As diverse as they are, Arab nations share a history of remarkable intellectual and scientific achievement. Yet as a group, these 22 countries lag behind other regions—and their own potential—in educational achievement, scientific advances, and economic growth, as noted five years ago in a United Nations Development Program study. The UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report 2003 offered several recommendations to address these shortcomings.
On June 16, the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World released A New Millennium of Knowledge? The Arab Human Development Report on Building a Knowledge Society, Five Years On, written by Saban Center Fellow Kristin Lord, which draws on the insights of a distinguished panel of experts in the Arab world. Lord discussed her conclusions about what changed over the past five years—what successes Arab nations have achieved toward building a knowledge society, what efforts have failed and what work remains to be done.
Lord was joined by Rami Khouri, renowned Lebanese political commentator and director of the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs; and Amr Gohar, CEO and managing director of Egypt’s National Telecom Card Company and one of the report’s expert advisers. Stephen R. Grand, director of Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.