Tag Archives: KSA

Negotiate with ISIS? Lessons from Arsal, Lebanon

In at least two instances, negotiations with the Islamic State led to significant results: the withdrawal of militants from the Lebanese town of Arsal and the under-reported liberation in early July of 46 Indian nurses in Iraq (Mosul).

What are these two cases telling us about ISIS? Can it be inferred that negotiations with the group are an option

Arsal

On August 2nd , ISIS launched an offensive on the city of Arsal[1] following the arrest by Lebanese security forces of Imad Ahmed Joumaa, a Jihadist who had recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

arsal view

ISIS was apparently in a position of strength – the militants took over the city in a blitzkrieg-style attack within a few hours and were later joined by Jabhat al Nusra. They were however strategically vulnerable, surrounded by the Lebanese army in a Hezbollah-dominated area, the Bekaa Valley.

map arsal

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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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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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