Myriam Blin, Head of Charles Telfair Centre
After three years of activity, the Charles Telfair Centre is solidly establishing its reputation as an independent and thought-provoking space for knowledge sharing and exchange. The Centre’s commitment to independence and non-partisanship has enabled us to build credibility and trust across diverse stakeholders covering academia, the private sector, civil society, government, and international bodies.
As we emerged from the COVID-19 crisis, 2022 was a year of great opportunities for the region but in an increasingly challenging global context marked by the war in Ukraine, spiraling inflation, food insecurity and conflicting pressures on biodiversity and environmental preservation. Through our weekly publications and events, we engaged in topics that explored these opportunities as well as analyzed the implications of this challenging global context for Mauritius and the wider Indian Ocean region. We wrote, amongst others, about the implication of the Ukrainian war on the African continent stability and food security, unpacked the climate challenge for the region including revisiting the impact of the Wakashio oil spill on coastal communities. We discussed the multiple maritime security challenges and opportunities brought about by the large exclusive economic zones of SIDS in the Indian Ocean; and we explored the potential of pan-African capital to challenge (or not) the US dollar dominance and engaged in debates on Mauritius’ next development gamble.
For the first year, since our launch in 2020, we were able to host face-to-face events and welcome nationally and internationally recognized guest speakers. In 2022, all our workshops and seminars were held on the beautiful grounds of the Charles Telfair Campus. The return to face-to-face events increased the Centre’s visibility and strengthened its credibility, allowing us to engage more directly with key stakeholders across academia, public sector, and businesses. The Centre was very privileged to welcome internationally recognized scholars such A/Prof Hannah Appel from UCLA (who was also a Charles Telfair Centre Visiting Scholar), A/Prof Jess Auerbach from the University of Cape Town and Prof. Stefan Dercon from the University of Oxford. Prof Christian Bueger from the University of Copenhagen and Prof Kate Sullivan from the University of Oxford also joined us online as guest speakers for our Maritime security workshop. While international speakers bring perspective, quality and depth, our events’ credibility rests on blending this international expertise with diverse local knowledge. This year we had the honour to welcome as national guest speakers: (1) Raj Mohabeer, Officer in Charge at the Indian Ocean Commission, (2) Raj Makoond, Director at Eclosia, and (3) Ali Mansoor, leading local economist.
We are ready to embark in our 2023 journey with the motto: Outreach and Engagement for a Regional Impact. We will focus on three objectives:
- We will expand our publication impact with a systematic Indian Ocean regional focus. You can check our 2023 call for papers here.
- We will increase the number of open events to allow a maximum of people to engage in our priority topics for 2023: Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean, Gender Inclusion, Biodiversity Preservation and meeting the double challenge of economic growth and sustainable and inclusive development.
- We will use partnership and outreach to expand our reach and engagement across different stakeholders. The Centre’s objective of knowledge sharing rests on our ability to break silos and bridge deep conversations between government, academia, private sector and civil society.
The Centre would be nothing without its rising community of authors, readers, guests, reviewers and followers. Some of you are present at each of our events, send us articles every year, share comments on publications, support us with constructive feedback, topics and guest suggestions. You ARE the Charles Telfair Centre and I wanted to end this note by thanking each and every one of you for your support and your belief in the mission we have set.
Let’s continue, together, to share reliable knowledge and connect ideas for change…
Main Photo Chic Bee on Flickr, CC