The workshop was inaugurated by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, who was followed by Sultan Ali Lootah, the Executive Director of the Foundation. Other opening speeches came from Dr. Ziad Al-Drees, Saudi Ambassador to UNESCO, who focused on Arab and international efforts in the knowledge field and from the Director of the Arab Knowledge Report, Dr. Ghaith Fariz, speaking on behalf of UNDP, who made a presentation of the results of the Report.
The opening speeches were followed by a number of discussion panels. In the first, entitled “Preparedness of Arab Future Generations for the Knowledge Report”, discussions were led by Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General of communication and information for UNESCO, UAE Minister of State Dr. Maitha Al Shamsi, the Iraqi author and journalist Mrs. Inaam Kachachi and Dr. Abdul Hamid El-Zoheiry, AKR Core Team Author.
The second discussion panel, entitled “Preparing Arab Future Generations: The way forward” involved Sultan Ali Lootah, MBRF Executive Director, Dr. Ghaith Fariz, AKR Report director, and Dr. Najwa Ghriss, a Report Core Team Author.
In his contribution, Lootah, said: “The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 was initiated based on the aim of the MBRF to contribute towards establishing the aspired-for knowledge society and economy in the Arab region and in accordance with the wishes of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It seeks to establish an Arab indicator for measuring the state of Knowledge in the Arab region, to support decision makers in evaluating performance, in developing plans, and in promoting a spirit of competition in this field”.
Lootah added: “Hence, the Arab Knowledge Report is presented within a strategic partnership initiative between the Foundation and the UNDP. This second Arab Knowledge Report builds on the basic findings of the Arab Knowledge Report for 2009. Its results have revealed a knowledge gap, in addition to the marginal performance of Arab knowledge, and goes on to state that these gaps can be dealt with and connections can be formed to address them in the Arab region, once the political will and serious motivation is established”.
Lootah said that the Arab Knowledge Report 2012/2011 is another accomplishment of the continuing cooperation between the Foundation and UNDP to promote further the efforts of creating a knowledge society and to contribute to the efforts of sustainable human development in the Arab region.
For his part, , Dr Ghaith Fariz, the Director of the Arab Knowledge Report, said: “Knowledge is a basic pillar for development, and we at the United Nations Development Programme are proud of our partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum foundation, in preparing the Arab Knowledge Report and contributing to the efforts of establishing the knowledge society in the Arab region. The first and second Arab Knowledge Reports and the field studies we conducted in four Arab countries revealed the major opportunities and obstacles in preparing the Arab youth for the knowledge society; this enabled us to better observe the Arab knowledge scene, in its various details and influential factors. This is, by itself, a step forward towards establishing the knowledge society”.
Fariz added: “We at the Arab Knowledge Report do not claim monopoly over knowledge nor do we claim to have the absolute truth, and we always look forward to cooperation with the various stakeholders and researchers/intellectuals and institutions at the local, regional and international levels, towards achieving a goal that has became today a necessary furnishment for realizing sustainable human development”.
The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 is characterised by its pioneering field surveys, probably the first such surveys to have been carried out as extensively and comprehensively in the Arab region. Case studies were conducted in four Arab countries,Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Yemen, these having been chosen for this pilot study to reflect, to some extent, the different regions in the Arab world. For the first time in the Arab region, the methodology and mechanism used in the preparation of this report, measured the skills, values and enabling environments simultaneously. In addition, workshops in the countries of the case studies were conducted and attended by experts and stakeholders. It is hoped that this will allow in the future for the development and adoption of tools and methodologies to measure the readiness of future generations to access the knowledge society, and can extend its usage in future studies whether in the Arab region or other countries from around the world. The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011, in which many experts from different Arab countries in addition to the team in Dubai participated, includes many innovative tools and significant results which we present to the Arab society and the entire world, the press statement from the Foundation said.
The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 is now preparing for the stage of action to lay the foundations to build the Knowledge Society, through establishing the basis to dealing with the methodologies and tools to prepare future generations for an active participation in building the Society and accessing its widespread resources. Dealing with this situation puts us at the heart of the process of preparing the Arab citizen to build his skills, and to instill the values which control and direct his decisions and dealings, in addition to providing him or her with the methods and tools of empowerment to permit the taking up of the opportunity for active participation in building the Knowledge Society and for reaping its fruits. It will also allow for the using of the results within the wider framework and the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable human development in support of the dignity and welfare of Arab citizens.
The vision of the report concerning the preparation of future generations for building the knowledge society is based on the correlation between the triad of skills, values and enabling. These processes of preparation include equipping future generations with the skills required for building the desired Knowledge Society and keeping up with cognitive, technological and scientific developments, as well as the mental skills needed to catch up with global advances in this area. The report confirms that skills alone cannot yield the desired effects unless they are accompanied by a comprehensive system of values that includes a set of general principles that govern and shape beliefs and practices that use the skills and direct them to the desired paths. Empowerment is the key to the processes of preparing future generations for the Knowledge Society. It represents the framework that will allow future Arab generations to obtain the skills that enable them to embody the new values and to build the needed abilities to overcome the internal and external challenges they face.
The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 consists of two main parts. The first part is the General Report, which discusses the preparation of future generations for the Knowledge Society in the Arab region as a whole. This section also includes a synthesis of the results of the field research conducted in four Arab countries, Jordan, UAE, Morocco and Yemen, as case studies about the status of preparing future generations for the Knowledge Society. The second part of the report contains the detailed results of the four case studies, including a comprehensive evaluation of the status of preparation of future generations in each of the four countries in light of the requirements of the Knowledge Society in addition to a thorough presentation of the detailed results of the field surveys.