- New department will commission papers and host expert debates and policy briefings by high-level officials
RIYADH: Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily, has announced the establishment of a new Research and Studies Unit (RSU).
Based at the newspaper’s headquarters in Riyadh, the new unit will deliver thought-provoking studies written by a team of acclaimed resident and non-resident experts on a number of regional affairs. It will also arrange several by-invitation-only roundtable discussions and policy briefings by high-ranking officials. The RSU will also manage Deep Dive, the newspaper’s research-based, long-form journalism department.
In addition, the newly formed unit will be responsible for the exclusive regional media partnership that the newspaper has established with globally acclaimed online polling firm YouGov.
Since their inauguration in 2016, Arab News / YouGov polls have helped shed light on regional sentiment toward international events, as well as produce credible research on international opinion on Arab affairs. Some of the most recent polls include “Mosque and State: How Arabs See the Future”, “How US Views the Qatar Crisis”, “How Brits View the Arab World” and “How Arabs View Japan.”
As part of the launch of its Japan edition, a YouGov poll research commissioned by Arab News was conducted to learn more about Arabs’ perception of Japan on topics as wide ranging as culture, society and economy. The findings of the Arab News Japan/YouGov Poll have appeared regularly in articles posted on the Arab News Japan website and have been quoted by international media outlets such as the Japanese News Wire Service Jiji Press.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the launch of Arab News Japan on Oct. 21, Taro Kono, Japan’s defense minister, said: “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world.
“I think the Middle East has a lot to offer. Yes, I saw we import a lot of oil and we export a lot of Toyota, but I think our relations need to go beyond that. Japan is racially and religiously very neutral, and we have no negative footprint in history, so we can be a good broker in conflict in the Middle East and that’s what we should be doing.
“So when I was foreign minister, I opened up in Japan new political dialogue, and that was the first time we did it in Cairo, and we are supposed to do it sometime this year for the second time, and I visited almost every single country in the Middle East except Libya, Yemen and Syria, but I guess I visited almost all the rest of the countries, and some several times.
“We share the common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important values, so we stay in the east of the Asian continent and the “Middle East” in the “West” (of the continent), kind of funny, but we share the common values, and to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.
“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on daily basis and we haven’t got the source for that but now Arab News is now in Japan, and they are going to start news in Japanese. And I bet they would carry news in Japan in Arabic as well, so this is a very good means to exchange the information between the middle east and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it and this is the beginning of a new era. Our emperor has enthronement ceremony tomorrow, so I mean there can be no better way to start this endeavor. So, welcome Arab News.”
Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas said: “Quoted by a large number of media outlets, academic institutions and foreign diplomats, our exclusive YouGov polls have become a staple of the quality, credible content Arab News produces to help get the Middle East better explained.”
He added: “Our new Research and Studies Unit will manage our YouGov partnership and ensure we produce more of these valuable polls more frequently. In addition, the unit will also be commissioning independent research papers on various issues, and host experts for talks on the topics of the hour, be it over video conferencing or in person at our Riyadh headquarters whenever COVID-19 travel restrictions are removed.
“Despite living in a region of the world rich in natural resources, we suffer from scarcity when it comes to reliable data and research that help decision makers and business executives form informed views. This is the gap we hope to fill with this unit.”
The RSU’s website is now live and can be visited at here. Its next big study will be published on Oct. 26, and will be titled “US Elections 2020: What Do Arabs Want?” It will be accompanied by a high-level panel discussion in the US hosted via Zoom on Oct. 30.
Founded in 1975, Arab News has established itself as the newspaper of record of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. It offers regional news and views via its multiplatform, multilingual network that includes a print edition, its main English website and its Pakistan, Japan and French digital editions.