NIRAS has successfully finalised project supporting academic cooperation and dialogue between Denmark and the Middle East and North Africa region.
The large scale democratic transitions that were anticipated by many at the height of the revolutions in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region during the ‘Arab Spring’ largely failed to materialize.
However, academics and independent research centers played an important role in making research available to democracy actors.
Thus the Fund for Academic Cooperation and Exchange between Denmark and the Arab World (FACE) was set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark in the period from June 2015 to December 2017 as a pilot initiative.
FACE was to support and build capacity of independent Arab academia.
The objectives of FACE was i) to promote critical and independent academia that supports reform and democratisation processes; and ii) to contribute to dialogue and cooperation between Danish and Arab academia.
NIRAS and University of Copenhagen successfully set up and managed all aspects of the FACE secretariat and administered a fund of DKK 11m for academic partnership projects in the MENA region.
FACE has supported 13 projects. The projects funded have constituted a highly diverse portfolio within human rights, and good governance, gender equality, knowledge-based societies and economic growth and job creation.
Examples of project results include: