The concept of civil society has deep implications on conditions of liberty, democracy, and human rights where it is applied and/or observed in the Middle East. An integral part of civil society dynamics has been the presence and agency of non-governmental organizations, including those stemming from a religious foundation, among which are organizations that are inspired by the Christian faith. While their inception is related to the national, religious, arid political culture within their specific context, it is also a function of their faith and spiritual beliefs. In an effort to legitimate civil society within Middle East culture, thete have been attempts to find roots for this concept within religious tradition, both Islamic and Christian, as opposed to the philosophical, political, economic, and humanist foundations that under-girded the concept in Western thought.

The practical dimension of this study examines the cases of two organizations, from Egypt and Lebanon, which are insp:rect by the Christian faith and work in the public domain. This examination is based on a content analysis of interviews with their founders, their activities as well as their literature, and both are cross-examined against existing definitions of civil society. The findings of this research demonstrate that organizations in the region that are inspired by the Christian faith are conscious of the spiritual and civic motivating factors that enabled the establishment of their organizations, and as such are working towards greater social and political integration within their local context. Simultaneously, it enhances the quantitative and qualitative presence of the Christian community in the Middle East.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Nicholas Hopkins

Committee Member 1

Nicholas Hopkins

Committee Member 2

AbdelAziz EzzelArab

Committee Member 3

Emad Shahin

Document Type



116 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Civil society


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Call Number

Thesis 2002/78