In 2021, we were pleased to present The Arab Uprising: A decade of struggles, a webinar series, four podcasts, and a collection of articles in both Arabic and English. TNI and our partners dispelled common misconceptions about the Arab uprisings and the region broadly, and restored to the story the issues of social and economic justice, and the participation of women and people of all ages. Our analysis was well-received among academic and non-academic circles and has been shared widely, reaching over 140,000 people through twitter, facebook and Instagram, and receiving more than 13,000 visits on our website. The articles were re-published in both Arabic and English language media. The webinars were attended by over 1000 people and viewed by another 1700 on YouTube. More than 1360 people listened to the podcasts.
TNI and the North African Food Sovereignty network (NAFSN) collaborated to examine the intersections between Covid-19 and food systems across the North African region and suggest a path forward. Based on evidence, analyses and testimonies from four countries in the region, Towards a Just Recovery from the Covid-19 Crisis: The urgent struggle for food sovereignty in North Africa made a significant contribution to discussions about the pandemic’s impact on small-scale food producers, and their marginalisation and exclusion in shaping public policies. Opinion pieces were published in French in the Tunisian media outlet Nawat and in English in Africa is a Country, and the authors were interviewed on an American podcast. The report was also discussed by small-scale food producers and their allies in webinars and in NAFSN’s assembly.
We were pleased to provide an in-depth look at renewable energy, extractivism, colonialism and the need for a just energy and agricultural transition in North Africa through a series of articles by academics and activists from the region. The articles drew on discussions and analysis from an online workshop in June involving diverse partners across Africa. The series was launched at a webinar, Reflections on Just Transition(s) in North Africa, organised as part of the COP26 People’s Summit for Climate Justice. Among other things, TNI raised awareness about the corporate-driven transition agenda and the negative impacts of Europe’s proposed Green Hydrogen and Desertec projects in North Africa, especially in relation to water and externalised environmental costs. At least a dozen Arabic, African and European media outlets published and echoed our critical analysis of the threat of ‘green colonialism’.
We presented these insights to a wide variety of audiences throughout the year, including in a workshop during the Arab Forum of Alternatives and in a panel discussion, attended by more than 200 people, on the role of African renewables in the European Green Deal. We also shared our analysis with nearly 200 environmental justice activists from Oil Watch Africa and Friends of the Earth, and at a panel discussion organised by the Arab Reform Initiative at the Inaugural Conference on Environmental Politics in the Middle East and North Africa.
Working with researchers and activists, TNI is deepening collective learning about China and confronting the flawed narratives perpetuated by China’s political rivals and the mainstream media. In our six-part China and the world webinar series, co-organised with gongchao.org, Made In China Journal, Lausan, Critical China Scholars and the Asia-Europe People’s Forum, we offered activists and scholars from around the world a deep dive into China’s unique history, its people, social movements, economy and politics, including its approach to key issues like foreign investment and climate change. More than 1400 people attended the webinars. Plans for follow-up are underway.
– Participant, TNI’s China and the World Webinar Series
TNI is also working to build relationships with networks of agrarian scholar-activists in China and around the world, and to ensure the integration of Chinese perspectives in global dialogues. Global food regimes and China was the topic of the second edition of our Agrarian Conversations Webinar Series, broadcast in English with French, Spanish, and Mandarin interpretation. The webinar featured prominent Chinese scholar-activists and movement leaders from Spain, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa, attracting 435 participants from 62 countries, and viewed by another 300 people on YouTube.
We continued to organise spaces for exchange and reflection on political and economic dynamics in Eastern Europe. Conversations begun at a TNI workshop held in 2019 – ‘Eastern Europe after 30 years of transition: New emancipatory perspectives from the region’ – made their way to print this year in a new book on the subject. The book provides the first region-wide collection of new left perspectives on Eastern Europe’s post-socialist transformation. It combines political economy analysis with a contextual critique of major ideological concepts of the regime change. In a four-part webinar series on East European New Left Perspectives, over 700 participants delved into the subjects of decoloniality, leftist organising, and Chinese investment in the region. The series has helped us cement relationships with a burgeoning network of (mainly young) Eastern European activist-scholars spanning 12 countries in the region. The network has proven very important in light of the current war in Ukraine.