The Saudi capital, Riyadh, witnessed the launch of the first Saudi school for thought makers, aimed at creating a generation of Saudi thinkers, in a practical initiative to support the thought-making sector and advance it to international levels, according to a forward-looking vision and a solid scientific approach that is in line with the requirements of Vision 2030.
The announcement of the launch of the school was made by the head of the Center for Research and Knowledge Communication, Dr. Yahya Neid, on the sidelines of a workshop entitled “Saudi Think Tanks: The Road to 2030”, in cooperation between the Center for Research and Knowledge Communication, the International Think Tanks Organization (OTT), and the “DEVE” initiative. Specialized in developing and empowering think tanks and civil society institutions in the Middle East and North Africa. It was attended by a number of Saudi directors and heads of centers, and a group of researchers and academics concerned with this matter.
The symposium included three sessions, the first entitled: Saudi Think Tanks: Reality and Challenges. It was moderated by the advisor and researcher at the Center for Research and Knowledge Communication, Dr. Ali Al-Khashiban, and the director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies, Dr. Mansour Al-Marzouqi, and the researcher specializing in the field of think tanks, Dr. Afaf Al-Ansi, participated in it.
The second session was titled: “Saudi Think Tanks in a Global Environment” moderated by Dr. Al-Khashiban, with the participation of Keith Burnet, former Director of Communications at Chatham House, and Enrique Mandizabal, President of the Global Think Tanks Organization.
The third session was titled: “The Path to Creativity and the Road to 2030”, and it was moderated by Luis Orlandi, Director of Growth Affairs at the Global Think Tanks Organization, and Enrique Mandizabal, Executive Director of the Center, Abdullah Al-Kuwailit, participated in it.
During the opening of the workshop, Dr. Ibn Junaid stressed the importance of intensifying cooperation between research and thought centers in the Kingdom and exchanging experiences and meetings with similar ones abroad, stressing that the workshop held on this occasion seeks to identify the current status of the centers, and seeks ways to develop them to serve the goals of Saudi Arabia in light of Vision 2030. .
Ibn Junaid drew attention to the importance of manpower in think tanks, and the need to develop them and prepare them with systematic training and scholarship programs, in coordination with the Ministry of Education. He mentioned that there is a need for the centers to cooperate with Saudi libraries and information centers, to be a source of information. He explained that it is important for the centers to adopt “visiting researcher” programs among themselves, in order for the exchange of visits to take place between its researchers in Saudi Arabia and abroad, and for coordination to receive researchers from all over the world, with the aim of enriching their information about the Kingdom and deepening their understanding of its contemporary role.
Dr. Al-Marzouqi’s paper contained a review of the reality of think tanks in Saudi Arabia and the most prominent challenges they face. His presentation was divided into three sections, the first of which is: the definition of think tanks, and the most important differences between them and other incubators of knowledge production. Second: the most prominent features of think tanks in Saudi Arabia. And the third: the most prominent challenges facing think tanks in the Kingdom.
Al-Marzouqi urged that important national bodies undertake to overcome the difficulties facing think tanks in Saudi Arabia, and to create a governance space that helps conduct a discussion related to their standards and positive competition between them, in a manner that serves commitment to quality and the scientific method. He also called for the establishment of a “studies bank” that would classify topics and research, allowing intellectual centers to exchange their latest findings, and prevent the same tasks from being repeated.
The Brent paper reviewed the mechanisms of communication in think tanks, common errors in them, the most important modern practices of communication and exchange of experiences, and means of enhancing the mental image of the centers.
As for Mandizabal’s participation, it included a quick narration of the history of think tanks in the West and the institutes of international studies, and he talked about cooperation between think tanks in the world, and the need for them to adapt to today’s challenges. The political, intellectual and economic challenges facing the work of these centers, and the creative opportunities available to them at the present time.
The Quilite participation focused on a number of obstacles that must be overcome for the development of researchers, funding problems, and the importance of cooperation with universities and counterpart centers.
It is noteworthy that the Saudi School for Thought Makers, which was launched on this occasion, is a practical initiative that seeks to prepare research and strategic competencies, in a way that contributes to strengthening the think tank sector in Saudi Arabia, in order to advance this sector, in a way that supports reader makers and builds public policies, according to scientific foundations. authentic.