NGC on BBC about Hezbollah and the Nuclear Deal

BBC Arabic asked NGC Director to discuss potential contacts between the US and Hezbollah, as well as Hezbollah’s positioning following the nuclear interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1.

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The Syrian Armed Opposition – Balance of Power, Tactical Goals and Long Term Agenda

ISIS with child

ISIS Fighters

NGC is very pleased to announce that Romain Caillet, a French researcher specialized in Islamist movements, has joined our team. Romain brings along his precious expertise on Salafist and Jihadist movements, the Syrian civil war and more generally on the Sunni/Shia relation in the Arab world. Find out more about him on our website.

NGC sat with Romain to discuss the status of the armed opposition to the Syrian regime, and try to identify:

(1)     The current balance of power between the different groups,

(2)     Their tactical and long-term goals as well as potential future scenarios

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Beyond Fikr 12: a Strategic Initiative on Academic Employability in the Arab World

HRH-Prince-Khalid

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Makkah Governor and ATF chairman

In his closing remarks, Fikr 12 Executive Director Hamad Abdullah Al Ammari announced the Arab Thought Foundation’s resolve to launch two strategic initiatives to enable job creation in the Arab World.

The first initiative aims at setting up a strategy to facilitate investments and create jobs in the region. The second Pilot initiative aims at ranking Arab universities’ employability (i.e. graduates’ ability to find appropriate job opportunities) in three different countries: Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Morocco.

This project, based on in-depth research by NGC and designed in close collaboration with the ATF, would represent an important contribution to better matching graduates’ skills and labor market needs, thus helping reduce Youth unemployment.

The importance of Culture, mindset and Education to help solve the tragedy of Youth unemployment was one of the key results of the special Fikr 12 report on Job creation conducted by PwC[1]. The need to reform Higher Education was highlighted throughout the Conference by political leaders, members of the private sector as well as researchers.

Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Ibrahim Saif said the Middle East must ensure that “the region produces not only an educated, but an employable generation.”

According to Waleed Al-Banawi, chairman and founder, JISR, Saudi Arabia: “The system of education prevailing in the Arab nations is producing thousands of graduates providing them with only theoretical knowledge. Instead, the graduates coming out of the Arab universities must be equipped with soft skills such as communication and analytical abilities.”

Marwan Iskandar, economy expert from Lebanon, stressed the need to enhance education levels in the region and update curricula to meet the job requirements in the market. to read more on the Conference’s discussions, check here.

More to come soon on this ambitious initiative!


[1] 86% of the surveyed population considers that raising education levels is very important to improve youth unemployment.

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New Publication on the Syrian Conflict

Pas de printemps JPEGWe are very proud to anounce the publication by La Decouverte Editions  in French of “Pas de printemps pour la Syrie – Les clés  pour comprendre les acteurs et les défis de la crise, 2011-2013” (“Won’t there be a Syrian Spring? Keys to understand the players and the challenges of the crisis (2011-2013)”) under the supervision of the French Institute of the Near East (IFPO).

This collective work brings together the contributions of more than 20 experts among the best connoisseurs of the Middle East and Syria. NGC Director, Janaina Herrera contributed by bringing a unique expertise on the Syro-Lebanese diaspora in Latin America and its positioning vis a vis the Syrian crisis. For a detailed table of contents and list of authors (in French), click here.

Focusing on information collected as close to the source as possible, this important book highlights the historical roots of the crisis, analyzes the issues at stake and scrutinizes its political, economic and ideological implications.

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NGC Special Report: How can we help Arab Entrepreneurs?

