This comes to you from our offices in Beirut, Lebanon, in the vortex of many crises: political, financial and health. Like all organizations, this has affected our events: due to the coronavirus, we have regretfully postponed our biennial Research Forum, which was going to be held in Tunis from 1-4 April 2020, as well as a number of workshops that were going to be held in conjunction with the Research Forum. We hope to be able to organize the Forum in late summer/early fall 2020. Other smaller events and meetings have also been postponed. The banking crisis in Lebanon has meant that over the past months our payments to grantees and fellows have been delayed and this of course concerns us deeply and we thank them for their patience and understanding while we work on solutions.
We, in the region, are adept at managing political and economic crises. The ACSS will find solutions to managing its regional and global work while still enjoying the advantages of its location in Beirut – not least of which is the freedom of speech. The pandemic is a new type of challenge, with many unknowns. However, the Board of Trustees and the staff will do our best to continue serving our mission and responding to the needs of the research communities of the region.
Seteney Shami – Director General