“The best immersion course on a country in transition I’ve seen.”

— Professor Alfred Stepan, Tunis Exchange

“Their time-tested technique and tactful diplomacy enable them to achieve an environment conducive to attention, dialogue and reflection.”

— Jalel Harchaoui, Paris 8 University, Libya Exchange

The Exchange is an effort by the non-profit, 501 (C)3 Foundation for Global Political Exchange 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, twelve years on, more than 850 people from 51 different countries have attended 40 different Exchanges in the region.

Crucially, all funding for the Exchange comes from only two sources: The participants themselves who pay the participation fee or scholarship recipients who benefit from individual, charitable contributions designed specifically to broaden the social, political and geographic diversity of each Exchange table. As such, there is no government, commercial or non-profit support, an aspect that we believe provides a relatively neutral platform for dialogue and understanding.



*For a completed Beirut Ex Schedule click here

*For a completed Tunis Ex Schedule click here

*For a completed Erbil Ex schedule click here


*The Beirut Exchange Group on Facebook

*The Tunis Exchange Group on Facebook

*View Al-Mayadeen TV on The Exchange here

*View CNN on “Diplomacy in Action” here

*View Nicholas Noe on the 4th Yemen Exchange here




On every present-day conflict, academics and analysts always run the risk of losing touch with reality, the risk of drifting into an imaginary version of the real-life conflict. The “Exchange” format is the antidote against that. By placing emphasis on actors, as opposed to professional observers, Nicholas Noe and his colleagues have found the ideal balance. Their time-tested technique and tactful diplomacy enable them to achieve an environment conducive to attention, dialogue and reflection. Because of that authenticity, the “Libya Exchange” was the best, most productive Libya conference I have attended, by a far cry. – Jalel Harchaoui, Libya ’17, jmjalel_h@yahoo.com

I have attended the Beirut Exchange twice, in the summers of 2015 and 2017. Both times, it involved amazing and challenging meetings with people with various backgrounds and experiences in Lebanon, political inclinations and opinions, which made the Exchange a rich source of information in the study of Lebanon and the region, as well as an exciting platform where one gets to meet and engage with students and professionals of the country. I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting a better understanding the political and social challenges of Lebanon. – Helene Marie Abiraad, Beirut ’17, h.abiraad@brighton.ac.uk

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,   elizabethreneekirk@gmail.com

There could not exist a more thorough and intensive immersion into Lebanese history and politics than the exchange. 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 ‘15,  natwex@gmail.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 ’15,  zakia.aqra@gmail.com

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,  eric.lob@gmail.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 ‘14,  olivia.h.ivry@gmail.com

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,  sr51907@hotmail.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 The Exchange for arranging everything. – Nicole Sganga, Beirut ’15,  nsganga@nd.edu