Mental Health Is Not a Luxury
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you the most prominent news of higher education in the Arab world, a selection of our stories, including an article about an Egyptian academic who has achieved a milestone on YouTube, and another on a Yemeni academic who was forced by his country’s salary crisis to work as a bus driver.
We also bring you a practical guide for getting training through an internship while studying, and a commentary by an academic in Qatar who talks in a passionate way about his experience in teaching history.
We also recommend an episode of the Student Sowt (“Voice”) podcast, about the impact of your university experience on your personality, and highlight our Scholarships resource, which tells you about scholarship opportunities that might help you find a place at a university near you or overseas.
Finally, we renew our concern about the mental well-being of all members of the academic community, whether you were a student, professor, administrator, or researcher. Al-Fanar Media sees mental health as a serious matter, rather than a luxury. We know very well that the Covid-19 pandemic was an added stressor on mental health, and we are striving to look deeper into the matter and how to mitigate its effects. To do so, we and our partners at the Union of Mediterranean Universities (UNIMED) have launched a pair of surveys (one for students, the other for university officials, teachers, and administrative staff) that we hope you will participate in. You will find links to the surveys at the end of our bulletin.
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
4 Students Win Full Scholarships at Heriot-Watt University Dubai
Heriot-Watt University Dubai recently awarded full scholarships to four school students in Dubai to help them pursue a bachelor’s degree on the campus. Besides covering three years of study, the scholarships also carry a stipend of 15,000 Emirati dirhams a year.
According to a university statement, the students were selected based on academic merit and excellence in extracurricular activities. The winners and their majors are Zayan Maqsood (architecture) and Mohammed Saifullah (computer science), both from the Central School Dubai; and Nabiha Tahsin (accounting and finance) and Shoaib Naeem (computer science), both from the English Language Private School Dubai.
Saudi STEM Education Summit to be Held in September
The seventh edition of the Saudi STEM Education Summit is scheduled for September 19 and 20 in Riyadh. IBEForum, an international organisation that aims to empower global leaders to create a better future, will host the conference, which will feature workshops, expert speakers, panel discussions, student-focused sessions, and opportunities for professional development.
The forum’s focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is linked to Saudi Arabia’s goals of modernising and digitising the education sector, solving the challenges of digital learning, and tackling the obstacles being faced by the education sector in the post-Covid-19 era, IBEForum said in a statement.
It noted that the Saudi government has allocated 195 billion riyals in its current budget to education. The kingdom has the largest education sector in the GCC, with 300,000 students in kindergarten, 5.5 million in primary education, 1.4 million in higher education, and 128,000 in technical education.
AUC Career Development Centers Win Merit Award
An international professional organisation for student affairs administrators has presented an award of merit to the American University in Cairo’s University Centers for Career Development project in recognition of its ground-breaking efforts to launch career centers at Egypt’s public universities.
The UCCD project received the award at the 2023 MENASA–NASPA Conference earlier this year. MENASA–NASPA is the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia division of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
Since 2017, the UCCD project, led by the American University in Cairo and funded by USAID, has been establishing career centers at public universities across Egypt. To date, the project established 23 career centers at 16 Egyptian public universities, with plans to reach 46 centers at 34 universities by 2026.
Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund Announces New Round of Grants
As nations observed World Refugee Day on Tuesday, the Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund announced that it would make a fifth round of grants available to programmes that tackle the skills gaps and other barriers to employment that vulnerable and refugee youth face in the region. The fund will invite proposals for high-impact programmes that prioritise market-driven skill building and development for vulnerable Arab youth in Jordan and Lebanon, as well as youth from conflict-affected countries who reside in the United Arab Emirates.
Refugee unemployment rates reached an alarming 48 percent last year, with refugees earning an average of just $3.50 per day, according to a statement from the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation, which administers the fund. The urgency of the situation prompted the fund to extend its grants for another three years. Organisations that wish to apply for the grants may contact the fund at [email protected].
Palestinian Ministry Mourns Student Killed in Raid on Jenin Camp
The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education mourned the deaths of five Palestinians who were killed on Monday during an Israeli military raid on a refugee camp at Jenin, in the West Bank. The victims included Ahmed Khaled Fayez Daraghmeh, a student at Al-Quds Open University’s Tubas Branch.
In a statement, the ministry blamed “international silence” for allowing the Israeli occupation to continue committing “crimes against students, workers in higher education institutions, and the Palestinian people in general.” It called on humanitarian, human rights and media institutions to “take a serious stand to stop the violations and heinous crimes committed by the Zionist occupation against the Palestinian people.”
Producing Knowledge at Times of Crisis
The Arab Reform Initiative has organised a webinar titled “Producing Knowledge at Times of Crisis” that will discuss what it means to be an “activist researcher” in this context.
This article, from Al-Fanar Media’s Tips and Resources section, gives university students suggestions on how to win internships while studying, and ways to turn internships into full-time jobs.
Abdullah Muammar Al-Hakimi, a professor of sociology and social anthropology at Sana’a University’s Faculty of Arts, is having to work as a bus driver to cover his family’s living expenses because professors’ salaries have been cut since 2016. This story sheds light on the continuing crisis of salary cuts for university professors in northern Yemen, and its impact on the academic community.
In a commentary for Al-Fanar Media, Jörg Matthias Determann, a professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, talks about his teaching approach to making ancient history an interesting subject.
Over the past few days, we have published new items about scholarships for Arab students. You can follow our website to keep you updated with the latest scholarships available in international universities. Check the Scholarships section, here, and do not miss our constantly updated feedback on free learning opportunities in the News and Reports section, here.
In this episode of the Student Sowt (“Voice”) podcast, Omima Esmaeel El-Ghabri, a food sciences graduate from Yemen, hosts Alaa Al-Hammadi, a student of multimedia from Yemen, and Giulia, a German-Italian student who studies in Britain. Omima asks the students about their university experience and how it has affected their attitudes to life.
Al-Fanar Media and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) have launched two surveys to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of students and faculty members in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Students can take their survey by clicking here. Faculty and staff members can take their survey here.