There is no doubt that civil society is one of the three pillars (alongside the public and private sectors) in the process of development and progress. Consequently, civil society in Egypt is working to develop and function within a healthy legislative ecosystem, one which is based on clear constitutional principles. Civil society therefore plays a crucial role in the process which will transform Egypt to a knowledge-based economy, a process which requires radical change in the education, science, technology and innovation ecosystems.
The Egyptian Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, and Innovation (ECASTI) therefore took an interest in consolidating scientific research, education and knowledge in the Constitution, and placed this matter as its first strategic goal. The Center worked on developing draft constitutional amendments in this regard, an effort which built upon previous workshops which had been held in order to bring together all concerned parties to discuss all the proposed amendments.
These proposed amendments were then submitted to Dr. Essam Heggy, Scientific Advisor to the President, as well as to a number of the members of the “The 50-Member Committee,” including Prof. Sir Magdy Yacoub, Dr. Mohamed Ghoneim, Dr. Amr El Shobaki and others. This was in addition to creating a lobby to pass the proposed amendments. These efforts were manifested in the success of having the proposed amendments incorporated into the new Constitution.
ECASTI’s contribution to the constitutional amendments reflects the vital role that could and should be played by civil society organizations in today’s Egypt.