Asbar Council …foundation story.
The story of Asbar Council started on the evening of April 5, 2015, when the Chairman of Asbar Center for Studies, Research and Communication, Dr. Fahd Al-Orabi Al-Harthi invited to a special dinner colleagues who contributed to drafting the national strategy “Culture of Generation.” The invitees expected that this would be their last meeting as a group, but what happened at the end of the meeting took a different turn. Dr. Fahd suggested that communication among the contributors of the strategy may continue by creating a group on “WhatsApp.”Indeed, the group was created on the spot, and later on, discussions started on various issues. No one had imagined that what started as a “WhatsApp” group would become, within a few months, the largest council of Arab intellectuals, not only with fame or community knowledge but also with the quality of the contributors and the volume of its production.
The Council’s journey began with an institutionalization process that ensured sustainability following innovative regulations and business procedures that employed the best technology. A supervisory committee was established for the Council with defined tasks. The Council’s vision, mission, objectives, regulations, and procedures were laid down. Several committees were also formed for the Council, and clear mechanisms were put in place to nominate and select the members, make decisions and run the discussions.
The Council’s objectives included deepening knowledge of the latest events and community issues, enhancing the values of dialogue, exchanging opinions between intellectual and cultural elites, providing specialized cultural and intellectual visions about the developments, transforming them into a reference material for those who are interested, proposing scientific and practical solutions to the existing problems and presenting some initiatives regarding them.
The distinguished intellectual production of the Council was not surprising to its contemporaries since the beginning. The Council is proud that its members are among the best thinkers, intellectuals, academics, and media men and women. They tallied more than seventy members, with specializations in political, economic, educational, social, and other disciplines. These elite have devoted a lot of time and effort to enriching the Council with their opinions, studies, and positive offerings, whose goal has always been setting the interest of the nation and the citizen at the forefront and rationalizing decision-making at all levels.
Despite the short life of the Council, its accomplishments exceeded the expectations, as it documented all dialogues in monthly and quarterly reports amounting to nine electronic reports; seven of them were printed books, some of which exceeded 400 pages of medium size, and two quarterly reports were published in two books.
The reports documented the members’ discussions and ideas. Two substantive reports were prepared: one on economic and strategic non-oil alternatives, and the other on Zakat Regulation as one of the most important tributaries of addressing poverty in contemporary Saudi society. Then, these reports were offered – as is the case with the rest of reports – to the decision-makers. The Council also made all reports available to those interested in various institutions.
Among the key Council activities is the “issue of the week”, the subject of which is carefully chosen for interaction with local and international events. A member of the Council is delegated to write on the issue which is in his field of interest and two members of the Council provide their comment. The weekly issues raised so far have reached more than Thirty-five and they were all documented in the reports issued by the Council.
Also, among the key activities of the Council is the periodical meetings that are held every month. These meetings included international, regional and Saudi figures. The activities started with the global economic expert Professor Khaled Malik, who addressed some aspects of economy and development in the Kingdom benchmarked with global indexes. This was followed by the second meeting with the Saudi Minister of Labor. Then the third meeting took place with the Minister of Housing. The two ministers talked about the strategies of their ministries, their future, and challenges facing the goals.The fourth monthly meeting were with the Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Riadh Yassin, and the fifth was with the Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States Dr. Abdul Latif Al-Zayani.
The Council’s presence is not limited to the local level, but it extended to the regional level, where some of the Council’s members in the “Storm of Thought” symposium held last year in the United Arab Emirates, and some of its members participated in several media and cultural events.
As for the presence of the media Council, it was diversified through the Council’s website on the Internet and social media sites. These means have kept pace with the events of the Council and provided excellent coverage of its activities. The news of the Council and its activities have also been covered by printed and electronic newspapers.
These accomplishments which have been achieved in a record period enabled the Council to be a basic reference and important addition in the intellectual, cultural, social and economic scene. These accomplishments constitute the beginning of larger and broader activities, the most important of which are annual conferences that started to be held in 2016.
At Asbar, we say “We have no time to take a rest,” that’s because we aspire to continue as a constructive element in the Kingdom. We work so hard to contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation and always keep in mind maintaining its national unity, security, and stability.
Chairman of the Supervisory Committee
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