Skip to main content


The Arab Institute for Women (AiW), formerly known as the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW), operates under the auspices of the Lebanese American University (LAU). The Institute was established in 1973 to pay tribute to LAU’s history as a school for girls and to honor its legacy of women's education. At that time, it was the first academic institute globally to focus exclusively on women.

The Institute focuses on advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality through education, research, development programs, and outreach at the national, regional, and international levels at the intersection of academia and activism.

The Institute establishes and supports gender-focused undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programming. This includes a Minor in Gender Studies, a Masters’ in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies and a continuing education certificate in Gender in Development and Humanitarian Assistance.

AiW conducts research on gender issues across the Arab world and hosts visiting researchers. The bi-annual journal Al-Raida (The Pioneer) is AiW’s signature product – in publication since 1976 and available online. Country Gender Profiles are available for the 22 Arab countries, and the Occasional Paper Series covers a range of contemporary gender issues.

AiW conducts community-based development work, for instance through Qudwa, a non-formal training package which provides life-skills training for vulnerable women. The Institute also organizes conferences and learning events to promote gender issues on a variety of themes and to encourage activism around campaigns for equality and women’s rights. AiW’s animated song on gender equality – In My Hand - engages youth and sets a precedent for the region.

AiW engages the LAU community in its work to enhance a university culture committed to gender equality through initiatives such as the monthly speaking series Food 4 Thought and efforts to ensure gender equality on campus through university policies and practices.



Executive Director: Lina Abirafeh
Director: Myriam Sfeir Murad
Lead Gender Development Projects Coordinator: Carol Khater
Gender Integration Specialist: Moufeeda Haidar

Last modified: 04/26/2019

Share this: