This was a landmark year for the Forum. It represented the beginning of a new and exciting multi-year gender program in the MENA region. The Forum is taking our programming to the next level with this new challenge. Concurrently, we continued our other exciting programs in Myanmar, Ethiopia and Somalia and ramped up thematic research while demand for Forum’s excellent work continues to grow. Forum worked on nearly a dozen distinct thematic programs this year from Federalism and Trade to Courts and Judicial Systems to Health Care and Federalism. The knowledge attained through this important core work is also used generously in comparative work through our development assistance programs. Of particular note are two programs we worked on in two countries that are either federalizing (Cyprus) or in the process of devolving powers (UK). The Forum put on a conference in Oslo with the Peace Research Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation that discussed the challenges of education in post-settlement Cyprus. Forum’s Head of Programs presented the findings of a comparative project Forum undertook called, “Federalism and Education: Cross-National Lessons on Governance, Standards, and Accountability for the 21 st Century.” In the UK, the Forum is implementing a program on “Centralization and Decentralization in Federations- Competing Forces.” The outcome of this project will be a comprehensive publication on centralization and decentralization and will discuss how the framework for decentralization in different federations can be operationalized.
As I noted earlier, we are very excited to be moving forward on our gender project in the MENA region which includes work in Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The Forum is setting up offices and preparing for our first series of workshops. This Forum project will be a leading voice to help eliminate the underrepresentation of women within the political arena, civil society and academic circles in these countries. I would like to thank all our partner governments for their important support of the Forum’s work. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the Governments of Canada, Switzerland and Germany whose steadfast support has helped produce this year’s world class thematic programs. With the generous support of the Swiss, Forum is embarking on creating and applying a cutting edge results-based management system for program work that will define how other NGO’s in the governance space measure results. Lastly, I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to our board of directors and thank in particular retiring directors, Johanne Poirier and General John de Chastelain for all their dedication and hard work through their years of service. The Forum has benefited greatly from their leadership.
President & CEO, Forum of Federations