Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Political Science

First Advisor

Howard Dooley

Second Advisor

Mustafa Mughazy


This paper uses education policy as a case study in order to examine the issues affiliated with the Confessional model of government and compares Lebanon’s education sector with Iraq to inspect the universality of those issues. There are many features that make the country of Lebanon unique, but perhaps none more characterizing than its one-of-a-kind Confessional government. According to the tenants of Confessionalism specific government offices are to be reserved for specific ethnic groups. The system was an innovative experiment imposed by the French as a means to guarantee various communal groups representation within the government in an effort to provide stability in ethnically divided societies. However, as evinced by Lebanese history, the system counterproductively reinforces the sectarian tensions it was meant to mitigate. These grievances eventually impact the provision of basic government services. Some of the impacts examined within this thesis include sect-oriented nepotism, the allocation of public funds based on sectarianism instead of need, and the reinforcement of sectarian communalism that undermines nationalism. Following the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, the Iraqi Interim Governing Council was structured according to the Confessional formula, thus instituting sectarianism and setting the state on a path toward developing Lebanon’s numerous sectarian issues. By comparing education policy between each country this paper attempts to demonstrate how the Confessional model produces similar problems when applied in different states.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access