In the contemporary era, civil society has become an essential component for addressing the political liberalization and democratization of Middle Eastern regimes. This study concentrates on civil society in Lebanon, a small democratic nation in the Levant. Lebanon's government is a consociational system characterized by dysfunctional power-sharing among sectarian parties. Comprehending the factors in Lebanon that influence civil society's ability to function and serve its purpose is essential. This understanding can assist in gaining insights into how civil society activists in the Middle East may mobilize to contribute to purposeful political and social evolutions.

This exploratory study seeks to gain a better understanding of how Lebanese civil society functions and the factors that contribute to its capacity (or incapacity) to resolve societal challenges in the context of the Lebanese state's frailty. This study seeks to analyze the impact of multiple contemporary stressors on the fragile state infrastructure, namely the over a decade-long hosting of Syrian refugees and the country's recent political and economic collapse. It also aims to examine how these particular challenges have affected the function of civil society, as well as the intricate dynamics between various organizations at the national and international levels.

The gathered evidence supports the conclusion that civil society organizations (CSOs) in Lebanon struggle to navigate a landscape characterized by multiple crises and a faltering public sector. As local CSOs devote a significant portion of their attention to humanitarian aid and external funding, their interactions with international NGOs and Syrian refugee populations contends with complex challenges. Ultimately, this reality has revealed the diminished capacity of CSOs to contribute to meaningful and lasting change in the country.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Tezcur, Gunes Murat


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences


Politics, Security, And International Affairs

Degree Program

International and Global Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date