DUBAI, 9th April, 2018 (WAM) — Under the patronage and presence of Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the Arab Thought Foundation launched the 10th Annual Arab Report on Cultural Development.
At a special ceremony held at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, the report, titled “Innovation or Extinction? Scientific Research in the Arab World: Realities, Challenges and Perspectives”, was presented in the presence of Prince Khalid Al Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation.
The event was attended by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, President of the Arab Thought Foundation, Prince Bandar Bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation; Dr. Henri Al Awit, Director General of the Arab Thought Foundation; Nabih Shuqum, Minister of Culture of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing and Research Professor at the Departments of Archaeology and Electrical & Computer Engineering, the Arab Thought Foundation’s Board of Directors and Board of Trustees; as well as numerous high-caliber intellectuals, academics, scientists and diplomats.
On the occasion of the launching of the report, Al Kaabi, addressed attendees and highlighted the pivotal role of the Arab Thought Foundation in developing and encouraging cultural cooperation and collaboration between Arab countries.
Al Kaabi emphasised the significance of the 10th Annual Arab Report on Cultural Development, which scientifically addresses the realities of cultural development in 22 Arab countries and does so in a way that integrates research with practical recommendations for addressing the Arab world’s challenges, particularly when it comes to cultivating sustainable development and tackling future issues.
She also highlighted that scientific research in the Arab world is underrepresented in comparison to the region’s resources, resulting in a huge gap between Arab and international scientific research.
In her speech Al Kaabi also focused on the role of knowledge as a strategic tool for economic growth and sustainable development, describing it as an inexhaustible resource. She went on to stress that cultural innovation is required to build a knowledge-based society and the related creative industries that are based on culture and thought generation.
She pointed out that the 10th Annual Arab Report on Cultural Development addresses these topics by providing a detailed diagnosis of the scientific research and technological development and innovation in the Arab world.
She also highlighted that the UAE has launched its National Innovation Strategy, which aims to make the UAE one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to innovation by enhancing innovation’s role in governmental development and economic growth.
She also called for the report to be an important step on the road to enhancing cultural development in the Arab world, through deepening the understanding of the importance of research and innovation, and by developing new forms of integration between Arab and international research centers.
She also thanked the Arab Thought Foundation for choosing the United Arab Emirates to launch the report which coincided with the UAE’s celebration of the Year of Zayed, a leader who understood the importance of culture and knowledge as the main components for a strong country and supported numerous major cultural projects and laid the foundation for the UAE to become what is today – an oasis for thought, culture and the arts.
The launch of the 10th Annual Arab Report on Cultural Development was opened with a speech by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, during which he thanked the United Arab Emirates and Dubai for hosting the FIKR16 Conference and for their support in nurturing the development of culture and thought in the Arab world.
He noted that the UAE has become an example for young countries in the region by continually setting new benchmarks for advancement, prosperity and knowledge.
In his speech, Prince Khalid Al Faisal said, “The Arab Thought Foundation has now published 10 consecutive Arab Reports on Cultural Development, despite the Arab world witnessing wars, conflicts and political differences resulting in economic, social and cultural crises that coincided with environmental challenges such as desertification, declining forest areas, water scarcity and pollution.”
“The tenth report objectively and comprehensively reviews each of these subjects, with a focus this year on scientific research, technological developments and innovation, in addition to their roles in supporting comprehensive sustainable development. Such efforts stand as a reflection of our faith in knowledge, science and culture when it comes to alleviating the bitterness of our reality,” continued Prince Khalid Al Faisal.
He added, “The study of scientific research, technological advancement, and innovation – and their relationship to comprehensive and sustainable development – is a requirement for the creation of modern development strategies. In today’s world, relationships have naturally been formed between knowledge generation and investment on one hand, and economic growth on the other; where information technology occupies a central and key position.”
He also thanked Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for her attendance and support.
Professor Henri Al Awit, Director General of the Arab Thought Foundation, delivered a speech focusing on three key points regarding the report’s preparation, characteristics and theme, and its most prominent conclusions and recommendations.
During his speech, Al Awit highlighted that, “The main reasons for compiling such a report are twofold. First, the recent research, technologies, and innovations of the Arab world that we have witnessed over the past few years have been both successful and profound on a global scale. Second, there is a lack of integrated Arab-centric reports that display the latest scientific research conducted, hence we wanted to compile a document that better highlighted the achievements of our countries while also focusing on the current challenges and future horizons.”
The Director General pointed out that the Foundation does not seek to monopolise the preparation of such reports. In the past, it has supported and promoted the work of other organizations who have studied Arab scientific research systems, technological developments and innovation in the Arab region. Al Awit stressed the importance of issuing Arab reports that address scientific research matters due to the continuous development of scientific research and in order to address the challenges faced by Arab nations.
Al Awit focused on the themes and characteristics of the report, which center around providing Arab countries and communities with the services they need and aspire to provide. The inclusive characteristics of the report are prominently reflected in the first five chapters, titled Scientific Research and Higher Education; Leveraging Innovation and Development; Cultural and Scientific Trends; Innovation and Technological Development; Mechanisms to Build a Knowledge-based Economy; and Community Service Research.
The report contains 25 research papers, with more than 500 pages of information on various aspects of scientific research, technology, and innovation. The geographic scope of the report is all-inclusive, with every Arab nation represented. In addition, the report’s authors are from nationalities from all four Arab regions, representing the Gulf, the Levant, the Nile Valley and the Maghreb countries.
The report is also characterised by its skillful integration of research with practical recommendations for addressing the regions challenges. “One of the report’s main advantages is that it unites research with real-world strategies related to the developmental goals of Arab countries,” said Al Awit.
Concluding with the recommendations and final points of the report, Al Awit highlighted the mechanisms for implementation based on the experiences of developed countries that have carried out comprehensive reviews of their existing science and technology systems most notably those relating to: promoting contributions from the central government; fostering stronger and closer levels of cooperation within the private sector; the need to develop scientific and technological capabilities; stimulating local innovation within specific disciplines; and the importance of focusing on every level of education.