Throughout the summer season, NATO Strategic Direction–South Hub continued with its primary mission of understanding the shared challenges of and creating bridges between NATO, Africa and the Middle East. In June and July, I had the honor of attending the African Peace and Security Annual Conference while visiting the Policy Center for the New South in Rabat, Morocco. The conference involved the participation of more than twenty African nations. I also visited the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon, and it is my firm belief that these visits have set a solid foundation for positive future cooperation with these bodies.
The Hub representatives made use of these visits to deepen their relationships with other Partners, including visits to the International Institute for Human Development and ASWAT NISSA, both in Tunisia, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies and the African Union Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division in Ethiopia as well as the offices of UNOWAS, IOM, WFP and OCHA-ROWCA in Dakar, Senegal. We were also most honored to welcome a number of high level guests here at the Hub, including the Spanish Chief of Defense Staff.
While continuing our outreach efforts to our partners, in collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center, we also organized a 2-day workshop, “Informal Governance of Non-State Armed Groups” which took place in Accra, Ghana. This was the first event of its kind organized by the Hub on the African continent and I am very proud of this landmark.
Over the next two months we are planning to further strengthen our bonds with both Africa and the Middle East. I am convinced that the Hub is a unique tool with the power to act as interlocutor for the African Union within NATO and we are strongly committed to enhancing all existing contacts and raising them to a completely new level.
With this purpose in mind, a number of events have been organized, including high level workshops and visits. At the same time, we are planning to create better relationships in the Middle East. My team will be visiting the United Arab Emirates in the middle of September which I believe will provide an invaluable opportunity for creating further endeavors and closer relations in the region.
Since the Hub is making ever-increasing efforts to improve communication with French and Arab speaking nations, this month I am delighted to welcome our newest team member, Ms. Myriam Andaloro, who will be providing French and Arab versions of everything the Hub produces, as well as acting as interpreter when required.
I sincerely hope you find this issue of our HUB Newsletter interesting and thought-provoking. As always, I invite you to kindly visit our HUB website (www.TheSouthernHub.org) where more articles for your reading pleasure can be found.”