The seminar was attended by high level Ethiopian and international personalities.
Read the full speech below:
"Distinguished Ministers, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, Ambassador Teferra Shiawl-Kidanekal, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor for me to attend the launching seminar of the Institute of Advanced Research – an institute with which Norway entered a partnership in 2013. Since then, we have been working side by side, particularly through our mutual involvement in the South Sudan peace process.
Today, I want to focus on the Institute’s important role as an independent think tank, seeking to contribute to political, economic and societal transformation through the active pursuit and employment of in-depth analyses and research.
First of all: the contributions of research to society cannot be overrated. Research is key to the continued advancement of our societies. It is a prerequisite for innovation and improvement, and thus an important input for economic growth and development. This pertains to all countries of the world. In Norway, knowledge and research is understood as the foundation and the most important driver for a society that can cater to the needs of its present and future generations alike. In a development context, I see knowledge as an indispensable renewable resource that enables lasting and sustainable development.
The world we live in is rapidly changing and evolving. As such, we need research based knowledge that helps us understand the challenges of tomorrow – their causes as well as the means to overcome them. In order to understand the complexity of the main tasks ahead of us, an interdisciplinary approach is required. Only by combining academic streams, such as political science, anthropology, social and natural sciences, economy and law, can we see the full picture.
This pertains in particular to the peace and security landscape on the African continent. These developments entail consequences for international relations, development and humanitarian affairs, to name but a few. Based in Addis Ababa, the political capital of Africa, the Institute enjoys a strategic position for employing its research and identifying research gaps and needs. Further, being located in Ethiopia, a central actor in the pursuit of peace and stability on the Horn of Africa, gives the Institute and its researchers a unique outlook on the region and the overall continent.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The nexus between research and policy is an important one. As public officials – be it diplomats or bureaucrats – we take part in the development of policies, in providing the analytic framework and necessary background information for our respective decision makers. However, high-quality research is an inevitable asset in policymaking, as it allows political leaders and other relevant stakeholders to make informed decisions based on relevant and accessible information, indicating or even outlining the consequences of available alternatives.
To this effect, the independence and impartiality of the research is vital. The importance of independent and impartial research increases in contexts where the accessibility of reliable information is scarce, or where the flow of information is disrupted or dysfunctional. The availability of independent analyses is necessary in order to get to a truthful and fact-based understanding of the matter at hand.
The principles of independence and impartiality are closely linked with the researchers’ ethical responsibilities. These are important virtues for professional researchers with an understanding of the potential influence of their research.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to note that the Institute of Advanced Research has taken it upon itself to develop partnerships with research institutes and think tanks across the world. Through such cooperation, I believe that combining different academic streams, areas of expertise and perspectives will be mutually beneficial to the institutes and think tanks involved and to the development of our common understanding of current issues. In fact, a central tenet in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ research strategy pertains to the promotion of national and international research collaboration, with a view to the strengthening of research capacity in developing countries and the competencies of Norwegian research institutes alike.
In line with this strategy, and as a part of our support to the establishment of the Institute of Advanced Research, I had the pleasure of welcoming Ambassadors Seyoum and Teferra to Oslo two years ago. I am pleased to see that the visit generated concrete results with regard to Ethio-Norwegian research partnership, as illustrated by the presence of the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute – ILPI – here today.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The issues I have touched upon are all in line with the mandate and visions of the Institute for Advanced research.
I look forward to the further development of the Institute, and wish you all an interesting day filled with enlightening discussions. Thank you."