The Middle East in the Global Political Economy: The Case of Lebanon – student course

Beirut, Libanon

The course titled Lähi-itä globaalissa poliittisessa taloudessa: tapaus Libanon (The Middle East in the Global Political Economy: The Case of Lebanon) was led by Taavi Sundell and organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East (FIME) in collaboration with the University of Helsinki. The course was primarily designed for students of Middle East studies, global politics, and related fields.

In 2019, the Middle East was marked by protests against prevailing economic conditions. In Lebanon, dissatisfaction led to a nationwide uprising in October, challenging the country’s political and economic system that had been in place since the end of the civil war in 1990. Since then, Lebanon has plunged deeper into an economic crisis, which the World Bank has described as one of the most severe worldwide since 1850.

The course delved into various aspects of Lebanon’s political and economic system and used it as a lens to explore broader regional developments. It aimed to understand how, why, and with what consequences Lebanon and the Middle East have integrated into global economic structures. Topics covered in the course included international aid, the role of the diaspora, banks, and the central bank in Lebanon’s economy, natural resources, education, labor markets, and migration, as well as international and transnational forms of power and actors.

The students were introduced to the topic through local guest lecturers in Lebanon and field visits to research institutions and non-governmental organizations.

A total of 10 students from Finnish universities participated in the course.