Saturday, October 29, 2011

Possibilities for Using Social Network Analysis to Connect African Scholars to the Larger Academic World

Sarah Doerrer

Introduction / Background

I have a strong, ongoing interest in the African K-16 education pipeline. I spent all last year doing the coursework for my dual degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where I am pursuing an Ed.M in International Education Policy. During that time, my thesis idea crystallized and it's a topic near and dear to my heart, which I was able to incorporate in a number of papers there.

That being said, here is the ‘umbrella’ question I would like to explore, followed by various facets which I'll probably have to narrow:

How effective would various partnerships (study abroad exchanges, co-authorship on articles, etc) be in creating a sustainable revenue stream for African universities?

These institutions are currently dilapidated (none are in the top 500 worldwide), isolated from the worldwide academic community and forced to charge fees to make ends meet, which crowds out many promising but low-income students. These universities must be revitalized in order to ensure African countries have well-educated leaders capable of improving the livelihoods and well being of their nation. When I was working at the Institute of International Education in NYC, one of the programs I worked on was the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, funded by 7 major foundations. This experience really opened my eyes to the central importance of having a strong university system to complement strong primary and secondary systems, especially in the developing world. Without such systems, there often occurs a vacuum of qualified leadership and the country is more susceptible to tyrants and leaders who rule by force rather than wise decision-making and consensus. Other benefits include increasing diversity in those universities, as well as making them more appealing for both competitive students and competitive faculty who want to interact with other scholars from the rest of the world, plus the U.S. would (I hypothesize) benefit a great deal by expanding its study abroad partnerships beyond the 'usual suspects' (still primarily Europe, though growing in Asia and the Middle East); meanwhile, there are very few in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I would like to ultimately earn a fellowship to go in person to explore this topic, specifically to Kenya, in order to interview university officials, students, faculty, and possibly even parents and government officials. I could attempt to survey or interview such people via email or Skype wherever possible. (I am in the process of putting out feelers to promising contacts I have accumulated over the last two years.) I have spoken extensively with Rusty, since he has wide expertise in social network analysis, and have asked him about the usefulness of conducting a such analysis on existing and / or potential relationships between U.S. institutions and scholars and African universities and scholars. We think that depending on how the questions around this topic are framed, it could be a promising avenue through which to explore it. He also suggested a more specific angle, such as networks of co-authorship or citation among African scholars and Western scholars, to consider similar questions of improving African university systems.


As I alluded to above, there are a number of sub-questions that may be plausible angles from which to address the broader ‘umbrella’ question and from which SNA strategy could emerge. I have listed three below:

To what degree are Sub-Saharan African academics connected to the broader world of academe in their fields?

a. How to get at this question:

i. Determine whether co-authorship of papers with Western scholars has led to individually authored / published papers later on

b. Likely Steps:

. conduct an extensive Google Scholar search (perhaps narrowed to certain fields of interest of interest to Africa such as international development, education and public health) for co-authored articles with African scholars

i. Note the number of citations for these articles to consider their influence.

ii. Conduct further searching for individually written articles by the African co-authors and note their citations.

iii. Parallel to these searches, create a data set that can be worked into a social network analysis in UCINET / Netdraw in order to consider which universities or more broadly, nations, in Africa are the best “connected” based on the co-authorship variable and using the number of these as strong vs. weak ties

iv. perhaps interview these scholars to consider why they have been able to achieve this level of connectedness

What would be the benefits and costs of creating a study abroad partnership (in which the U.S. school is the sending university and the African school is the receiving university) between ___________ (U.S. school - either specific university or ‘umbrella’ org like SIT) and ____________ (African university such as Makerere, Univ. of Nairobi, etc)?

a. How to get at this question:

i. perhaps a comparative analysis with successful cases, such as universities in China, Eastern Europe, or South Africa

b. Likely steps:

. use study abroad literature to form educated conjectures as to these benefits and costs

i. extensive interviews with study abroad officials in the U.S. and appropriate African university personnel

ii. consider the implications of these benefits and costs and the choices they imply along with recommended decisions

iii. as part of recommendations, use Netdraw to visualize both the existing networks between U.S. and African institutions (perhaps with weakness / strength of ties based on the number of students sent abroad from either institution) and THEN do a corollary visualization depicting a more ideal network, with structural holes filled in and emphasis placed on those who can act as connectors, who may also have eigenvector centrality in the existing network

