EFE Vice President Jasmine Nahhas di Florio recently spoke at the 2013 Arab Strategy Forum in the United Arab Emirates. The event took place on March 26 and 27 and was organized by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.
Launched in 2001, the Arab Strategy Forum has become a focus point of Arab strategic thinking as well as a consistent launch pad for new programs across the region.
This year's edition centered on the theme of â€œSocial Networks and Knowledge Society.â€ Over the two day conference, numerous speakers touched on how social network proliferation has spawned a knowledge-based-society, while others speculated about the future directions of social networks in the Arab world â€“ specifically their relation to traditional Arab media outlets and civil society organizations.
Ms. Nahhas di Florio touched on all these topics in her speech and focused her comments on the impact social networks have had on existing civil society organizations like EFE. Drawing from specific examples from across the EFE Network, Jasmine demonstrated how successful civil society organizations can and have used social networks to buttress their missions among youth, corporate and civil society stakeholders. She also called attention to existing challenges that remain, particularly in regards to infrastructure and the need for sharing of social media best practices and expertise among organizations.
The entire event, and Ms. Nahhas di Florio's address as well, reflected optimism and hope for the future. Participants predicted that Arab youth might use social media to improve their lives, and that organizations in turn could be able to harness social media to expand their access to the youth generations.