[FIKR6] Arab Strategies for the Global Era

FIKR6 logo - Arab Thought Foundation
500 intellectuals from over 30 countries have descended on Bahrain to participate in the Arab Thought Foundation’s FIKR conference, the annual think-tank that strives to make a change to the Arab world not by force or arms but those of thought.

These gatherings have identified and provoked a lot of thought in what needs to be changed in our societies in order for us to progress and integrate within the global community in an intrinsic and binding fashion. This year’s conference is not different, it challenges the participants to discuss various aspects which are germane to this region’s future and propose strategies through which we can ascend into a new Arab economy through which our transformation and shaping of this new era could be undertaken. The conference theme of “Arab Strategy for the Global Era” boldly plants the stake in the ground and invites the illustrious participants to keep that goal at the forefront of their minds.

Within the central theme of the conference, the areas of Energy, Investments, Media, Technology and Social Responsibility will be focused on as they all directly contribute to this new Arab economy and collectively provide a major impact to the way forward for all of our governments and societies.

The conference started today at the Ritz Carlton with a day-long Innovation Workshop which was open by invitation to our future leaders; those between 15 and 30 and were addressed by an excellent panel with varied backgrounds and each of which a leader in his or her field. The interesting thing about this, and one that is very indicative of how this conference is different, is that groups created from this workshop have been invited to present their solutions and innovative thoughts to close the whole conference with a very real possibility that one or more ideas might be chosen by those present for actual funding and transform it from an idea into a product. If this actually happens, then this will shows that this conference has transcended the “talk” and crossed the border into real action.

I look forward to my participation in this conference. My session is about education in the Arab world and specifically about the effects of digital technology and the digital readiness of the Arab world.

I am extremely humbled and fortunate to be joined on the panel by:

  • Haitham Obeidat, Factory of International and Political Studies, International Studies Department of Middle East an Far East Studies, Jagiellonian Univeristy (Poland);
  • Iman Al-Hindawi, Founder and CEO, Middle East Center for Culture and Development (Jordan);
  • John Davies, VP, Sales and Marketing, General Manager, World Ahead Program, Intel Corporation (USA); and
  • Nasser . Alardah, REgional Program Development Manager, Relief Organization – Schools Online (USA)

I am also thrilled to let you know that this event will be covered by five Bahrain-based bloggers so please also check their blogs for updates and their take on the conference.

Those who will cover the conference are:

  • livid
    2 December 2007

    hi all,

    i am in a beseeching kind of mood.

    read – act – make a f**king difference

    i am impotent. i don’t want to be any more. what can we do?

    seriously, i want ideas.






    it’s not right, it’s not ok

    fsuck sake people – we can do better than this.


  • Lee Ann
    2 December 2007

    Personally I feel that if the Arab world wants to advance a few things must change…

    1. arabs must accept that even though it was a nonarab/nonmuslim that said something…it still might have some validity to it and it worth listening to.

    2. in order to really educate a population you need to get them to read…read their own literature(arab/muslim writers) and read others literature(non arab/non muslim writers)…then form your own thoughts about those writings…not just rely on someone else to spoon feed you on what you must think and how you must feel or react to it.

    A population that reads is a population that is willing to understand, accept, and incorporate others opinions and ideas a little more readily…which leads to global dialogue and personal and regional growth.

    After 20 years in Bahrain I find that generally Arabs are not big on reading(not all mind you but I feel the number is quite high just on my own experience among them)…not much of their own stuff and almost nothing of “outsiders”. The amount of literature translated into arabic is minimal and the amount of things translated from arabic is hardly more than that…and usually done by nonarabs.

  • Ali
    2 December 2007

    Arab society is different to the West.

    We should identify which parts work better and enhance them, such as family values, tradition, strong faith etc and . . .

    … be prepared to incorperate sucessful parts from other societies such as freedom of speech, freedom of thought and religion, equal rights for both sexes, and government by the people.. . .

    .. and ditch those that don’t even if it offends religious interpretation of a few.

  • Yagoob's Dome
    2 December 2007

    Just a tiny correction to my blog’s link:



    Inshalla I’ll be covering some of the educational and environmental discussions and I personally would like to thank you Mahmood for letting us participate in this conference.

    Lee Ann: I totally agree with you, it’s very unfortunate that students here have grown accustomed to ‘spoonfeeding’ and even though we now have the internet, many students can’t be bothered to google information.

    If people don’t read, they can’t research, and if they can’t research, they can never ever develop and grow

  • Ash
    2 December 2007

    If there are any Sudanese there, perhaps you could bring up the little topic of teddy bears, Mohammed, and a certain English schoolteacher …

  • mahmood
    2 December 2007

    Livid, this topic is probably best in the forum.

    Yacoub, sorry mate, will correct it now.

    Ash I’m sure there are and if I find one I’ll raise the issue just to illicit a response. Will post if I am successful.

    Lee Ann, very true. This was discussed in some of the sessions today, briefly however, but discussed nonetheless. Hopefully one of the bloggers covering the event will post something about it.

  • Mohammed Issa
    2 December 2007

    Arab thoughts! How rare!?!

  • exclamation mark
    3 December 2007


    There are a lot of thoughts all around here and there… but the problem is how to take those thoughts and put them to work in real life…

    As an example, eventhough there have been plans to make life easier travelling through the King Fahad causeway by using the ID card since more than five years ago,but because of the objections from Saudi Arabia this will only be officially implemented tomorrow 4 – Dec – 07. But why this delay after few years ?

    Strategies should focus on building self reliant, self sufficient economies. And what made me smile was when I saw – in another thread – the participation of Aramco’s CEO , where most of the Saudi’s economy revolves around Aramco, any way I did not hear his speech yet but would love to find out what he spoke of.

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