The 8th Edition of the Storm-of-Though Coalition Symposium Discusses the Future of Education and Scientific Research in the Arab World in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the activities of the 8th Edition of the Storm-of-Thought Alliance Symposium were launched in the presence of His Excellency Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Storm-of-Thought Coalition.

The symposium, entitled: "The Future of Education and Scientific Research in the Arab World," was held at the Hyatt Regency Sharm El-Sheikh Resort and organized by the ISA Cultural Center, from the Kingdom of Bahrain. In addition to representatives from Gulf and Arab research centers, a number of officials, researchers, thinkers, and academics participated in the event, which will continue until Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

On this occasion, Al-Suwaidi stressed the importance of the topic  "The Future of Education and Scientific Research in the Arab World," pointed out that the issue of education and scientific research should be a top priority in the Arab world because robust economic growth depends on strong educational outcomes. He added that the Storm-of-Thought Coalition is keen to address the present and future issues of interest that are vital to the Arab peoples.

The activities of the symposium started with two keynote addresses. The first was delivered by Dr. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees & the Executive Director of the ISA Cultural Centre as well as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Al Khalifa said: "In light of the technological developments taking place today and their impact on the methods of communication, information transfer, and knowledge building, it is necessary to transform the teaching mechanisms of our Arab world towards more innovation and creativity, based on intelligent interaction in an integrated digital environment.” He added: “These things should be applied in our institutions and adopted by the decision-makers. Our meeting today is a new stage among many more stages to come. It represents a path full of hope and desire to find an innovative formula to understand our needs regarding the future of Arab education and scientific research, within intellectual, cultural, social, and specialized frameworks. This will enable us to make education a noble task, which has its own dimensions in drawing the future where everyone, without exception, will contribute in this process.”

At the end of his keynote address, Al Khalifa thanked His Excellency Prof. Jamal Al- Suwaidi, Director General of the (ECSSR) and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Storm-of-Though Coalition, for his continuous support for the sustainability and cohesion of the special coalition.

The second keynote address was delivered by Major General Khaled Fouda, Governor of South Sinai in the Arab Republic of Egypt. He said: "It is necessary to pay attention to the formation of the personality of the individual and to prepare the human element at an early age in order to have scientifically and practically qualified cadres, who are able to cooperate and interact with the surrounding environment, and actively participate in a way that leads to positive change in our society." He said education is the first brick in the development process of any nation—unlike ignorance, which ultimately leads to backwardness.

The first day of the symposium included two sessions. The first session, entitled "Higher Education and Scientific Research: The Power of Arab Societies towards the Future," was chaired by Ms. Jameela Ali Salman Ahmed, member of the Shura Council in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The speakers of the session included His Highness Prince Saad bin Saud Al-Saud, the Dean of Media Communications College at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Dr. Mohamed bin Huwaiden Al-Ketbi, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science Department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at United Arab Emirates University.

The second session, entitled "Education and Curriculum of the Future," was chaired by Mr. Osama Heikal, Chairman of Egyptian Media Production City and the former Minister of Information of Egypt. The speakers of the session included Dr. Khalifa Ali Al-Suwaidi, Media Professional and academic at United Arab Emirates University, and Dr. Seham Al-Qabandi, Sociology Professor at Kuwait University.

It is worth mentioning that the Storm-of-Thought Coalition is an initiative launched by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), in May 2015. The initiative includes a coalition of Gulf and Arab research centers. It provides support to the decision-makers in these countries and educates their people in a way that serves the comprehensive national security of each country and the Arab region as a whole. This is of considerable importance in light of the unstable times the Arab world is experiencing.

The Storm-of-Thought Coalition actively addresses the various challenges Arab nations face. It also helps to set up visions and options for decision-makers to deal constructively and effectively with these challenges.

The first edition of the Storm-of-Thought Coalition was held on September 1, 2015, at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR). The Center also hosted the 7th Edition of the Storm-of-Thought Coalition on October 8 and 9, 2018, at the Center's complex in Abu Dhabi.