What has been the legacy of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa? (Has it left African higher education systems better off? What is left to do? What are next steps and is there progress being made on these?)

a. How to get at these questions:

i. a comparison of what projects were undertaken under the PHEA grants and an investigation of what results have come from those projects?


c. Likely Steps:

. historical literature review of the mission and principles / goals of the PHEA and its policies / projects

        1. additionally a brief review of the challenges of African higher education systems that initially led to this investment on the part of 7 foundations
        2. follow-up via interviews or web review of the results of those projects (hopefully something empirical) and what other progress they have catalyzed on these campuses

i. ideally at the end of this, would need to make recommendations for where opportunities lie to move forward with the goals of the PHEA that have yet to be fully realized

Preliminary Sources

  • former Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) coordinator (and colleague) Suzanne Grant-Lewis

  • Scholars and Practitioners I met from the 2011 Annual Conference of the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars:

  • Other study abroad contacts:
  1. School for International Training (SIT)
  2. Huffington Post Top 10 Study Abroad Programs (for best practices, especially since Africa is the most under-served region as far as study abroad programming from the U.S.)
  3. Harvard Office of International Programs (former employer)


I anticipate that the biggest challenge in this venture (and Rusty has confirmed this in our conversations) will be to determine how to standardize the attributes of the relationships I want to document / promote in a useful way that is both easily understood and substantive. To be honest, I have not yet worked out all the ‘kinks’ for how social network analysis could be useful to these questions of African higher education, but the more I’ve learned about the concepts in this field, the more convinced I become that it has the potential to be an invaluable tool and I would welcome any feedback as to how I might utilize it more effectively.

Proposed Social Network Analysis of Rural Healthcare Providers in India

(Posted on behalf of J. Evelyn Nanni)
Rural healthcare in India is fragmented and tedious, given various infrastructure challenges and a shortage of qualified doctors. These problems are compounded for the poor, who make less and have a very high opportunity cost for travel to seek good care. In remote areas, unqualified providers fill the gaps. This research aims to determine the value of the informal social network among these providers. In particular, how and why providers connect on medical information or business, and determine what about it can be utilized in public health efforts, especially around four disease areas: tuberculosis, pneumonia, kala azar (visceral lieshmaniasis) and childhood diarrhea.  
This research is proposed to help WHP, a global health non-profit that uses telemedicine and a social franchise model to bring care to the poor. WHP is currently working on establishing 400+ franchisees in India’s poorest state, Bihar. A social network analysis would allow WHP to better understand the existing informal networks among providers.
Social Network Analysis would help inform:
• Public health efforts focused on the four disease areas – what links already exist and how can they be exploited?
o How often do rural providers communicate with one another on specific diseases and/or treatments?
• How structural holes can be strengthened or bottlenecks removed so that there are no areas “off the grid” vis-à-vis updated medical information.
• Which providers (Eigenvector) can be most useful in initiating a public health effort that involves all providers in the area?
o Can those with formal training assist or teach those who have no formal training?
• What providers are completely isolated from the rest of the providers in the area (cliques and factions)? Why?
• Which providers would be the best candidates as franchisees?
• Do providers desire more communication with others? How does this vary by level?
Network to be surveyed:
All providers in [TBD] block of the state of Bihar, within 10 km of the central market village. Levels of providers are defined as:
• Rural healthcare provider (trained or untrained, uncertified, working out of own home)
• Rural clinic-based healthcare provider (trained or untrained, uncertified, practice attached to home)
• Board Certified Doctor (MBBS or higher)
• Chemist shop owner (Board certified)
• Pharmaceutical distributor (> Rs10,000 per day / US$250 per day)
• Pharmaceutical stockist ( • Diagnostic lab (Board certified)
• Pharmaceutical company representative (Field staff)
A list of all providers in the area will be provided by advance field staff for the research team.
Attributes of network nodes:
• Name
• Age
• GPS location of practice
• Marital status
• Type and level of medical qualification (see above list of levels)
• Size of practice (patients per week)
• Size of practice (income per week, in Rupees)
• WHICH of the following four diseases the has treated in the past month (may select any number from 0-4) and how many instances:
o TB
o Pneumonia
o Childhood diarrhea
o Kala Azar (visceral leishmaniasis)
Network information (will check boxes based on a list of the area’s providers):
• If the provider has referred a patient to the other provider listed
• 1-5 times in the past month
• 5+ times in the past month
• If the provider received a referral information from the provider listed
• If the provider delivered or provided medical information regarding one of the four diseases to the provider listed
• If the provider received medical information regarding one of the four diseases
• If the provider delivered or provided business information to a provider
• If the provider received business or other professional information from another provider
Important information to analyze:
• Density: How interconnected are the providers at each level? Often, if a patient presents symptoms that don’t go away, they will be referred to providers at a higher level. This indicates that providers consider their competitors to be at their own level of training, but this does not preclude communication on the same level. Understanding the network density will help to separate the patient flow (largely one direction, from bottom to top) from communication flow (which may be more complex).
• Eigenvector: Which providers communicate with multiple other providers.
• Bridges and bottlenecks: If providers are bridges between geographically distant providers. Likewise, if providers are bottlenecks, or essentially serve as monopolies of information. I expect that there is no interaction between private and public doctors, but if one or two are interacting, this would be the channel through with public health information and education could be more effectively disseminated.
o In particular, the “weak ties” that may exist between providers as a result of competition could be exploited with new information and trainings.
I look forward to further thoughts on this proposed research.

