Dr. Lord conveyed the report’s intention to focus on progress and new initiatives that hint at a new willingness to address problems in the Arab World. While this ‘descriptive and prescriptive’ report conveys such successes, the threatening lack of knowledge plagues the Arab World’s next generation that is ill prepared for the future and full of disgruntled youth. After reviewing the 2003 UNDP study, she recognizes the dangerous decline in Arab governance over the last five years.
The Arab World has a weak public education system, civil society organizations, and lacks significant forms of community knowledge invested in public museums and libraries. While there has been success in the growing accessibility of education and an increase in educational spending, inadequate teacher training, a limited number of universities, and low adult literacy rates are prevalent. On a more promising note, Dr. Lord mentioned new promising initiatives for the education of the Arab World including the
Dr. Lord’s presentation expressed that as the Arab World looks toward the future, it should strive for free movement of people, ideas, and resources. The issue of quality, and not just quantity, of education should be addressed with better teacher training and more available schools. The advancement of the Arab World demands a culture that encourages and rewards the pursuit of knowledge.
Following Dr. Lord’s presentation, Rami Khouri, a Lebanese political commentator and director of the American University of Beirut's Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and
Amr Gohar, CEO and managing director of
In conclusion, panelists agreed that change must come from within the region with the help of both governments and non-governmental actors. The need for “more corporate social responsibility” is apparent. The new wealth and growing media industry can provide position images and incentives for success to foster a higher pursuit of learning in the Arab World. The region is in dire need of increased sovereignty, security, free expression of identity, and government legitimacy. These overriding political restraints result in economic and social disparities.
Sponsor: The Brookings Institution
Date: June 16, 2008
Time: 2:00-3:30 pm
Representative Attending: Jessica Walker