July 18, 2012


Middle East education reform think tank project

Ted Purinton and Amir ElSawy at the American University in Cairo have set up a blog for the project where they will keep us updated of their progress. From their introduction:

This blog is a component of a project we are working on regarding the communication challenges that think tanks have in conveying complex research to diverse audiences. Our work is a subset of a larger project organized by GDNet. Our specific aim is to examine how think tanks communicate research–and most importantly, policy recommendations–to policymakers, reformers, journalists, and other researchers in the Middle East, specifically on the topic of education, at both the university and pre-university levels. We are concerned with the issues that arise from disconnects between the international trends in education reform and the local beliefs and institutionalized practices of education in Arab countries. With this in mind, we would like to introduce ourselves and the format of this blog.

Of course, it is not appropriate to generalize across MENA countries, or even across MENA countries that have been sites of protest in the past two years. Yet, with a common language and religion, MENA countries are often targeted simultaneously by think tank research and advocacy messages. We are interested in understanding the complexities, contradictions, commonalities, challenges, and successes of think tank research and advocacy for educational reform. We will begin with Egypt, but we will also explore Gulf countries, and a few other countries undergoing social and political change. Our intent is to understand how the shaping of messages can take into account the complicated regional changes and still promote positive and productive educational reform. Our main interest, of course, is indeed educational reform, and especially coming from an “American” university, even our efforts are highly questioned within Egypt. Yet if we desire to influence educational reform, we have to ensure that our messages, and the vehicles we use to convey our messages, are appropriate, sensitive, and targeted. Understanding how to do so is the purpose of our chapter.

You can find the book here: Communicating complex ideas: the book

About the author:

Enrique Mendizabal:  Founder, On Think Tanks

Read more from: Enrique Mendizabal