Egypt, February 16, 2020 – The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have concluded the Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development in Egypt, held under the directives of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of MBRF on February 10-13, 2020, under the umbrella of the Knowledge Project to promote the Global Knowledge Index (GKI) as an advocacy tool and to widely disseminate and embed it in policy debates.
Organised under the patronage of Dr Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Egypt’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development, the four-day the Knowledge Week brought together representatives from ministries and government departments, journalists, media professionals, researchers, representatives of the private sector and students.
Furthermore 72 young men and women were selected out of more than 1,000 applicants from different regions of Egypt to participate in a competition and present alternatives and recommendations concerning their vision for the future of Egypt and how to improve the country’s rank in the Global Knowledge Index.
Participants presented their innovative solutions to address developmental and knowledge challenges, establish a knowledge-driven society in Egypt, and ensure sustainable development in the country. They were divided into working groups covering the sectors of the Global Knowledge Index: pre-university education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, research, development and innovation, information and communications technology, and economy.
The Knowledge Week encouraged Egyptian youth to design a detailed action plan to address the challenges preventing the Egyptian community from becoming a knowledge-based society. The 72 participants worked on a detailed analysis of their proposed ideas during the first three days of the Knowledge Week, and presented their findings and recommendations on the final day to the decision-makers.
Speaking at the workshop, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr Khaled Abdel Ghaffar noted: “The continuous collaboration over the course of a year between the Ministry of Higher Education and the Knowledge Project, in which the strengths and weaknesses of Egypt’s performance have been studied since the announcement of the results of the Global Knowledge Index 2018. This was followed by exploring solutions to address different challenges. The result was that Egypt advanced 17 ranks in the Global Knowledge Index 2019, achieving a remarkable progress in higher education, where it ranked 49th globally.”
MBRF’s CEO His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb noted that the Foundation and its partners at the UNDP seek to engage young people in leading the development process. “The Global Knowledge Index offers a roadmap for the sustainable development of societies,” H.E. said.
Meanwhile, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt Richard Dictus explained: “Investing in knowledge positively affects education and skills development, which are key to ensuring that youth can drive sustainable change in the years to come. The Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development in Egypt was launched to engage youth, both young men and young women, and tap into their energy, creativity, and enthusiasm.”
For her part, CEO of Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development Nermeen Abou Gazia spoke about the importance of investing in human resources, saying, “investing in the human component in the field of science and technology is the basis for achieving any progress. From this standpoint, Al Alfi Foundation has partnered with the UNDP, MBRF and the Ministry of Higher Education to organise the Knowledge Week in Egypt.”
Chief Technical Advisor of the Knowledge Project at UNDP Dr Hany Torky stressed that the Knowledge Week has achieved its goals, “we were able to connect the Egyptian youth with the decision-makers. Important decisions were taken by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research to activate the recommendations and ideas presented by the youth, which confirms the success of the Knowledge Week in achieving its goals.”
At the conclusion of the week, Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar announced the launching of a ‘Higher Council of Knowledge’ composed of deans of relevant universities, and from which a ‘Knowledge Committee’ will be formed, with the participants of the Knowledge Week forming its first members. The council and the committee will be responsible for developing a proposal for a strategy to build a knowledge society in Egypt.
MBRF and the UNDP annannounced the results of the Knowledge Week for Sustainable Development, in which the three winning teams were offered all-expenses-paid trips to participate in the upcoming Knowledge Summit taking place in Dubai in 2021.
The Knowledge Week is part of a series of workshops and seminars to promote the use of the Global Knowledge Index as an advocacy tool and to disseminate it widely in political debates. The workshops target policymakers, decision-makers, students, youth, professors, and researchers to advance dialogue and raise awareness about the importance of knowledge and knowledge-based policies to achieve sustainable development.
The Global Knowledge Index 2019 covers 136 countries, it helps countries formulate forward-thinking strategies to support knowledge and promote it as a key component in building a stronger knowledge economy while ensuring sustainable development.