FIKR 10…. and Current Affairs

The annual Conference of the Arab Thought Foundation (FIKR) is of an exceptional importance this year since it coincides with its tenth anniversary and intersects with the critical events our Arab World is witnessing.
The Arab Thought Foundation (ATF) was keen, for over a decade now, to directly contribute to the stimulation of the Arab intellectual scene through the observation of events and the launch of new constructive horizons. FIKR Conference was continually a pioneer in considering the present and the future of the Arab Nation, observing the current events and mobilizing the intellectual capacities to address the cultural, economic, social, political and over all developmental challenges our Arab World is facing.

There is no doubt that the events currently shaking our Arab World, and termed  “The Arab Spring” by the journalists, are unprecedented in nature, size or expanse. They necessitate the mobilization of all potentials, capacities and efforts to start a deep and rational dialogue about the reasons behind them and about their outcomes, to observe and analyze their facts and to come out with results that will benefit the Arab nation and the future of the coming generations.

Hence the title of the tenth annual Conference of the Arab Thought Foundation (FIKR); “Arab Spring: What’s Next?” addressing the heart of the matter and raising the concerns and questions of individuals involved in the Arab Spring events, from optimists hoping to pessimists fearing its outcomes.
In 2001, Cairo witnessed the establishment of this Foundation. Shortly after that, in the fall of 2001 our Arab World began suffering from the repercussions of September 11 events which was embodied in the most aggressive media attack against Arabs and Muslims.

The intellectual activities of ATF started with its first annual conference, held in Cairo in 2002, in this atmosphere. During the following years, ATF’s FIKR conference was held in different Arab capitals and cities.
In Beirut, the conference raised, in its second round, the issue of “Exploring the Arab future”, inferring a future vision that may be useful in laying down the foundation of a comprehensive and renewed Arab vision.
Thereafter, the third FIKR conference was held in Marrakech, Morocco. It brought to the discussion table the issue of “the Culture of Change and the Changing Culture”, as if it was exploring the need to make the change ourselves instead of it being imposed us.

Dubai was the fourth station for FIKR, where the conference tackled the issue of Arabs and International media under the title “Arabs and World Media, between coverage and reality”, calling for permanent loyalty to truth, its coverage and presentation to the public in all details, with objective presentation and commentary.
FIKR 5 could not be held in Beirut because of Israeli destructive war on Lebanon in July 2006 and the ensuing security events. At that time, FIKR could not but carry  the banner of “Lebanon is stronger with Arab Solidarity”.

FIKR 6 conference was held in Bahrain and, and as usual, it went to the heart of the hot topics. It launched new perspectives for Arab strategies in the era of globalization. The conference celebrated creativity and honored Arab innovators. ATF concluded its activities by launching its Arab Creativity Award covering seven different fields.

In Cairo, FIKR 7 was faithful to the Conference’s commitment. It tackled the issue of “Culture of Development” that is vital and mandatory to the success of the Arabs renaissance project. During the conference, ATF launched the first annual and comprehensive report on cultural development in the Arab World.

In its 8th edition, FIKR adopted initiatives and efforts that would stimulate the Arabs economic integration. This time, from Kuwait where the first Arab Economic Summit was held, calling for the consolidation of the Arab economic ties in order to achieve Arab prosperity.
In its ninth anniversary, the conference returned to Beirut to draw new maps for emerging opportunities, and the future of the Arab World.

ATF’s first annual FIKR Conference generated a cultural movement, changing the stereotypes, liberating Arabs from stagnation and releasing their creative capabilities and potentials, at the time when the Arabs were under the microscope following the September 11th events. Once again under the microscope this year, the foundation’s tenth annual FIKR conference is tackling the issue of change and ways to manage it, and predict its outcomes, if it were positive or negative. FIKR 10 Conference is carefully addressing these issues, with hopes that it will answer the different questions, concerns, nightmares, dreams and future visions.

As ATF was always devoted to promote a culture of optimism and hope, it remains hopeful and optimistic that this conference will unveil the visions that will lead to building a better future for this great Nation.