This program dates back to the 1980s at a time when stronger scientific communities and universities emerged in the three Maghrebi countries. This created the conditions for renewing research cooperation in the different social sciences (sociology, economics, history, anthropology), and expanding it beyond research only on the Maghreb, for which specialized teams and networks already existed due to longstanding mutual knowledge. The FMSH has now begun inviting researchers and supporting work meetings, publications and field work (Awal program started by Mouloud Mammeri and Tassadit Yacine on Berber oral literature).
In 1993, it began helping to bring Algerian researchers to France for temporary or prolonged stays to help them escape the dangers they were facing. In parallel, it set up a dual program for inviting and hosting experienced researchers (from two to four months of DEA per year) and for scientifically supporting young researchers with a research scholarship from their government or the French government: out of the fifty applications the FMSH receives yearly for this program, twenty to twenty-five meet the required scientific (research level and pertinence), administrative (visa) and financial (scholarships) criteria and are able to partake in research visits to France. The FMSH has also extended its program for supporting research libraries to institutions in the three countries of the Maghreb. Its publications unit has twice partaken in the Alger Book Fair.
In October 2001, the experience gleaned by the FMSH led the DRIC (today DREIC) of the Ministry of National Education to request that it define, via a broad and open consultation process with the involved researchers, a program to re-launch Franco-Maghrebi cooperation in the social and human sciences for which the IAP (integrated action projects) requests recorded each year have been qualitatively and quantitatively declining, partly for linguistic reasons.
This program was approved to be financed for three years (2005-2008) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the framework of the Priority Solidarity Fund: the FMSH coordinates it as the “scientific operator.” Two calls for proposals made in 2005 allowed for selecting 24 research and research training projects, which all include at least one French team and two teams from at least two different Maghrebi countries, and often more: close to 150 teams from both sides of the Mediterranean are today involved in such projects, which touch on all disciplines in the social and human sciences and are currently being carried out. The FMSH just began, with the help of the Université Ibn Tofail Kenitra (Morocco) and the INI (Algiers) as well as the CNAM and the Université de Cergy-Pontoise, the second component of the program: prepare a French-Arabic dictionary for the social sciences.
At the end of this Priority Solidarity Fund, a new evaluation is scheduled to assess this program’s results and to define the next phases in this cooperation.