Social Policy in the MENA Region Amid the Pandemic
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


First Annual Social Policy Research Forum Social Policy in the MENA Region Amid the Pandemic

  • 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
  • College of Public Policy
  • Webex Events

As the pandemic finds its exponential phase in the MENA region, it is clear that it will have profound social implications for the large majority of households, including children, youth, migrant workers, people with disabilities, older adults, women, and people exposed to gender-based violence. The consequences for the labor market and society are unforeseeable in their extent. The success of national governments in combating the pandemic and its economic and social consequences depends on political factors and national institutions. Welfare state institutions and social policies, which play a central role in ensuring social security and stabilizing the economy, in particular, face major challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic strongly influences the duties of welfare state organizations ensuring fast access to welfare payments and offering extensive measures of job security. The pandemic might also change the goals, the design, and implementation of social policies. Furthermore, it has consequences on public services. While most processes of counseling and assistance were conducted on a face-to-face basis, the pandemic will result in new ways of communication and collaboration enforcing a trend to more digitized public services. 

The pandemic presents a unique “test” of the MENA countries’ various institutional conditions and governance constraints. It presents an opportunity to explore institutional responses and coping mechanisms that might allow policy makers to improve service delivery. It also presents an opportunity for policy makers to examine which capacity deficits are truly structural and which might be overcome through a combination of technical assistance and political will.

The purpose of this webinar is to convene a group of scholars to discuss and explore social policy responses to the pandemic in the MENA region and challenges facing countries that have been exacerbated and exposed as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, as well as the future of social policy and the social contract in the region.



  • Dr. Ghada BarsoumAssociate Professor - Chair, Public Policy and Administration Department (PPAD), School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, The American University in Cairo

  • Dr. Markus LoeweHead of Research Team, MENA and Sustainable Economic and Social Development Departments, German Development Institute

  • Dr. Hicham Ait-MansourAssociate Professor of Sociology, Institute of Scientific Research, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco

  • Dr. Steffen HertogAssociate Professor in Comparative Politics, London School of Economics (LSE)

  • Dr. Vito IntiniRegional Lead Economist and Team Leader for Inclusive Growth and Social Protection, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Hub, Amman

  • Dr. Ferdinand EiblLecturer in Political Economy, King’s College London

  • Mr. Samman ThapaRegional Adviser Social Policy, Middle East and North Africa, UNICEF

  • Dr. Khalid Abu-IsmailChief of Economics and Poverty Section, United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

  • Dr. Bessma MomaniProfessor of Political Science, University of Waterloo

  • Dr. Michael RobbinsDirector, Arab Barometer

  • Dr. Nasser YassinAssociate Professor, American University of Beirut (AUB)

  • Dr. Luca PelleranoSenior Social Protection Specialist, International Labor Organization (ILO)


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