Addressing a high-level audience of government officials, ambassadors, and private sector representatives as a guest speaker at the February 18th “Rendezvous Series” at Capital Club Bahrain, IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji highlighted key IPI initiatives that focus on managing risk and building resilient societies.
Mr. Friji called for further commitment for achieving regional cooperation and integration through sustainable development and peace in the MENA region. He stressed the importance of integrating universal values of diplomacy and dialogue across all sectors of society.
Pointing to the European Union’s formation following the World Wars as an example of regional integration, Mr. Friji stressed the need for a “homegrown” initiative in the Middle East and North Africa.
“We must engage regional players to find solutions to regional problems that are connected to wider global issues,” he stated. He underlined the formation of IPI’s Taskforce on Regional Cooperation and Integration in the MENA Region as a core project aiming to produce concrete, actionable ideas for cooperation.
Highlighting IPI’s mission promote peace through multilateralism, Mr. Friji referred to the Independent Commission on Multilateralism Report (ICM), an international, multi-stakeholder process organized by IPI and chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for its role in making the United Nations more “fit for purpose.”
Mr. Friji also emphasized the value of IPI’s Water Diplomacy and Energy Security initiatives as two fundamental areas of focus within the Taskforce project.
During an interactive slide-show presenting the Global Leaders Series, Mr. Friji said, that the initiative’s aim “is to engage in debate that will nurture a constructive and dynamic exchange of views on a range of issues—peacebuilding, development and security.”
Mr. Friji pointed to an initiative running parallel to IPI’s Global Leaders Series, the Future Leaders Series, which provides a platform to actively involve and empower youth as writers and key actors in the promotion of the Culture and Education of Peace.
He also noted the recent book launch of 17 SDGs (UN Sustainable Development Goals) by 12-year old Adam Jade Kadia, the youngest peace writer in the region, which was held at IPI MENA as part of the Future Leaders Series program. The book launch convened dozens of schoolchildren to discuss their contribution to promoting the SDGs within their societies.
Concluding the interactive session, Mr. Friji urged participants to invest in human resources to build sound and resilient societies.