Why People to People Engagement in the MENA Region Matters
Adrian Chadwick OBE, Regional Director of the Middle East and North Africa region
The MBI Al Jaber Foundation hosted its first lecture of 2017 on Thursday 19th January at the MBI Al Jaber Seminar Room in Russell Square. Adrian Chadwick OBE, Regional Director of the Middle East and North Africa region, presented “Why People to People Engagement in the MENA Region Matters”. He made the case for why he believes that more than ever before people to people engagement in the region matters to the UK.
The MENA region is of the utmost importance to the UK and the British Council, as it covers 17 countries, approximately 350 million people, and involves some of the most challenging and important work the British Council does globally.
Drawing on examples from the British Council’s work in the region, Adrian showed how people to people engagement has a beneficial effect, enabling the UK to build up connections and channels that broaden its influence, inform understanding and build mutual trust in a way that is long term and mutual. He also provided examples of how the UK is providing opportunities to young people in one of the world's most youthful regions and is helping to position them as part of the solution to the region’s challenges, rather than allowing young populations to be viewed as a burden or a threat.
Adrian discussed the fragmentation of traditional structures, the use of mass peer-to-peer contact through social media, and the opportunities for the UK to engage with this growing and increasingly influential section of society. He concluded with his views on what more could be done.
The fourth lecture in the MBI Al Jaber lecture series, “The European Discovery of Medieval Cairo”, will take place at 5.45pm on Thursday, 16th February and will be presented by Emeritus Professor Doris Behrens-Abouseif from the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS. We look forward to seeing you there!