The internship program of the Middle East Office of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) welcomes interns who have a special interest in one or several hbs program areas. The internship program is a research internship that intends to provide an opportunity for students and young researchers to delve into a research field related to the hbs program areas, while getting hand-on practical experience in the field of international development work. The research is accompanied and supported by hbs colleagues and can be used as an opportunity for a student’s degree dissertation. Apart from pursuing their independent research, interns will learn about hbs activities and gain practical work and research experience. At the same time, interns are expected to contribute to hbs activities with their knowledge and ideas. 

Highlights on creative projects / research papers by interns

Over the years, we received many interns that contributed tremendously to our work. They were all an asset to this office. Here is one of the inspiring creative projects and one of the research papers

DJ Set on barbed wire rooftop at dawn

Beirut's Underground Music Scene

Photo Documentation
A very inspiring creative project Hajar utilized a historical-political lens, to carefully delineate artists, community and the use of space within Beirut’s quick pace of change. Given the lack of research on the dialectic between music and crises in the region, this historical lens is applied to understand recent developments that begin from the October 2019 Revolution, extending through to the complete collapse of the economy and banking system, and the August 2020 explosion. The photos coupled with over twenty interviews aim to re-imagine and recreate our spaces and collective identity with values that extend far past appreciating certain genres. This project chooses to focus on the vibrant and creative forces which stand in constant dialogue with the worn and broken.
Benita's Paper cover

“People like me, they have to bypass”

Research Paper
My nationality is my right has a long history in Lebanon. In a country, that does not treat its citizens equally; women cannot pass their nationality to their husbands and children if they have a binational marriage. To this day, this law is still on papers. In this paper, Benita argue that the performative citizenship of the children in these families is not only expressed through their political and social activism for a more inclusive citizenship law. Rather, by finding coping strategies to exercise basic human rights and by having an affective citizenship meaning they feel Lebanese and therefore state their right to be Lebanese on paper, they are performing Lebanese citizenship.

How to Apply


IMPORTANT NOTE: Lebanon is an interesting but also a challenging environment. For reasons partly related to the volatile political situation, the Middle East Office internship program strongly encourages applicants to familiarize themselves with the challenges of an extended stay in such an environment prior to submitting an application. Applicants should highlight any previous experience in living in similarly challenging conditions. 

Who would be the best candidate for an internship with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung?

Advanced students (third year bachelor degree onwards), a study focus and research interest in hbs program areas are ideal candidates. This includes students of political, social and environmental sciences, economics, law, media, cultural and area studies. Local and international students, as well as young researchers, including refugees, are highly encouraged to apply. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate PhD students and internships that need to be accredited as part of law studies. 

Applicants should propose a research activity or a creative project which they would like to pursue during the internship related to hbs’ programmatic focus areas. Our team will be happy to discuss proposed research ideas and projects, lend support through contacts and information, and potentially incorporate aspects of such a project into our program once your application has been accepted. Please note that applications without a research or project proposal will not be considered.

What types of documentation and information should be included in an application?

The application should consist of the following documents: 
• Cover letter.
• Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages)
• Research Proposal (maximum 2 pages, please download format here)

The cover letter should include summary background information on the applicant. More importantly, it must contain an explanation of the applicant’s motivation for an internship with hbs and it must highlight a proposal for a research activity/ project that the applicant aspires to undertake during the stay with hbs (see above). Please do not forget to specify the exact time of your availability.
The internship is for a minimum period of 3 months and up to 6 months.

The curriculum vitae should be updated and precise, providing an overview of the educational background, previous professional experience, social and political engagement and publications on a maximum of two pages.

When designing your proposal, please keep in mind that there are topics that have been dealt with extensively in academia, which might render it difficult to contribute anything significantly new within the framework of an internship. We therefore recommend to go for more manageable topics. In the end of their internship, the intern will publish a result of their research, which can be but is not limited to a research paper. Creative outputs are welcome. 

Please consider research topics within the following fields and from the region (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq): 

  • Environmental Justice (such as food sovereignty, agroecology, climate justice, gender and environmental justice/eco-feminism, resource management and governance)
  • Statehood and Participation
  • Conflict and International Politics (e.g. Feminist Foreign Policy)

Please make sure to send all your documents in English and that your resume is in accordance with international non-discrimination standards and does not contain a photo.