Friday, October 28, 2011

For Incoming I.B.M. Chief, Self-Confidence is Rewarded

Interesting NYTimes article about the new CEO of IBM, Virginia Rometty. I was curious about the suggestion the reporter made as a possible explanation for the barriers women still face in attaining C-suite positions within the tech industry:

"Companies have trouble retaining technical women because they are often isolated from influential social networks inside companies, Ms. Simard said. "

I wonder if she or someone else has done an SNA documenting this.

SNA of Networks of Libyan Expatriate Organizations

I am writing my thesis on Libyan expatriate networks. I could use network analysis to begin to understand how Libyan expatriate networks connect to each other.

Social Network Analysis could contribute to the answering questions in following areas (I'm not ready to hypothesize yet!):

  • Understanding the nature of connections between groups
  • Understanding the nature of connections between groups and the National Transitional Council
  • Inform whether political factions exist and along what lines
  • Anticipate divides along groups of affiliated people
  • Look into the distribution of power in new cabinets, ministries, etc
SNA Methodology:
I will use a webcrawler to explore which organizations linked to each other from Feb - October 2011. These links will be the basis for establishing ties between organizations.
Using the data from the webcrawler I will organize the ties in excel in order to enter the data into UCINET. Once in UCINET, I will be able to identify how the organizations are connected and will look at direct and indirect connections, bimodal connections, cliques, factions, k-cores, components, and eigenvectors and other network features.

Understanding how the organizations relate to each other and to the NTC will inform current and emerging thinking on the status and role of returning Libyans and expatriate Libyans.

Methodology for understanding the context and fleshing out SNA with narratives
I will examine individual-level participation in the broader rebellion and in organizations participating in the revolution (because as our opponents insisted in the debate, organizations are, after all, composed of individuals). I will detail individual narratives from expatriates who returned to Libya and those who did not in order to understand motivations on an individual level and to examine how individuals are connected to the organizations. Complementing a network analysis with personal accounts will both help me analyze the network and to dig deeper into issues that emerge out of the analysis. I will mix individual stories that I gather directly with those that are available through news reports, interviews and blogs.

Some materials are widely available. Here's a taste:
Janine di Giovanni (writing for Newsweek) traveled to Libya recently and explored the experiences of former expatriates who had returned to Libya. One subject, Huda Abuzeid, reflected on joining the rebellion. "During the start of the Libyan revolution, she was in London editing a film she had made about Egypt. Even as she watched television with “my heart squeezed,” she thought the Libyan revolution “would be over in a week.” Yet she bought a camera, headed to Benghazi, the seat of the resistance, and offered her services. ... She says she always thought she would never get to Libya until she was very old. “I saw my father live with the failed revolution, and now I am living what he could not see,” she says. “I realized, finally, Libya was free.”"

