February 2016 Update

A busy year past and to come

BCI is grateful to all its clients for entrusting their projects to our hands making 2015 a busy year.  Our projects have taken us to Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.  We've welcomed a new colleague and have expanded our horizons with several business trips to Jordan and Brussels.  

Carlo returned from Tunisia after completing a strategic communications project focused on Libya and the formation of the Government of National Accord.  Francesca and Matthew were also in Jordan working with colleagues active in civil society and looking to grow their organisation.

Building on this busy year, BCI looks forward to working with new partners and clients focused on international development projects with a distinctly democracy and governance focus.  We also look forward to more business development focused outreach in the months to come and reconnecting with old friends in Canada and possibly the UK.


Great Blog Posts


Special thanks to the growing number of contributors to our blog post pages!  We've been honoured to feature blogs and articles from Members of the European Parliament as well as journalist friends from around the world.  

Most recently, we invited Lisa Goldman to give us her take on the phenomenon of Donald Trump.  If you don't already follow Lisa on Twitter, you should.  An expert on Israel and Palestine, Lisa is a journalist and policy analyst who is a contributing editor at +972 Magazine and former project director at New America. A Canadian who lived for over a decade in the Middle East, she is now based in Brooklyn.  Her tweets on US politics are often provocative, sometimes cheeky, but always brilliant! 

If you haven't already, browse the blogs and read them all.  As they say in the souk, "its free to look".

Blogs, thoughts and information we think interesting enough to share

Closer to home...

While many will keep their eyes and attention on the upcoming US presidential elections, let's not forget the many significant events unfolding around the world.  For Europe the impact of refugees, a potential referendum in the UK, and conflicts on its borders will continue to put pressures on governments and regions to act.  Syria, Ukraine, and Libya will demand the attention of the world and the European Union in particular.  Conflicts aside, countries on the margins Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt will also need the EU and its support in dealing with the impact of regional troubles.

The EU has more than financial support to offer, and it should be bold in offering expertise and experience from member countries.  Libya will need help building institutions, managing expectations, and dealing with internal and border security.  Tunisia will also need the support of its friends in securing its borders and stimulating its struggling economy.

Jordan and Turkey have long been at the front lines of dealing with the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.  They have shouldered more than their share of the flow of refugees and the unfolding humanitarian crises. The EU and international community must recognise that and provide continued support.

Within Europe there is the growing threat of backlash in countries that have taken brave steps to ease the humanitarian disaster that conflict causes.  Rising intolerance and xenophobia embolden reactionary political movements and violence against vulnerable groups.  Alienating entire communities considered outside the mainstream risks increasing radicalisation within those groups, threatening internal security within Europe.

The complexities faced this year will require Europe and the entire international community to be more sophisticated and nimble in its support to resolve crises and humanitarian assistance.  More needs to be done in sub-Saharan communities where economic migrants begin their long and perilous journeys.  Corrupt political leaders need to be held accountable for creating the conditions that lead to the desperate flight from marginal regions, while earnest leaders need support and expertise to build stable communities that offer possibility and economic prosperity to their citizens.  

Human traffickers and criminal organisations need to be targeted and the sordid details of their enterprise fully revealed to would be migrants.  International aid programs need to supplement traditional soft development support, wells, schools, and health care, with robust political, economic and human rights programs empowering communities, holding political leaders accountable, and stabilising regions.


BCI Bites


BCI is happy to have sponsored a new social media tracking and clipping service.  The Libya Reverb Project (LRP) is the creation of Frank Talbot and Amr Bennis.  Daily headlines from prominent Libyan social media channels are mailed to subscribers and LRP produces regular analysis of what Libyans are talking about on social media.  For those with an interest in what is going on Libya, this is a "must-subscribe-to" service!

June 2016 BCI directors will be in Ottawa for a business development trip and will reach out to MENA watchers.  Looking forward to seeing how the new Liberal government has stamped its mark on the nation's capital.

It will be a busy Spring!  BCI has a number of projects in the works, and is excited to partner with the Platform Human Rights Organisations Malta on a networking workshop for it members.  The members of this platform are amazing champions for human rights, check them out, consider how you can support their projects!