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TRENDS reveals details of its South Africa research tour

TRENDS reveals details of its South Africa research tour - (PHOTO: MOSTAFA REDA)
9 July 2024 10:50


TRENDS Research and Advisory has revealed the details of its upcoming research tour in South Africa, scheduled from July 15-20, 2024, to celebrate the inauguration of its physical office in Cape Town.

The tour will feature several activities, including the first event of the TRENDS Global Round Tables Series: Middle East and Africa, with representatives of leading think tanks in the Middle East and Africa discussing topics of shared interest.

Held in the TRENDS Conference Hall, the media briefing was moderated by Sultan Al-Badi, presenter at Sky News Arabia, and attended by Dr. Hamad Al-Kaabi, Head of Aletihad News Center, Jamal Nasser Al-Suwaider, Executive Director of Emirates News Agency, Jassim Mohammed, Head of the European Center for Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Studies, the Director of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper's office, and several local journalists, media personalities, social media influencers, and researchers.

Dr. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ali, CEO of TRENDS Research and Advisory, stated that the research tour in South Africa would be diverse and rich, featuring a global roundtable including key think tanks from Africa and the Middle East. The roundtable aims to explore the relationship between the two regions, foster constructive dialogue with these think tanks, and exchange best practices in public policy planning and management.

He added that the tour would start with the official inauguration of TRENDS' office in Cape Town, which aims to strengthen scientific and research cooperation with Sub-Saharan African countries. This office complements the existing virtual offices in Cairo and Rabat and is part of a network of physical and virtual offices across seven countries.

During the tour, Dr. Al-Ali pointed out that TRENDS researchers would explore cooperation opportunities with South African think tanks. "Africa is a continent with vast growth opportunities and promising development prospects," he said.

"TRENDS believes that enhancing research cooperation with think tanks in this continent is essential to understanding the challenges and opportunities it presents." He also noted that three of TRENDS' seven external offices are located in Africa, with Cape Town being the first physical presence outside the UAE.

Dr. Al-Ali explained that TRENDS' interest in Africa and focus on enhancing research cooperation with key think tanks and academic institutions stem from several considerations. Africa offers enormous growth opportunities and promising developmental prospects, making it a global focal point and a stage for geopolitical and economic competition among various international powers. As a think tank that emphasizes the future and analyses global opportunities and challenges, TRENDS must have a presence in this region.

He added that Africa also hosts the largest free trade area in the world and a market comprising 1.2 billion people, with vast natural and human resources. TRENDS must be on the ground to understand this continent's various dynamics.

Dr. Al-Ali further explained that another consideration is to enhance research and scientific dialogue with different think tanks in Africa to understand the continent's challenges and opportunities better, serving the interests of all parties involved.

Key Media Partner

Dr. Hamad Al-Kaabi, Head of Aletihad News Center, discussed the role of Aletihad News Center as a key media partner for the event. He highlighted this partnership's benefits, including comprehensive and in-depth coverage of TRENDS' regional activities, including conferences, events, and workshops.

  • TRENDS reveals details of its South Africa research tour

He praised TRENDS for its effective global outreach through its research and studies, acknowledging the successful collaboration between Aletihad News Center and TRENDS in providing valuable media content and generating rich global knowledge.

He stated that both sides have achieved numerous successes and have rich experiences, emphasizing that TRENDS has become a leading research platform. “It brings together thinkers, researchers, and officials worldwide to discuss the most pressing issues today,” he added.

Dr. Al-Kaabi reiterated Aletihad News Center's commitment to delivering high-quality news coverage and expressed his enthusiasm for working with TRENDS to ensure the tour's success. He also emphasised the shared humanitarian values between the UAE and South Africa.

Knowledge Bridges

Nasser Mohammed Al-Ali, Head of Administrative Affairs and Human Resources at TRENDS, provided details about the inauguration of the South Africa office. He noted that the office is located in Cape Town and is the first physical presence of TRENDS in Africa.

The office aims to enhance collaboration between TRENDS and think tanks in Africa, focusing on conducting studies and research on the continent's political, economic, and social issues.

He discussed TRENDS' external offices within its global vision and strategy, which aims to solidify the center's position as a leading international platform for knowledge and research. The goal is to expand its reach, establish partnerships with major think tanks worldwide, and act as a link between regional and international research institutions.

Nasser Al-Ali explained that TRENDS' international offices act as knowledge bridges, allowing direct communication with researchers, experts, and enthusiasts across various fields.

These offices enable TRENDS to reach a broader audience of researchers and experts worldwide, informing them of its achievements, research, and studies and supporting the main headquarters in Abu Dhabi with specialised research and studies.

TRENDS Global Round Tables

Sumaya Al-Hadhrami, Deputy Head of TRENDS Global Sector, revealed details about the TRENDS Global Round Tables Series: Middle East and Africa. She explained that the first event in this series, titled Unlocking the Potential of Think Tanks: New Ideas and Innovative Strategies for Impactful Engagement, would be held on July 16, 2024, to mark the inauguration of TRENDS' physical office in South Africa. 

Representatives from leading think tanks in the Middle East and Africa will be invited to discuss topics of mutual interest. She outlined that the TRENDS Global Round Tables Series aims to analyse the impact of think tanks on public policies and governance, assess and analyse this impact globally, initiate useful dialogues, exchange experiences, generate ideas, and contribute to developing knowledge on key trends, challenges, opportunities, and prospects related to building capacities and enhancing the effectiveness of research centers in the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Al-Hadhrami noted that the objectives of the TRENDS Global Round Tables Series include evaluating the role of think tanks and the added value they provide in public policy planning and management in their respective countries.

The series also aims to identify the challenges faced by think tanks in performing their tasks, explore opportunities for cooperation between TRENDS and think tanks in the Middle East and Africa to improve research outcomes, and establish a network of think tanks with shared interests.

She added that a reception for the roundtable guests will be held on July 15, 2024, to mark the office's inauguration. Additionally, podcast episodes will be recorded with several invited speakers from various African countries.

Al-Hadhrami mentioned that the tour would dedicate a whole day to celebrating the values of peace, freedom, and humanitarian action with Aletihad News Center.

This will include visiting Mr. Zondwa Mandela, Chairman of the Mandela Legacy Foundation (Nelson Mandela's grandson), on Nelson Mandela International Day (July 18, 2024). The team will also visit community development centers affiliated with the Mandela Legacy Foundation.

Research Partnerships

Fatima Al-Yamahi, Partnerships Specialist, detailed the visits to universities and think tanks in Cape Town. She explained that discussions would be held with the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University (BER), the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa at Stellenbosch University (SIGLA), the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town (DPRU), and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).

Al-Yamahi stated that TRENDS researchers would explore opportunities for cooperation with these think tanks to enhance research collaboration and open new avenues to understand Africa more closely and deeply.


Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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