A few preliminary sources:
Libyan Organizations:

A number of loosely and perhaps closely bound groups are organized and accessible via facebook, these include The Libyan Uprising Group, Libyan Youth Forum, a women's civi rights organization and many (hundreds?) more.

The International Libyan Communication Group lists 62 organizations who are cooperating with them. The majority of this list are based outside of Libya. Organizations like the ILCG and their list will help me develop a robust group of organizations to analyze.

Coverage of how groups organized within Gaddafi-controlled Libya will help lay the context for the types of group that expatriate organizations would ally with as well as the challenges they faced. For example this article explores how in facing limitations to internet accessibility and under heavy surveillance, anti-Gaddafi networks in Libya organized offline, in face-to-face meetings.

Coverage from demonstration (celebrations) following Gaddafis death this week available for demonstrations took place in Canadian, US and British cities and others.

Other pieces of interest but not directly related.
August 2011. Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote for Al Jazeera English that social-media-based networks are vulnerable to manipulation, for example, governments (Syria and Iran) have used facebook to identify and repress activists.

September 2011. Pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army has attacked websites at a number of US media, government and institutional websites. This mimics the power plays in real time that we witnessed during the Arab Spring. "The first is to deny the online public space from activists and demonstrators in kind of the same way security forces on ground try to deny physical space. In Egypt and in Libya, activists could get around security forces by just going online until they had a critical mass to take to the streets. But in Syria, that's more difficult because the Syrian Electronic Army is making it difficult to come together."

Peace One Day?

For the past 6 years, I have been part of an international organization - CISV - that promotes peace through non-formal experiential education. Being a global organization with a network that reaches youth and communities within more than 60 countries, we partnered with another like-minded organization - Peace One Day - founded by film maker Jeremy Gilley. Peace One Day works towards raising awareness about the international day of global ceasefire and non-violence, 21 September; a day during which all fighting stops and  people who can otherwise not be reached receive vaccination and medication among other things.
We at CISV accepted the 2012 Peace Challenge to use our networks as extensively as possible to spread everyday starting 21 September 2011 the awareness about Peace Day in order to actually achieve GLOBAL truce on Peace Day 2012! With this post, this challenge has been extended to your networks.. carry the wave!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ushering peace: Using SNA to nip violent crisis in the bud

A lot has been written about analyzing social networks to understand life cycle of revolutions and how they can be coordinated better using social network technologies. However, another potential utility for SNA can be found on the other end of the spectrum. Analyzing communities that show early signs of unrest to address issues before they snowball in to a crisis.

The groundwork:

The first step for such a study would involve identifying the community that is likely to have the greatest degree of resentment, the potential to act on it and to identify some of their key demands. Experience shows that certain communities like labor, youth, the unemployed, traders etc. have a more significant role to play in conflicts than say the retirees.

Once a preliminary analysis has been done to identify the target community (which is considered outside the scope of this topic), a demographic analysis would be crucial in framing the questions and identifying the geographical areas to target. 

The challenge:

At the outset, the author understands that collecting data under certain circumstances would be a far greater challenge than within an organization where employees are mandated to provide it. The data collecting agency, whether government or NGO, may also be received with hostility and uncooperativeness. The reliability of the data can be a point of concern. These issues, while important and relevant, will have to be the subject of another blog post.  

The first step:

Once a target community and the geographical areas have been identified, the next step would be identifying the most efficient way of reaching the member of those communities. Often time this will come in the form of established groups and associations, whether political or non-political, who represent that community. Assuming that these organizations would be open to talking about their issues, the next step would be the actual survey.

The author envisages this to be a four-step, potentially iterative, process (who said crisis management was easy!):

1.     Data collection for issue identification.
2.     Data analysis for identifying key focus area and brainstorming possible solutions.
3.     Follow-up survey to identify mass appeal of possible solutions.
4.     Data analysis of follow-up survey. Iterate step 2-4, if necessary.

The survey:

The following would be the broader segments in which such a survey can be divided:

Identifying information:

·      Name
·      Age
·      Gender
·      Position in the organization
·      Location
·      Academic qualification
·      Profession (including ‘unemployed’ as an option, if relevant)
·      Religious affiliation (if relevant)

Issue identification information:

·      Three most significant issues of concern, in order of priority. (This question would not limit the options to pre-defined choices. The analyses of the answer will help determine the key areas of concern.)

