the International History and Politics department at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID). Her research focuses on the intersections of violence, conflict, memory, history, and narratives in the Middle East. 

Lebanon fellow - Maria Maalouf

Maria Maalouf is a Researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies with a master’s degree in strategic research from the Lebanese University. Her research focuses on the legal and practical framework of the UNHCR within the framework of the Lebanese sovereignty, migration and displacement, and social movement areas.