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NGC was honored, as a Knowledge Partner of the Arab Thought Foundation, to plan and moderate the Fikr 12 workshop on “Entrepreneurship and Start ups: from individual achievement to collective success” (Ritz Carlton Dubai, 5th December 2013) with the valuable participation of distinguished guests representing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Arab world:

H.E. Mr. Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO, Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (“Dubai SME”), United Arab Emirates
Dr. Khalid bin Othman Al-Yahya, Managing Director, Accenture Management Consulting, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Mr. Eyhab AlHajj, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Prosper, Sultanate of Oman
Mr. Fadi Bizri, Managing Director, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, Lebanese Republic
Mr. Ziad Mabsout, Financial Consultant and Analyst, Lebanese Republic

Following a brief presentation, NGC co-founder, Issam al Khatib, moderated a lively session based on Q&A with the speakers and the public to better define obstacles to entrepreneurship in the Arab countries and identify priority reforms.
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Can Entrepreneurs save the Arab World?

The incredible media buzz around Chris Schroeder’s bookStartup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East” is, per se, a very telling fact. A new positive narrative on the MENA region is in the making: in the gloomy Arab winter of the failed revolutions, a bright glimmer of hope is emerging; despite everything, a new generation of daring entrepreneurs is carving out a future for the region.

The heroic figure of the individual rising up against all obstacles – institutions, conflicts, repression…- seems to satisfy simultaneously the liberalism of westerners, the orientalism of regional connoisseurs, Arab’s dignity and the need for international organizations to circumvent failing/”unfriendly” state institutions.

However, this opportune “positive thinking” on the Arab world entails a number of implicit assumptions that must be analyzed and questioned. In the context of the upcoming Fikr 12 Conference on “Enabling Job Creation in the Arab World” (Dubai, 4-5th December 2013), we would like to explore these assumptions.
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NGC becomes Knowledge Partner of the Arab Thought Foundation

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We are very proud to announce our new partnership with the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF),  a leading international non-profit organization that aims at advancing Arab intellectual development through an open dialogue between the business community, academia and civil society.

Every year, the ATF organizes the prestigious “FIKR Conference”, a unique multistakeholder platform that brings together more than 800 Arab and international leaders. This year, FIKR12 will take place in Dubai on the 4th and 5th of December, and will be focused on the challenging topic:  “Enabling Job Creation in the Arab World”.

As an official ATF Knowledge Partner, NGC will have the honor to co-organize and moderate the “Entrepreneurship and Start ups” workshop (5th December) and to contribute to the strategic thinking and design of a special initiative. 

More to come soon on FIKR 12 and our collaboration with the ATF.

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Remarks on the Legality of Potential Strikes on Syria

un-flag-square With the procrastination of military action and national parliaments’ growing involvement, debates over the legality, legitimacy and efficiency of potential strikes against the Syrian regime are getting increasingly polarized.

In that context, we would like to share a set of arguments regarding the issue of the legality of  an intervention in the face of UN Security Council’s paralysis. Continue reading

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NGC on BBC to Discuss the Intervention in Syria

chemicalsNGC Managing Director was invited by the BBC World Have Your Say to participate in the Radio and TV program on the Syrian crisis.

Along with NGC, other participants from Moscow, London, the US and Syria discussed who was behind the chemical attacks in Damascus and how the international community should react.

The Radio debate (link here) focused on the option of a military intervention, in particular on a No Fly Zone Option, while the TV debate was centered on the issue of the responsibilities.

NGC Director explained why a chemical attack by the Syrian rebels or the djihadists was not a convincing scenario. She highligheted the cost of inaction and advocated for a limited no fly zone.

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NGC Special Report – Making Sense of Brazilian Protests

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

Dancing Shadows on the Brazilian Congress

NGC is proud to share with you its latest Special Report on the protests in Brazil.

We happened to be in Sao Paulo in June 2013 for a month-long research mission, when the protests against the bus fare hike broke out.

We decided to try to make sense of this historical upheaval, mobilizing our two-year experience in the field of Public Healthcare in a favela of Rio and interviewing Brazilians from the Public, Private and Third-sector Organizations in Sao Paulo, Rio and Brasilia.

This report is but a small contribution to a larger discussion that is just beginning, let us know your thoughts and share with us your analysis!

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