The Participation of Ambassador Hussein Al-Kamel as a Representative of the Council at the Third Summit of the World Think Tanks
On 28th – 30 September 2016, Ambassador Hussein Al-Kamel participated in the Third Summit of the World Think Tanks held in Montreal. The summit witnessed attending of about 100 heads of international think tanks from Canada, America, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, India, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Australia, Tunisia, Ukraine, Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Zambia, Poland, Libya, Netherlands, Malaysia, Denmark, South Africa, Russia, Peru, Hong Kong, Guatemala and Egypt.
The discussions were under the theme “Globalization and the Role of the International Think Tanks”. The effects of globalization and the reaction to the emergence of national strife, protectionist politics, the need to expand the use of technology and strategic means of communication to facilitate communication between decision-makers and the public were generally covered. The topics of migration and international economic relations were also discussed, as well as how think tanks maintain their role and the quality of their intellectual production.
On think tanks, Professor James McGann, the spiritual leader of the Global Think Tanks program, said that he and his program are working on a research initiative to build a foundation to bridge the gap between knowledge and politics, such as the quality of think tanks participating in the conference. Pointing out that this cooperation aims to establish regional and international networks to develop and support the process of decision-making in the world.
In this context, Andrew Selee, Vice President of Wilson Center and Thomas Gomart and Vice President of the French (IFRI), spoke at the session that discussed the effects of globalization and the building of the gap between think tanks, policy makers and the public.
– Most think tanks did not anticipate or understand the issues that led the UK to vote and get the majority of secession from the EU.
– Think tanks, media and politicians have failed to predict that Donald Trump and Berni Sanders will emerge strongly in the US presidential election. Therefore, this poses a challenge to the systematic thinking and presents a threat to international institutions and citizenship. What is not clear is the reaction of think tanks towards this. There have been discussions about the clarity of visions of think tanks and their future expectations of the emergence of national and right-wing movements.
– For the use of information and communication technology, the discussions focused on the importance of think tanks to benefit from this development because, by taking advantage of the electronic climate, any think tank can have an opinion on any issue and produce useful research and studies.
– The issue of inequality in incomes in developed economies has been discussed more than in previous generations. Discussions on this issue were based on differences in views between the concept of income inequality – which is more pronounced in developing economies – when the differences between rich and poor are directed, and what determines the situation is the proportion of poverty in the country.
– In connection with the above, Ambassador Hussein Al-Kamel’s intervention focused on the following:
– He stressed that the emergence of these past phenomena was the result of several developments in the international situation, the main cause of which was coups, chaos and a strong overlapped foreign interests in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq, which in turn produced the problem of refugees, followed by nationalistic tendencies against immigrants and the policy of protectionism in many countries where refugees have been displaced. The most important problems resulting from this, along with migration, are terrorism, poverty and economic crises.
– He pointed out that the phenomenon has also emerged in Europe, as the countries likeFinland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Switzerland witnessed risingvoices of fanatic wings in the face of the existing regimes, and success of these right-wing parties and special fronts in France, Germany and England to attract popular sentiments even when not to rule until the present moment. He stressed that the emergence of these closed national trends is due to two main reasons: migration challenges, and European crises.
– With regard to the Republican candidate “Trump”, Ambassador explained that the reason for his unexpected appearance in the US elections not only the role played by think tanks and members of his campaign, but also because of the nature of his speeches and his rush character, which were seen as threats to his rival Hillary Clinton.
– As a basic rule, it is vital for any think tank to be linked to both the people and the decision-makers because they are the main elements of power for think tanks. Without this direction, think tanks will not be able to successfully influence both decision maker and public opinion.
– He pointed out that the topics and studies chosen by a think tank should be focused on the people and the decision-maker, and that they focus on two main areas: solutions to the existing problems or conflicts and performance improvement. Also, noting that if think tanks focused on the study of these aspects, they will be able to will push the public opinion to press on the decision maker to adopt these policies.
– In this context, he touched on the experience of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs in selecting its members from ambassadors, former ministers, media personalities, distinguished writers, university professors and thinkers, which made the decision makers and the public opinion good recipient for its activities and research production.
– He also stated that after the recent years of great leap in the field of information and communications technology, it is imperative that think tanks adopt this field to attract decision makers and the public. This is evidenced by the fact that, with the impact of this technological shift, many decision-makers do not prefer academic research and studies, but rather the direct essence of the subject using information technology, which is easily accessible to the reader.
– He also talked about the great transformation in this field in many countries in Africa, as reflected in the recommendations in both the 2014 Summit “Pertoria”, the 2015 Summit “Addis Ababa” and 2016 “Zimbabwe,” the establishment of an electronic information network of African Think Tanks, an information network for the media, as well as the training programs of the Egyptian Agency for Development in Africa, as well as the African Capacity Building Foundation in Zimbabwe.
– He stressed that the solution of refugees crisis lies in addressing the main cause of terrorism and of interests of the countries involved in the crisis, especially in Syria and Iraq. He stated that the region became a playground for the great powers. On the other hand, he said that one solution to the problem of refugees is to hold a conference under the auspices of the United Nations or the European Union, attended by different think tanks from the receiving countries of refugees and their motherlands.
– He pointed out that Egypt stands alone in the face of terrorism in Sinai and on its borders. He also referred to the Egyptian model of absorbing refugees to integrate them into society and enjoy the same services presented to its citizens.
– He also stressed the inadequacy of the military solution in the face of terrorism, but also the need to resort to economic, educational, religious and media solutions in countries suffering from terrorism.
– He criticized what is happening in Syria from the application of each state to its own agenda without the intention to achieve the peaceful solution to the crisisand, in this context, highlighted the stance of Egypt aimingto maintain the unity of the state of Syria and Libya.
– In conclusion, Ambassador Al-Kamel stressed the importance of promoting innovation and initiatives of think tanks through providing financial support, competition, capabilities of consulting and power of media.