What benefits do we offer?

HBS offers interns to be part of an exciting and challenging work environment, and provides an opportunity to build a network of contacts with activists, development workers, and artists in Lebanon and the region. Interns will receive guidance and support during their research, and will be in a position to gain first-hand information on development, social and political issues from the hbs team and our partner organizations. Unfortunately no travel expenses can be covered. We do not organize for the accommodation of interns, but we will assist interns throughout their search. 

When do you receive an answer?

Applications will be received all through the year; an acknowledgment of receiving the application will be emailed to the applicant and the application processed as soon as possible. Please note that we have a high number of applications.

How to Apply?

Send an email to with the subject “application for internship”. Make sure to attach the cover letter, CV and project proposal in PDF format. Applications are not supposed to be directed to or address any particular person at hbs

Interns Projects
Photo of the Holiday Inn Building in Beirut

Political Perspectives in Lebanon After the Thawra

The staunchest criticism of the sectarian political model came from the civil society. Lebanese citizens have called for the abolition of this regime for more than a decade. The topic became a rallying cry for all Lebanese during the 2015 "You Stink" movement and more recently during the 2019 revolution (thawra). 

No Longer Just a Humanitarian Crisis: The Politicization of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

This brief details the history of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon from 2011 to present. As economic and security conditions in Lebanon have fluctuated and weakened over the course of Syria's war, public ire and distrust in Lebanon has turned towards the over 1 million Syrian refugees who have settled there, who many Lebanese view as responsible for Lebanon's economic and political woes. This brief breaks down why the presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has become so politicized in both public discourse and the rhetoric of political pundits, arguing that refugees have become a scapegoat to deflect away from more severe structural issues such as sectarianism and poor governance.  

Stabilization via change? The European Union’s support for human rights advocacy in Lebanon

Civil society is identified as a key partner for the European Union (EU) and receiver of financial support in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as civil society is closest to the citizen’s needs, for example in terms of human rights. However, the existing body of research questions whether such aspirations for human rights are compatible with the EU’s main priority in neighbourhood, stabilization. To investigate how this alleged contradiction affects the de facto support for pro-democratic civil society organizations, this research focuses on the question “What are the means of the European Neighbourhood Policy to support Lebanese Human Rights Organizations in their advocacy for Human Rights and Democracy in Lebanon?”Interviews with local experts show that the EU Delegation is striving to cooperate closely with civil society actors to support their human rights advocacy but is limited in their capacity to provide funding to HROs due to a shift of priorities in the newest Single Support Framework (SSF). A comparison of the SSF from before and after stabilization became the main priority, confirms this finding.

You reap what they sow: Understanding the issues linked to the agricultural sector in Lebanon

After examinig the current state of agriculture in Lebanon, this article will investigate the implications of the Lebanese food production system and will try to identify the reasons underlying this situation. Finally, the article will shed light on the emergence of a form of ‘alternative agriculture’ and will try to understand whether or not it can be a sustainable solution to assure food security in the country in the face of rapidly advancing climate change.

The Uphill Battle with a Boulder

8,331 - is the astonishing number of officially registered civil society organisations in the small state of Lebanon. From HIV prevention over democracy building to environmental protection, almost no topic remains unaddressed. However, from a closer look, the impact yielded by these groups in the compact state in the Middle East often remains somewhat restricted. On the example of gender equality – a topic fervently debated in Lebanon – this paper analyses the internal and external reasons behind this surprising discrepancy and stipulate thought about how to make the Lebanese civil society work more effectively.

The Luxury of Sharing

Although differences have been found between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon regarding the acquisition of global consumer culture, the acquisition of such a culture emanating from the West cannot be denied. Thus, the Lebanese consumer culture in comparison with other Middle Eastern countries bears a number of similarities with Western consumerism. This arises the question of whether the trend of sharing, which can be considered as a part of Western consumer culture, has reached Lebanon as well.

