Obasanjo, Ezekwesili, Others for Atlantic Dialogues

Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo

The Atlantic Dialogues conference organised by the Policy Center for the New South holds in Marrakech, Morocco,  from December 12 to 14


UNDER the high patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, the Policy Center for the New South is organizing the 8th edition of its annual Conference “Atlantic Dialogues” in Marrakech from December 12th to 14th, to which 440 guests of 66 different nationalities are expected. This year’s theme, “The South in Time of Turmoil” extends and completes the 2018 edition, dedicated to “Atlantic Dynamics: Overcoming the Choke Points”.

This choice is driven by the multiple challenges facing the countries of the South in the wake of the persistence of conflicts and terrorist threats, jobless growth rates for young people, rapid urbanization and irreversible degradation within their natural environment.

Africa, for its part, is experiencing an unprecedented population growth – a source of concern for some and of hope for others, through a youth that is a symbol of future dynamism. The continent seems very vulnerable to the current instability and the big powers competition for natural resources and areas of influence.

At the international level, Africa and the rest of the South face a world marked by a concerning rise in populism and nationalism, a narrow view of the national interest and national security, a questioning of representative democracy and the system of international governance that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War.

Taking into account these determinants, the conference will examine the ways and means of helping public policies and decision-makers rethink their visions and strategies, taking into consideration the climate, circular economy, the challenges of education or the dynamics generated by the emerging powers.

Suggesting new reading grids

Since its launch in 2012, the Conference has sought to include the South Atlantic in the global geopolitical debate. Its aim is to promote an uncompromising discourse and innovative solutions, by confronting the points of view of politicians, academicians, analysts and observers both from the North and the South in a spirit of openness, transparency and mutual enrichment.

The “Atlantic Currents” report, which anticipates the reflections initiated during the conference every year, will be presented on December 12th prior to the opening conversation of AD 2019. This collective work, featuring a foreword by Aminata Touré, former prime minister of Senegal, is signed by African, Latin American, Caribbean and European researchers, most of whom are Senior Fellows of the Policy Center.

Intercontinental and intergenerational dialogue                                                     

The 8th edition of Atlantic Dialogues records the participation of 440 confirmed participants from 66 different nationalities representing the Middle East and North Africa (26%), sub-Saharan Africa (19%), Europe (23%), North America (13%) and South America (9%). They come from decision-making spheres, business (12%), consultancy (9%), research (12%) and think tanks (19%), public sector (9%), international organizations (10%), civil society (12%) and the media (10%).

Among the expected political leaders, four former heads of state and government, including Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria) and Aminata Touré (Senegal), 23 ministers and former ministers; including Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (Education, France), Obiageli Ezekwesili (Education, Nigeria), Nuno Severiano Teixera (Defense, Portugal), Paulo Portas (Foreign Affairs, Portugal) and his counterparts Ignacio Walker (Chile), Mayu Avila (Salvador), Jorge Castaneda (Mexico) and Hubert Védrine (France). Senior diplomats such as John Peter Pham, United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes, Angel Losada, EU Special Representative for the Sahel, Richard Danziger, Director of the International Office for Migration (IOM) in West and Central Africa, or João Vale de Almeida, Ambassador of the European Union to the United Nations, are also expected. Internationally renowned researchers, such as Greg Mills, director of the Brenthurst Foundation in South Africa, or William Zartman of John Hopkins University will all take an active part in the debates, in addition to representatives of the private sector, including Thione Niang (Senegal) and Dominique Lafont (France). The debates will also be moderated by renowned journalists, similar to previous years, including Claude Grunitsky (True Africa), Borzou Daragahi (The Independent), Zeinab Badawi and Alan Kasujja (BBC).

As usual, the Atlantic Dialogues give young people a prominent place, involving 50 young leaders aged 23 to 35, selected upon application. Hailing from 27 countries, these new leaders will follow leadership training sessions on December 9th, 10th and 11th, conducted by high level experts and distinguished guests of the conference, at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Benguerir, before fully participating in the Atlantic Dialogues.

– Dec. 10, 2019 @ 12:58 GMT |

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