About /  Mission and History
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Mission
A research, analysis and dialogue institution, “Maison du Futur” (MDF) explores viable alternative futures for the Middle East and Arab world, including Lebanon.  Founded in 1975 and now embarking on a re-launch, MDF has been called “one of the most venerable think tanks in the Middle East.”

“Maison du Futur”  recognizes the urgent need for conflict management in today’s turbulent Middle East. At the same time, MDF’s perspective transcends current crises by identifying the requirements of a stable postwar regional order and addressing essential priorities through its flagship initiative, the Arab Marshall Plan.

MDF’s Arab Marshall Plan aims at providing a platform for the forces of moderation in their struggle against extremism and formulating near- and mid-term strategies for sustainable economic development legitimate government, religious pluralism, and minority rights.

Inspired by the international thought of visionary statesmen and women of the East and West, “Maison du Futur”’s work is guided by five key principles:

• Creating partnership and encouraging leadership through dialogue;
• Engaging a range of stakeholders;
• Blending skills & experience between regional and international partnerships;
• Disseminating innovative ideas & plans to make a difference;
• Continuously monitoring the process of its initiatives;

History
Founding:
Embodying a visionary concept developed by its founder and Director President Amine Gemayel, "Maison du Futur" (MDF) was launched in 1975 with the mandate of enhancing the scholarly and cultural life of Lebanon, the Arab world, and the broader Middle East.  At its peak, MDF comprised several key initiatives, most of which are described below. 

Institute for Strategic Studies for Peace:
The Institute for Strategic Studies for Peace (ISSP) produced advanced geopolitical, economic and cultural studies, focused on the national, regional, and international levels.  After Amine Gemayel was elected President of Lebanon in 1982, ISSP was tasked with furnishing his administration with strategic advice and programmatic guidance to help the government implementing its national and international agendas.
 
Center for Documentation and Research:
The Center for Documentation and Research (CEDRE) established in 1975 was a truly groundbreaking enterprise: the first computerized documentation/research hub established in the Middle East. CEDRE created a steady stream of electronic records derived from newspapers and periodicals, all accessible in a keyword-searchable format.  These records were "raw materials" for objective and scientific studies of Middle Eastern affairs. 

Data Bank:
CEDRE's Data Bank has utilized the latest in computer technology to document and track daily events and strategic trends across the Arab world and Middle East.  The procedures and techniques developed by the Data Bank—including trilingual
(Arabic-English-French) keyword search routines—were later utilized by a major global event-data project at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.
 
Research Library:
CEDRE featured a state of the art Research Library specializing in Middle Eastern topics which included extensive materials on microfilm. The library held a wide-ranging collection of historic and contemporary Arabic newspapers, especially Lebanese dailies. 
 
Publishing House:
"Maison du Futur" maintained an active publishing house for the production and circulation of quality books, monographs, and journals in Arabic, English, and French.  One of MDF's premier titles was Halyatt ("Panorama of Events"), a quarterly compilation of official documents and media reports drawn from sources across the Middle East with cross referencing.
 
Cultural Center:
No portrait of the original "Maison du Futur" would be complete without appreciating its status as a leading cultural center dedicated to enriching the literary and artistic life of Beirut, one of the world's great cosmopolitan cities.  In this capacity, MDF organized and hosted a lively calendar of musical concerts, photo galleries, and artistic exhibitions; in the context of dialogue of cultures, it also awarded an annual prize to a young artist of distinction. 

Foreign Intervention and Civil War:
During the difficult era of foreign intervention and civil war in Lebanon, "Maison du Futur" attempted to provide a haven for the kind of intellectual and cultural pursuits and exchanges that can bridge divides between contending communities.  Unfortunately, MDF itself fell victim to armed strife when its facilities, assets, and headquarters were demolished during the later stages of the Lebanese civil war. 
From the 1990s until recently, "Maison du Futur" experienced an interval of semi-dormancy forced upon it by successive blows of war, foreign occupation, and outside interference in Lebanon's internal affairs. 

Structure
The "Maison du Futur"'s vision to become an intellectual hub for the conception and discussion of a new Middle East has proven its value in light of the tragic events that continue to afflict the region.

The comprehensive coverage suggested through the identification of key themes that ought to be treated as priorities in the region (education, governance, economic viability, health and the environment, religion and politics) will remain the natural course to seek for the development of "Maison du Futur".

"Maison du Futur" on inception will initiate three topical "centers" to distinguish from sister institutions and to build upon existing strengths and connections in order to deliver unique products and perspectives.

The "Maison du Futur" centers herein are:

Center for the Arab Marshall Plan مركز مشروع مارشال العربي
Focusing on exploring and promoting the feasibility of a Marshall plan like effort in the region at its highest conceptual level, through the identification and study of initiatives towards such goal.

Center for International Dialogue مركز الحوار الدولي
Focusing on encouraging and maintaining communication and understanding between cultures religions, various political and social systems at a time of increasing polarization and focusing on developing a permanent dialogue between various minorities.

Center for the Study of International Interventions مركز دراسات التدخلات الدولية

Focusing on analyzing and assessing previous international interventions in local and regional conflicts to draw lessons applicable to current crises. This center would be the first of its kind and may attract academic and policy interest
from the region and beyond in association with international recognized universities centers both on the east and the west.

• Links to MDF in the 1980s
 

Re-launching MDF
  
Now undergoing a major re-launch, the president, staff, and associates of MDF invite you to explore this website in all its dimensions and to contribute to our initiatives in ways and by means you find meaningful.

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Le Serail, Bickfaya
Lebanon

T/F.   +961 4 984331
M. +961 71778796
E. info@maisondufutur.org