By Aalaa Halaka
Barbara Shenstone is the regional director of IDRC in MENA. She was a panelist on the 1st plenary session of our 25th annual conference in Kuwait. Following the theme of the plenary session “Knowledge, Economic Networks, and Development Policy”, Ms. Shenstone talks about the different developmental challenges facing the MENA region nowadays, and the important role of knowledge and research in supporting effective policy making.
As the region steams with major developmental challenges, including migration, governance, education and economies in transition, the role of researchers has never been more critical in supporting the region’s development. She argues that doing research has come a long way from the old days of publishing and “hoping it gets picked up”; but rather that advancement in dissemination and the availability of publicly accessible quality data has promoted the development of communities of practice.
Researchers in the MENA region still struggle to work across borders, sectors and institutions. She argues that ERF plays an important role in bridging the gaps in the process of doing research and bringing researchers of the region together, where they can share and learn from each other.
The Economic Research Forum’s 25th Annual Conference is held in Kuwait City, on 10-12 March, 2019, under the theme of Knowledge, Research Networks, and Development Policy. . Visit the conference website to find out more about the event and access papers, videos and blogs.