The network:

·      How frequently have you communicated in the last two months?
o   Never
o   Occasionally (at least once a week)
o   Frequently (more than once a week)

The analysis:

Once the data is available, several important interpretations can be drawn:

·      The first and the obvious one would be to do an issue based analysis to identify key focus areas i.e. what is the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed?
·      Once the key issues have been identified, the key players will need to be determined. Here in conjunction with an individual’s ‘Position’ in an organization we will need to look at the following attributes of the nodes:

o   Eigen vector centrality: Who is the most important node in the network? Does it correspond to the position?
o   In-degree: Whom are the most people communicating with?
o   Out-degree: Who is reaching out to the most people?
o   Any clusters, particularly based on issues or locations?
o   Closeness at an organizational level to determine the right people to engage with.

Taking it to the next level:

The survey and analysis can be further extended to look at inter-organizational relations. This will be a key analysis as crises are seldom the results of an effort of one organization alone. The desired information can be extracted from the important position holders in each organization to determine what kind of contacts they share with other peer organizations and then analyze if they are focused on the same issues.

The benefit:

The result of this analysis will be invaluable for agencies to not only determine the issues of substance but to also identify the stated and un-stated decision makers in each of the relevant organizations. Pro-actively collecting this information and doing the analysis can act not only as a control but also a prevention mechanism.

SNA of AMIDEAST NGO's Organization

Overview: AMIDEAST is an NGO that is located in most countries in the Arab world as well as having headquarters in Washington DC. It is focused primarily on educational development issues for people in the Arab world, especially youth. I had the chance to work for AMIDEAST in Tunisia, and my proposal is designed to perform an Social Network Analysis (SNA) of the AMIDEAST organization.

Objective: This proposal is meant to map out the organizational network and information flows of AMIDEAST in order to learn important information about how people interact with each other, how communication differs from one office to another, and what the key challenges are to improved interconnection and information flows, and what solutions may exist to solve problems identified in the SNA.

Hypotheses: I would imagine that we might see cliques forming between American employees and Arab, local nationals in various AMIDEAST offices. I would also imagine that some offices may have higher degrees of centrality and closeness than others. The issue of how leadership interacts with the rest of the organization would also be interesting to find out. We may also see generational differences with younger employees forming factions or cliques that are apart from older employees.

Method: To use a survey to collect necessary data. After data is collected and mapped through SNA, we could compile data on the average Closeness and Density of each office to compare. We could also look at factions within office to find out who they are and why they are factionalized. We would then look at information flows in the organization to see how people are connected to each other and what gaps and weaknesses may exist in the organizational structure. We could also analyze inviduals to look at Eigenvector and Betweenness scores of people in the network to identify individuals who may be able to act as bridges or leaders for certain objectives and initiatives. We can also look at the attributes and see how people's gender, nationality, age, and other things affect the way they communication and interact with others in the organization.

Survey: Survey questions will capture data on A) the nature of relationships between employees and B) attribute data on employees.

Part A Questions (nature of relationships):

The following questions would require people to answer the question for each other employee in AMIDEAST. If doing so for the whole organization worldwide is too much work, employees could just answer these questions for people in their own office or country.

1) How likely are you to turn to turn to the following person if you need help with something work-related?
a - Not very likely
b - Somewhat likely
c - Very likely

2) How likely are you to turn to turn to the following person if you need help with something life-related?
a - Not very likely
b - Somewhat likely
c - Very likely

3) How frequently do you interact with the following people (list people in AMIDEAST)?
a - Not very likely
b - Somewhat likely
c - Very likely

Part B Questions (attributes):

1) What office are you located in?
a- Washington DC
b- Muscat, Oman
c- East Jerusalem, Palestine
d- Beirut, Lebanon
e- (list all other offices.....)

2) What other offices have you worked at in the past?
a- Cairo
b- Tunis
c- (list all other offices...)

