Dr. Joseph is the Director of the award winning* Business-in-Conflict Areas Research Group (BICAR) is a network of researchers, field actors, and empirical projects engaged in business development within conflict settings. This includes data collection, reporting, and publications on - conflict zone business, peacebuilding through business, livelihood programming, MSME development, MNE activity, and humanitarian sector support in conflict zones. BICARs management is housed at the American University of Beirut’s Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. The group has over 95 members, including 30+ affiliate researchers who work on associated topics. If you/your organization are interested in becoming an Affiliate to benefit from the network, dissemination of content, research opportunities, and expertise in BICAR, please contact our research group. *2020 AACSB Innovations that Inspire Award
In regions affected by conflict, local business development can play an essential role in reducing poverty and fostering peace. Small business development provides basic incomes, helps to offer services to local communities, and can promote positive intergroup contact which undermines the drivers of war. Accordingly, small business development programs are increasingly being used by the humanitarian sector to support post-conflict recovery.
Despite such benefits, research is increasingly showing a more complex link between business, conflict and peace. Two facts are true about business in poverty-conflict settings 1) The majority of entrepreneurs are subsistence-based; they don't grow, employ, or support the wider community - therefore, rarely engage in peacebuilding 2) Various conditions in conflict scenarios can result in business activity becoming destructive; either through illegal activity, ingroup-centric activity, or by propagating labor and human rights violations.
The work of Jay, and the Business-in-Conflict Research Group seeks to understand what types of businesses, conditions, and support is needed to promote peace-positive, rather than destructive business. Through developing this knowledge-base, expertise can be leveraged to both the humanitarian sector for informing beneficiary selection criteria; and governments, seeking to foster local business growth for post-conflict recovery.
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