fbpx


UniMed Leader Calls for More Cooperation on a ‘Planet That Belongs to All of Us’

/ 24 Jun 2022

UniMed Leader Calls for More Cooperation on a ‘Planet That Belongs to All of Us’

AMMAN—As UniMed concluded its 2022 General Assembly here on Thursday, the organisation’s president called for more cooperation among institutions and societies globally to solve the urgent problems of a “planet that belongs to all of us.”

The remarks by Francisco Matte Bon, president of UniMed, the Mediterranean Universities Union, reinforced an emphasis heard frequently during the two-day conference on the need for more integration of societies to meet common challenges.

The assembly was held in person at the University of Jordan, bringing together academics, professionals, and education leaders and policy makers from Europe and the Middle East.

‘Respect for the Other and Humanity’

Matte Bon, who is also rector of the University of International Studies of Rome and a professor of Spanish language and translation, said the theme of this year’s event—“Shaping the Mediterranean from Cooperation to Integration”—was very important.

“There have been relations between the Mediterranean countries and their neighbors throughout history,” he said. “They dealt with each other in a turbulent, sometimes violent, or controlling framework. In the twentieth century, new ideas emerged. Of course, we did not solve all the problems of the world, but we tried to build a new and different world.”

“Fear leads us to wage wars against those who are not like us. … Those who possess the cultural tools should fight that. We need integration, not only in the Mediterranean region but in the whole world.”

Francisco Matte Bon   President of the Mediterranean Universities Union

The world “is changing today,” he added. “We will live together on this planet that belongs to all of us, on the basis of respect for the other and humanity, respect for the world, humanity, animals and nature.”

“We need to work more and more on solving problems,” Matte Bon said. “This change is reflected in what we are here for.”

Universities have three tasks now, he said: training, education, and research, along with the transfer of expertise to improve people’s lives.

“We live in a world dominated by fear; it is the source of most of our problems,” he continued. “Fear leads us to wage wars against those who are not like us. … Those who possess the cultural tools should fight that.

“We need integration, not only in the Mediterranean region but in the whole world. We must not raise the banner of failure.”

Networking Opportunity

Among other speakers on Thursday, Hadeel Yaseen, director of the international affairs unit at the University of Jordan, told the diverse audience that UniMed’s General Assembly was a significant opportunity for her institution to take part in the formulation of cooperation.

It also provided opportunities for the university’s students and professors to network with counterparts at universities in other Mediterranean countries, she added.

Yaseen said the conference’s panels had covered important topics, such as the role of university cooperation in times of crisis, media and the skills gap, Euro-Mediterranean academic cooperation, open and online education in the Mediterranean, employment and entrepreneurship, and cultural dialogue and student organisations.

She added that the event represented an opportunity to support academic cooperation and creativity, and for dialogue between academics, scientists, and students from different countries on realistic topics and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Equipping Youth to Tackle Challenges

In a video message, Mariya Gabriel, the European Union’s commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, said that the UniMed General Assembly is an opportunity to work together, to discuss the challenges we face, and work to solve them. She emphasised the importance of education to face challenges.

“Is education appropriate for our students and societies? Are our academic programs based on specific learning outcomes that are beneficial to students and communities? What are we doing about the skills gap?

Nathir Obeidat   President of the University of Jordan

She added that young people are motivated to tackle challenges, such as climate change, yet they lack the right tools. It is necessary to qualify young people with education and digital transformation tools, which will be reflected in promoting international cooperation, she said.

“Higher education is an area for mutual cooperation, to support the ties between us,” she continued. “This would not have happened without institutions such as the UniMed, to facilitate exchanging experiences and ideas for a successful cooperation.”

Most Urgent Questions

Nathir Obeidat, president of the University of Jordan, said that cooperation for the sake of Arab universities, nations, and the region requires getting to know more deeply about universities, and drawing a roadmap for a future that highlights broader areas of cooperation.

He added that the University of Jordan is working with partners so that the next generation can be a generation capable of facing and solving difficulties, and accepting the other.

Obeidat also stressed the importance of providing students with the skills they need to start their professional lives.

What was valid yesterday is not necessarily so today, Obeidat said. The most urgent questions confronting education leaders and policy makers, he said, include: “Is education appropriate for our students and societies? Are our academic programs based on specific learning outcomes that are beneficial to students and communities? What are we doing about the skills gap? What do we offer to our educational systems to make them modern?”

He continued: “How does technology affect learners? Where do we stand today from education’s basic tasks? Where will our education systems be 10 years from now? Is society satisfied with our performance? Does society know what it wants from us? Do we know what we want from them?”

[Enjoying this article? Subscribe to our free newsletter.]

He concluded by emphasising universities’ need for a new contract with their societies.

Over the two days, Al-Fanar Media’s team actively participated in the event, with a delegation that included Salah Khalil, an Egyptian businessman, philanthropist, and founder of Al-Fanar Media and the Alexandria Trust; Jo Weir, head of partnerships at Al-Fanar Media; and Mohamed El Hawary, the website’s editor-in-chief.

For further details about the event’s calendar and UniMed, click here, here, and here.

Related Reading




No CommentsJoin the Conversation

What Others are Readingالأكثر قراءة

Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام

arabic

Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام