The Exchange is an effort by Mideastwire.com and its partners to promote professional and academic enrichment through a variety of small group, direct engagement conferences in the Middle East and North Africa.
During their stay, typically lasting five days to one week, participants from around the world listen to and question leading intellectuals, activists and politicians representing an array of different points of view in a specific country.
The first Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, nine years on, more than 600 people from 51 different countries have attended 35 different Exchanges in the region.
Crucially, all of our programs are funded on the basis of fees paid by the participants themselves: There is no government, private or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.
The January 2017 Tunis Exchange was an intense introduction to Tunisian politics and economics. The program was thoughtful and balanced; the number, breadth and quality of speakers was remarkable. The Exchange featured not just analysts of events in Tunisia but participants from across the political spectrum. Speakers were frank and engaging, a great measure of their trust in the organisers. In 20 years of working on the Middle East I cannot think of a better conference, workshop or exchange that I have participated in. I would recommend it to new students of the region as well as old hands. – Anthony Bubalo Tunis ’17, ABubalo@lowyinstitute.org
The January 2017 Beirut Exchange was one of the most exciting, dizzying, and insightful weeks of my professional career. It packs 7 full days of presentations, discussions, and Q&A opportunities with a diverse array of Lebanon’s leaders, experts, and professionals. Really, a wonderful introduction to Lebanon’s current political context. – Elizabeth Kirk, Beirut ’17, firstname.lastname@example.org
There could not exist a more thorough and intensive immersion into Lebanese history and politics than the exchange facilitated by Mideastwire. Incredibly knowledgeable and passionate program leaders and a fantastic cohort of fellow students, made for a truly unique and unforgettable two week exposure to the country’s current state and main political actors. I could not be more grateful for all that I learned! – Nathan Wexler, Beirut Jan ‘15, email@example.com
The Exchange has been an amazing educational experience. It has offered me the opportunity to meet various academic and political figures as well as other experts on Lebanon and the region. Furthermore, it provided information and opinions on Lebanese politics from the whole spectrum of the political scene, which enriched my knowledge of the region and its local dynamics. But most importantly, by the end of the exchange, I had a lot of food for thought and possible directions for my research as well as for my future studies on a PHD level. I am definitely applying for the next exchange.— Zakia Aqra, Beirut Jan ’15, firstname.lastname@example.org
This was an insightful and thought provoking exchange in the midst of various challenges in Lebanon. – Jan Wilkens, Beirut ‘14, Jan.Wilkens@wiso.uni-hamburg.de
Given the current instability in Lebanon and the Middle East, the Beirut Exchange contained an impressive array of intellectuals, officials, and practitioners from across the spectrum. With years of on-the-ground experience and different points of view, these individuals provided an in-depth and comprehensive picture of an extremely complex and constantly changing political landscape. The local access and knowledge the Exchange offered would have been difficult, if not impossible, to attain through independent research. The level of organization and professionalism was equally impressive. – Eric Lob, Beirut ‘14, email@example.com
A well-oiled program that brings you an impressive number and selection of speakers from across the spectrum. Worth every penny! – Oliva Holt-Ivry, Tunis June ‘14, firstname.lastname@example.org
Illuminating and life changing experience. I will recall the Exchange as one of the most authentic educational experiences of my life. – Sahar Rizvi, Tunis ‘13, email@example.com
Every aspiring journalist should attend the Beirut Exchange. I have learned more in my 10 days at the Beirut Exchange than in any university course! This trip is a wonderful experience filled with fascinating speakers and very worthy peers. I am so grateful to the Mideastwire for arranging everything. – Nicole Sganga, Beirut Jan ’15, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mideastwire.com is an Internet-based news service that employs a team of translators around the region to gather important stories about the Middle East. Established in Beirut, Lebanon in June 2005, we cover news from all 22 Arab countries, Iran, and the Arab media diaspora generally. Thus our reach extends across North Africa, the United Kingdom and other countries that host Pan-Arab media.