Published on 4/5/2021

With the participation of 117 leading scholars and researchers in the field of research and regional specialization from 76 countries, the Governance of public policies during and after conflicts in the Middle East conference kicked off yesterday. The three-day virtual event is organized by the School of Public Administration and Development Economics (SPADE) at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI).

The conference started with a welcome speech presented by Dr. Abdelwahab El Affendi, DI Acting President and Dr. Hamid Ali, Dean of SPADE.

Keynote speaker, His Excellency Mr. Bar Olaf Steinbeck, Former Minister of Education, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Former Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said that a nation is dependent on its image in the world. A good image is one of the most valuable assets and gives better protection against interference and aggression than a tank brigade. A good image is best built by nations which adhere to international norms concerning rule-of law, upholding a reliable judicial system. This is good for business, it is good for tourism, it is good for lasting relations with many important partners. 

This is why my last point refers to democracy. I have no naïve dreams that the authoritarian regimes around the world will turn democratic in the sense I understand the ideal. I accept the reality that societies and nations are entangled by their history, their cultural and religious traditions. Nevertheless, I like to point out that the world enters a phase when many nations must choose their allegiances: Do you move in a more authoritarian direction or are you willing to accept and adhere to the fundamental rules inscribed in the UN and other conventions?

"We do not need a Middle East region as a battleground of values, but we need a region who can formulate solid and lasting values that give it a respected place in the modern world. If leaders and interest groups pick governance models and policies suitable to their short-term interests, we will not witness the renewal needed, the recreation of Arabia Felix," he added. 

In his part, the conference Chair, Dr. Moosa Elayah stated that the aim of this conference is to raise awareness about the governance of public policies during and after conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, a region that suffers from multiple conflicts, yet there is a dearth of academic research related to public policies and their industry in times of conflict.

Many topics were discussed on the first day including the Roles and Politics of Civil Society During and After Conflicts, Civil Society, NGOs, and Peace Techniques—A Comparison of U.S. and MENA Non-State Actors, Resources, and Promising Strategies, A Decade After Arab Uprising: The Role of Civil Society in Expanding the Meaning of Traditional Security, Informal/Contested Governance, Political Bargaining and Corruption and E – Governance, Migrations and Refugees.