Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS)

RED NOSES International


Primary contact: Seteney Shami, Director General


Phone: +9611370214

Additional contact: Vera Zeidan, Senior Assistant to the Director General


Organization email:

Type: Nonprofit organization
Focus Region/Countries: Arab region/MENA/SWANA, Africa, Latin America, InterAsia
Sector: Education


The Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS) is a regional, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening social science research and knowledge production in the Arab region. By supporting researchers and academic/research institutions, the ACSS aims to contribute to the creation, dissemination, validation and utilization of social science research and to enrich public debate about the challenges facing Arab societies. The ACSS also aims to enhance the role of social science in Arab public life and inform public policy in the region.


Specifically, the ACSS objectives include:

  • Identifying and addressing the needs of social scientists and social science communities in the Arab countries
  • Enhancing social science capacities of individual researchers, as well as academic and research institutions
  • Encouraging the production of independent, high-quality research
  • Providing forums for exchange and communication among social scientists in the Arab region
  • Articulating and supporting the role of the social sciences in promoting the public interest
  • Promoting and supporting the principles of independent thought, critical thinking, and the academic/intellectual freedom of researchers and scholars in the Arab region
  • Supporting effective networks among research, academic, policy, and practitioners’ communities as well as with the public and the media
  • Supporting the publication and wide dissemination of high-quality social science research in the Arab region.


In meeting these objectives and operationalizing them, four main principles will guide the ACSS:

– The ACSS will work towards promoting excellence in social science research in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields.
– Capacity building will be integral to every aspect of the work of the ACSS.
– The ACSS will employ a variety of mechanisms such as peer review and selection committees to ensure quality of publications and allocation of research funds and other resources.
– Quality of teaching and training will also be central to the concerns of the ACSS.


– The ACSS will employ a broad definition of the social sciences including the following:

  • The core social sciences such as anthropology, demography, economics, political science, history, psychology and sociology.
  • Allied disciplines such as art, architecture, geography, law, literature, philosophy and public health.
  • Interdisciplinary fields such as gender studies, cultural studies and urban studies

– The ACSS will work to strengthen links between Arab scholars within the region and in the Diaspora.
– The ACSS will especially work on targeting and engaging the next generation of researchers.
– In many of its activities, the ACSS will work in partnership with other social science entities such as disciplinary associations, universities, NGOs, and GOs.
– The ACSS will be working regionally but also cross-regionally (south-south) and globally.
– The work of the ACSS will be multi-lingual. Arabic, English, and French will be the main working languages and other languages will be used as appropriate to particular projects.

– The ACSS is a hybrid institution that brings together organizational and programmatic features research organizations, academic associations, training institutes and think tanks.
– The ACSS will have a small secretariat and administrative staff. It will be network-based and work through committees and partnerships thus mobilizing the talent and efforts of large numbers of social scientists.
– The ACSS will be responsive and accountable to its membership and General Assembly. Committees, research networks and working groups will also be formed by decisions of the Board of Trustees, the advisory committees and the secretariat.
– Through the multiplicity of its modalities and consultative processes, the ACSS will be able to respond quickly to new ideas, changing needs and research priorities.

– The ACSS will be an autonomous NGO – free from governmental interference and from funding that imposes restrictions on the freedom of expression.
– The ACSS will develop mechanisms for supporting scholars at risk and for promoting academic freedom and the right to freely undertake research, as well as writing and dissemination in the social sciences.
– The ACSS will promote critical thinking and publishing while also providing channels for a constructive dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and public officials.


Research Grants Program, The Working Groups Program, New Paradigms Factory, Early Career Fellows Program, Small Grants Program, ACSS-FMSH Short-term Postdoctoral Mobility Fellowship Program in the Social Sciences and Humanities, AFAC-ACSS Research on the Arts Program, The Arab Oral History Archive: Gender, Alternative Histories, and the Production of Knowledge (GOHA), Critical Humanities Initiative, InterAsia


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