2013 has been a year that demonstrates the capacity of “Sharing Knowledge” to pursue and even extend its mission despite great difficulties.
“Sharing Knowledge 8” was initially planned to be held in Cairo, because Egypt (and this is still true) is the key country of the Arab World and of MENA area. Unfortunately, the political situation made this impossible, and therefore we turned to Morocco, our long-established partner of the Southern Shore of the Mediterranean. It was therefore only in April that we were able to announce our conference by end of May. Given this late date, many speakers already had other commitments, and fortunately, others agreed on short notice. The quality of the debates, and the recommendations adopted show that the 2013 “vintage” of SKF was among the best, dominated by a review of the consequences of the Arab revolutions as well as by the emergence of Africa as a continent increasingly becoming a huge market and not simply a raw material supplier. Electrification, the key to economical development meets obstacles due to the absence of collaboration between neighbouring countries, as well as the absence of a financial market that only exists in Morocco and South Africa. A debate that will continue, calls into question the maintenance of rural communities in view of the inexorable influx of people towards costal cities if agriculture remains based on subsistence instead of evolving towards a higher-added value model. The Millennium Goals to eliminate extreme poverty with its first 2015 beacon meets very complex obstacles, even some successes are emerging.
All our institutional « academic » partners have maintained their support, some have even increased it. Unfortunately, some of our important « corporate » partners have announced budgetary restrictions. We therefore had to reduce significantly the number of guests, which lead to frustrations from some of the regular attendees of our meetings.
Among the innovations combining modernization and economics, the videos posted on YouTube and Tweets were very successful.
To our deep regret, our dialogue between Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians on water issues in the Middle East, had to be suspended in our sessions of Tunis and Rabat. An initiative of the French diplomacy allowed us to renew with this topic, initiated in 2006 in Trieste, for which our knowledge is widely recognized. Our next session 2014 will take place in Europe, in Lisbon the 15th to 17th of May 2014 and this will again be part of the regular programme.
One of our great success, the grant of a fellowship at CERN for a Moroccan student, found its culmination in May 2013, when Mohamed Gouighri was appointed Assistant Professor at Agadir University. We are discussing the possibility to extend this opportunity to other students in the MENA zone, beginning with students from Palestinian universities.
Robert Klapisch, President of the Foundation