Civic Engagement in MENA

January 2021

Hosted by WASD in collaboration with the Middle Eastern Knowledge Economy Institute (MEKEI).

Target audience: Private sector, business, SMEs, academics, researchers, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society groups, youth, students and other stakeholders.

Ever since the dawn of history, Humans have formed themselves in groups that govern themselves and dictated rules and methods by which governance, trade, and financial interaction are conducted. The growth of the information age has given rise to new and a multitude of tools and techniques by which communities from around the world interacted. In this age of information and communication technology, new social network systems such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest have emerged to facilitate mutual communication. Facebook alone is estimated to have 2.7 billion active users as of the second quarter of 2020 (Statista,2020). These social networks are growing at an exponential rate and encompassing users from all corners of the globe. Hence the expansion of these networks has provided a new medium for multitudes worldwide to communicate and interact.


During the last decade of internet growth, we have seen the evolution of collaboration and planning for internet-based civic engagement initiatives throughout the middle east and north Africa region. In Thomas Ehrlich of Stanford university’s work titled Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, civic engagement is defined as “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.” Furthermore, civic engagement importance is critical for the growth of communities and its social capital development. The book points out that “A morally and civically responsible individual recognizes himself or herself as a member of a larger social fabric and therefore considers social problems to be at least partly his or her own; such an individual is willing to see the moral and civic dimensions of issues, to make and justify informed moral and civic judgments, and to take action when appropriate.”.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, we have seen tremendous growth in civic engagement initiatives from around the area. Examples could be seen across the MENA region from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, and Sudan. Many of these were developed using internet-enabled tools such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In this webinar, we wish to explore the growth and development of civic engagement in the MENA region during the last decade and explore lessons learned and propose recommendations to refine current and future initiatives.

Global Minds Debate

The aim of these series of Global Minds Debates is to stimulate and excite people from across the world about the current important topics around the world and particularly the topics selected for our annual conferences. Given the current global lockdown from the Coronavirus pandemic, WASD is very keen to share theses debates with our global audience live on WASD Facebook page using various live streaming applications. Each roundtable debate is different ranging from 2-3 international experts talking live for about 45mins to 1 hr max, no slides but rather global minds conversation. Furthermore, we also keen to publish the outcome of all debates in the series in any suitable books and/or journals published by WASD.