3) How old are you?
a- 20
b- 21
d-(list all other ages to 75)

4) In what country did you grow up?
a- USA
b- Egypt
c- Qatar
d- (list other countries where AMIDEAST staff come from)

5) How long have you been working at AMIDEAST?
a- 1-3 years
b- 4-6 years
c- 7-10 years
d-(continue in increments of 3 years until reach 30 years)
e- 31 or more years

6) What is your position in the organization?
a- Senior corporate leadership
b- Country Director
c- Assistant Country Director
d- Department head
e- Departmental mid-level manager
f- Administrative staff
g- Teacher
h- Other

7) Do you speak Arabic (formal Arabic or local dialect)?
a- Yes, fluently
b- Yes, some but not fluently
c- No, none or very little

8) What department are you in?
a- Teaching
b- Advising and Testing
c- IT
d- Finance/accounting
e- Other

9) What level of education do you have (highest degree)?
a- High school diploma
b- Bachelors degree
c- Masters degree
d- PhD
e- Other

10) How long have you lived in the country where you are currently working?
a- 1-3 years
b- 4-6 years
c- 7-10 years
d-(continue in increments of 3 years until reach 30 years)
e- 31 or more years

11) Are you male or female?
a- Male
b- Female

12) What is your nationality?
a- American
b- Moroccan
c- Emirati
d- French
e- Iraqi
f- (list other nationalities of AMIDEAST employees)


Proposed Social Network Analysis of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in Central America

Overview: Central America, while a diverse group of countries with strong national identities and distinct indigenous groups, is tied together by some overarching environmental, socioeconomic and cultural similarities that can serve as a basis for cohesion between nations in the region. As tourism becomes an increasingly important economic enterprise to Central American countries, alliances like the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have increased their presence in the area to try and shape the future of tourism in the region. While GSTC members are committed to a similar goal, the lack of communication between companies obscures possible synergies that could exist between members and improve their mutual success in the region.

Question: How can a social network analysis (SNA) of the members within the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) who currently work on community development projects in Central America help improve collaborative synergies between companies to take advantage of each organizations unique skill set and expertise?

Hypothesis: By understanding the expertise of members within in GSTC working on similar projects in close geographical proximity to one another, we can help form mutually beneficial collaborative efforts to better achieve the Council objective of “mainstreaming sustainable tourism” in Central America. (

Method: To compile the data, circulating a short survey would suffice, or alternatively attempt to use a web crawler to aggregate data based on the following subjects. For the purposes of brevity and consistency, we will limit ourselves to private sector companies focused on community development projects.

Distribution: The survey will be distributed to the project coordinator and/or the business development coordinator; ideally these individuals will have working knowledge of the projects their organization is undertaking throughout Central America.

Survey: The data will be compiled in two individual sets: Part I is focused on organizational attributes of the company and communication patterns with other council members. Part II concentrates on compiling relevant information about individual projects to be linked under individual nodes.


Organizational Size:

Employee size: (10-20), (20-30) (30-40) (40-50) (50+)

Areas of Expertise:

Tourism operations


Certification Program


Wildlife preservation

Business Development

Forest Management

Community Development


Patterns of Communication:

Which of these organizations have you communicated directly within the last year?

There follows a list of twenty or so organizations targeted within the GSTC based on operations in community development in Central America. The list would measure communication as follows:

( ) Never ( ) Occasionally ( ) Frequently


The second step is to define individual project attributes to tease out similar efforts that may lead to overlap. For the survey, each company would fill out three to five possible nodes (representing individual projects); this would be set in five columns with project focus and country to be ticked consecutively resulting in one node)

Node Attribute Data set:

Community Development Attributes:

Agricultural tourism

Adventure tourism

Archeological element




Ocean and Beach/Aquatic Tourism

Educational Attraction

Educational Services

Educational Tourism








Costa Rica


Selling the survey idea to GSTC: We hope to entice the GSTC to participate in our survey by explaining it could be used to increase members’ professional network and facilitate knowledge sharing across the region and within the sector.

The primary value of the survey for the GSTC is not in quantifying the density of the network or focusing simply on identifying connections, but rather highlighting members who aren’t connected but should be based on expertise and similar project involvement. While competition between some members of the GSTC will exclude their desire to directly participate with one another, many companies simply might not know the resources they have available to them under the auspices of the GSTC. Ideally, we would identify these companies to facilitate a transfer of best practices that have historically worked for them in a particular area. We hope to uncover potential benefits that could be realized by shared expertise and increased collaboration to make the GSTC more effective in mainstreaming sustainable tourism in the region.