‘Islamic Feminism’ in Lebanon: Portraying a counter-discourse

Islam and Feminism, those two words seem like an oxymoron to most people. But it is not to everyone. Starting in the 90's a number of Islamic feminists from different parts of the world took the stage and made their struggle for women‘s emancipation public. This paper delves into the basic concept of Islamic Feminism and attempts to portray the counter-discourse as it is forming in Lebanon. Ann-Kathrin Steger

The case of Beirut Madinati: How to maintain a wind of change?

Changing a crooked system from within might seem like a desperate effort, especially when the same political actors had been in power for over 20 years facilitating corruption and clientelism. Yet, it is a task that the civil platform Beirut Madinati took upon itself when they ran in the 2016 Lebanese municipal elections for the Beirut city council. Although they were not able to win a seat due to the Lebanese winner-takes-all electoral system, their high electoral success caused a massive uproar, also among the established political parties. For this research, a series of interviews has been conducted with members of Beirut Madinati in order to assess the reasons for their success, public reactions and considerations for their further proceedings.

Against all odds?

Comics, Hip-Hop, paintings, poems or festivals. What effect can art have on a society? How do artists interact with lebanese society and what problems do they face? Artists give insights to structures, aims and problems of the Beirut art scene.
An 'informal tented settlement' in Lebanon's Bekaa valley

It does not Need a Push-back to Push Back

Ever since the outbreak of the Syrian ‘civil war’ in the aftermath of the Arab Uprising 2011, Lebanon has become the number one host country for Syrian refugees.  With a population of only six million people, Lebanon has been hosting around 1.5 million Syrians.  While in the first years there was still a limited sort of solidarity with fleeing people, this has been decreasing due to the longevity of the war in Lebanon’s neighbor country and the severe domestic economic crisis that Lebanon is going through since 2019.

New Ways of Resisting: How Art from Syria Changes Regarding New Political Challenges

Research Paper
During the war in Syria, artists played a big role in keeping the fight for freedom alive via peaceful and creative means such as street art, film-making, and documentation at a time when traditional media continued painting the picture as one of hopelessness. Their work has paved the way for possibly new strategies through which they could seek justice against crimes committed by the regime.
A kitten playing in a pile of garbage in Beirut

Lebanon: the state of waste

Lebanese residents are no longer able to ignore the waste around them. Sociologist John Scanlan has observed that below the ordered and familiar topography of the city exists a “shadow counterpart” which we rarely think about. This unwelcome shadow “resists our attempts to disconnect from it.” The garbage crisis of 2015 exposed this jarring disconnect between the two topographies and along with it, the failure of politicians to provide basic utilities including waste collection and treatment.

The 2018 campaign of the civil society: Breaking through the sectarian system?

On the 6th of May 2018 the Lebanese are voting for their parliament for the first time in 9 years. Elections, supposed to be held in 2013 but postponed repeatedly for security concerns, are held under a new electoral law. There is a huge discontentment with the political system and a high level of political apathy. The garbage crisis of 2015 and the municipal elections of 2016 showed that a huge segment of society does not feel adequately represented by the established political parties. This representation issue has a lot to do with the inherent corruption of the ruling political class and their failure to provide basic public services. Due to the discontent, the 2018 election saw an increase in candidates who do not come from the traditional sectarian parties. These civil society groups, who have their roots in previous protests, try to create a new political discourse around secularism, citizenship and pro-human rights. This paper examines the emergence of the these groups.

On the decentralisation of Solid Waste Management in Lebanon: a viable solution to the “waste crisis”?

Since the Lebanese "waste crisis" broke out in 2015, NGOs, private enterprises and citizens have worked in order to fill the vacuum in the provision of Solid Waste Management-related services. The intervention of the aforementioned actors often times working independently from the central government has brought about a more decentralised Solid Waste Management system. The benefits, the difficulties and the position of such a system vis à vis the Lebanese state are explored in this paper through the testimonies of individuals currently operating in the Solid Waste Management sector.

Nothing but a demonstration?

When garbage started to pile up in the streets of Beirut in summer 2015, a new wave of civil society protests was initiated in the country.  This paper analyzes the dynamics of the movement and tries to explain why not much has changed so far and if there is any chance for civil society movements in Lebanon in the future.