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Brief History

The Institute was initially founded in the sixties by an initiative from UNDP as a regional center for training on agricultural statistics in the Arab Region. In 1971, the Institute’s interests expanded to include all statistical areas (Ref. Document No. REM/71/174/D/01/12) and named the “Regional Institute for Training and Research in Statistics for the Near East”. The Institute was based in Baghdad-Iraq with membership of all Arab countries and few regional ones (Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Cyprus).

In April, 1973, and based on satisfactory achievements of phase I, the Board of Trustees expressed its intention to have the Institute deal with all type of statistics by the end of phase I in 1974. In summer of 1973, a committee from the UN, FAO and UNDP carried out an evaluation for phase I and submitted suggestions for phase II (Project No. REM/73/003//01/01). In its meeting in Baghdad on April 30, 1977, the Board of Trustees decided to change the institute name to the "Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics" (AITRS) to serve only the Arab countries.  


Generally, AITRS aims to contribute to the implementation of comprehensive socioeconomic development in the region by promoting opportunities for the formulation of better development policies through building the capacities of the statistical systems in the Arab Countries to carry out their development duties at the national and regional level. The specific objectives can be summarized as follows:

  • Work with the Arab Statistical Offices to enhance their capabilities and meet their needs for training and technical assistance in the area of methodologies, concepts and management of the official statistics work.
  • Develop and implement statistical research and studies programs that are related to the interests of the Arab statistical offices and can serve their needs.
  • Raise awareness of statistical work through participating in or organizing relevant seminars or conferences at various levels.


Since its establishment in 1997, AITRS has made available training services at the central and local level for all Arab countries in the area of demographic and socioeconomic statistics; sampling; computer usage; and databases. Every year, AITRS implements an advanced one academic year program in applied and population statistics for college graduates where graduates obtain a high diploma in applied and population statistics at the end of such program.

AITRS also organizes seminars to discuss various important statistical topics and provides technical consultancies to the Arab statistical offices upon their request for developing statistical work.

In addition, AITRS attends regional and international conferences, seminars and meetings and conducts researches and studies.

AITRS also offers annual fellowships to Arab statisticians to get high diploma or master degree in statistics and related fields.

It is worth mentioning, that AITRS policies and annual work plans are endorsed by its Board of Trustees that is constituted of head of the Arab Statistical Offices and AITRS Director General. Representatives of Arab and international organizations usually attend the Board of Trustees meetings.

Pillars of AITRS Activities

  1. Making sure that its activities are stemmed from the actual needs of the Arab statistical offices on one hand and being internally coordinated and complementary on the other.
  2. Upgrading the capabilities and skills of employees at the Arab statistical offices in all statistical areas and specialties in relation to international standards.
  3. The mode of training is based on:
    1. Organizing central short training courses at AITRS host country through physical attendance of trainees or through e-courses. 
    2. Organizing or assisting in organizing local training courses upon requests from the Arab statistical offices and in accordance to AITRS regulations.
    3. Offering long-term training opportunities (nine months) through a high diploma or fellowships program.
  4. Paying attention to technical consultancies while covering various statistical areas.
  5. Strengthening research through:
    1. Focusing on field and applied statistical researches.
    2. Addressing hot issues that are regionally and internationally discussed with focus on the new measurement methods.
    3. Developing means that can help apply the international methodologies within the framework of encouraging mutual Arab statistical work.
  6. Promoting the new technologies in statistical work.
  7. Pursuing the support of cooperation and coordination relationship with Arab, regional and international organizations to serve AITRS objectives and activities.