By Habiba Hany and Alaa El Dirini
(Cairo, Egypt)- The American University In Cairo’s (AUC) Department of Journalism & Mass Communication (JRMC) organized a talk with Firas Al Atraqchi, associate professor and associate chair of JRMC on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. ‘BRICS: An Alternative Narrative’ discussed a block of countries gaining economic and sociopolitical power on a multilateral level.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa or BRICS are being publicized as the new face of the developing world. In the talk by Al Atraqchi, he defined and explained the different elements of BRICS, stated their recent activities as an entity, and foreshadowed their future potential.The first summit was held in 2009 in Russia.
“It is an economic grouping that has gone beyond its economic mandate and is becoming increasingly sociopolitical on the world stage,” said Al Atraqchi. He also mentioned the changes in the world order and the functions of the already existing organizations such as the United Nations Security Council.
BRICS is considered a giant economic block. Al Atraqchi said, “BRICS has the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 16 trillion dollars.” This block has 4 trillion dollars in foreign reserves.
Jim O'Neill, Goldman Sachs's former chief economist and chairman, and the creator of the ‘BRICS’ acronym was ridiculed by the West and criticized for challenging the existing world order that is largely western. “O’Neill predicted that a lot of investment would move from Europe and North America into these countries,” elaborated Al Atraqchi.
These post-colonial nations are now becoming an economic colonizer, explained Al Atraqchi. “Several countries are dealing in BRICS currencies, and this is a big thing,” Al Atraqchi went on to say. There is a shift from dominating western currencies.
Hussein Amin, JRMC professor, mentioned the media influence of the BRICS as a form of soft power. Regarding BRICS soft power, “We saw several new international and global media enterprises come to the floor,” commented Al Atraqchi.
In an interview with attendee Nermin Gerges, JRMC senior, said it was her first time hearing of
BRICS. “I am more motivated to go research more,” said Gerges.
BRICS have showed unprecedented power, regardless of media opposition, and plan to approach the U.S. and other global powers with more diplomacy. “Balanced governance and a more nuanced approach,” said Al Atraqchi.