Bulletin: Everyone’s Talking about AI. Events Around the Arab World Demonstrate the Hopes Its Raises.

Artificial Intelligence on Arab Campuses

In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you the most prominent news on higher education in the Arab world, a glimpse of a Palestinian gallery’s cultural event that you can attend online, a selection of our own news reporting, and opinions for discussion.

Talks about the growing importance of technology in education are always continuing, but they have taken on new urgency lately as rapid developments in artificial intelligence raise hopes and concerns about the role AI will play. We look at the issue through the lens of a two-day summit that took place this week in Riyadh.

We also highlight a study on the role of AI in the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and a discussion in Egypt about the role of AI in journalism education on Arab university campuses. In Algeria, the Al-Fanar Media team looks in on efforts to promote teaching artificial intelligence in universities and expand the country’s AI capacities.

Artificial intelligence has become an inevitable reality, and discussions continue about ways to benefit from it and face its potential hazards. Al-Fanar Media is at the heart of these developments, so follow us.

Mohammed El-Hawary

Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief 

Our News:  

Saudi Arabia Hosts InnoXera Global EdTech Summit 

We launch our bulletin from Saudi Arabia, where Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District hosted the two-day InnoXera Global EdTech Summit this week. Sponsored by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and organised by Classera, a leading e-learning company, InnoXera highlighted innovative trends across the spectrum of intelligent learning for governments, schools, corporations, and individuals.

With the overarching theme “Learning in the AI Era”, the summit focused its discussions on education and training. Panelists explored how technology can be harnessed by schools, corporations, and governments to achieve outstanding results.

InnoXera is the largest EdTech summit in the region. More than 15,000 individuals from over 30 countries participated, including key decision-makers, educators, and representatives from over 200 EdTech companies. This diverse audience fosters a vibrant community that is seeking to take advantage of AI to enhance learning outcomes for schools and students. For further details, click here.

Turning Crises into Opportunities: Webinar at the Lebanese University

The Lebanese University’s Centre for Careers, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Centre MINE) and GIL North offered a webinar entitled: “Turning Crises into Opportunities.”

According to a statement published on Monday, Rami Abou Trad, an expert in environment and sustainability, spoke about the importance of having a proactive mind-set and seeing crises as catalysts for change and transformation. Abou Trad stressed the need to adapt to circumstances, be flexible, exchange knowledge, and benefit from collective intelligence.

GIL North is a campus laboratory of Generation of Innovation Leaders, a Unicef programme that seeks to ease the high unemployment rates among marginalised youth in Lebanon and to give them greater access to the knowledge economy.

AI Offers Hope for Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

New scientific research reveals that artificial intelligence can contribute to the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, which could lead to more effective treatments of the deadly disease.

A study published in Nature Medicine in May showed that using AI to screen large groups of patients could make early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer possible, the Qatar News Agency reported. In the study, a “deep learning” artificial intelligence tool succeeded in identifying people at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer by reviewing their medical records, and finding evidence of increased risk for up to three years before their diagnosis.

“An AI tool that can focus on people most at risk of developing pancreatic cancer could go a long way toward improving clinical decision-making,” said Chris Sander, a biologist at Harvard Medical School who was one of the study’s leading authors.

An earlier study by four Qatari scientists noted that pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cancer worldwide, with an overall survival rate of less than 5 percent.

Iraq Appoints a Number of Master’s Holders in Universities 

The Iraqi Minister of Higher Education, Naeem Al-Aboudi, has issued two decisions appointing a number of master’s degree holders in Iraqi universities.

In a statement published on Sunday, the ministry called on those included in the recent decisions to visit the ministry to complete the appointment procedures. They were advised to bring various credentials, documents, and personal photos, for granting the certificate so they could commence work within ten working days.

AUC Holds an Academic Panel on AI and Journalism Education

The Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism, at the American University in Cairo’s School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, held a panel discussion on artificial intelligence and journalism education on Tuesday.

Scholars and professionals taking part in the event, titled “AI and Journalism Education in the Arab Region: Prospects and Concerns”, Hussein Amin, director of the Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism and a professor of journalism and mass communication at AUC; Tarek Abbadi, a program manager at Microsoft’s headquarters in the United States; Ahmed El-Gody, a senior lecturer of media and communication studies at Örebro University, in Sweden; and Ahmed Esmat, a media technology and digital transformation consultant. Sarah El-Shaarawi, managing editor of Arab Media and Society, a scientific publication of the Kamal Adham Center for Television and Digital Journalism, moderated the event.

Algeria Pushes to Build Up Its AI Capabilities

Months after Algeria declared 2023 the year of artificial intelligence, two Algerian student teams have won first prizes in the Chinese technology company Huawei’s global competition for information and communication technologies (ICT). The Algerian teams came first in the Network and Cloud tracks of the competition, and second in two other divisions, Kamel Baddari, Algeria’s minister of higher education, told Al-Fanar Media.

Algeria is on a mission to ramp up the teaching of AI in its universities and build the nation’s research and innovation capacities. How are those efforts proceeding, and what do experts think of them? This story, by our correspondent Riad Mazzouzi in Algeria, responds. 


Zawyeh Gallery Hosts Bashir Qonqar’s ‘Reflections in Free Fall’ Virtual Exhibition  

Zawyeh Gallery, based in Ramallah and Dubai, will host “Reflections in Free Fall”, a virtual exhibition of works by the Palestinian artist Bashir Qonqar, from June 22 through October 30.

In this exhibition, “Qonqar invites us to delve into the social tapestry of our existence, exploring the intricate threads that bind individuals within a society,” the gallery writes in a news release.

Qonqar, who currently resides in Austria, began his “Free Fall” project in 2013. “Within this ongoing exploration, geographical boundaries dissolve, and the very concept of place transcends into an ethereal reflection of a collective essence,” the gallery writes. 

Our Suggestions:

Extracurricular Activities That Boost Students’ Skills

As Arab university students get busy with their academic lives, they should keep in mind that participating in extracurricular activities can boost their soft skills, help them develop latent talents, and benefit their lives at school and after graduation. In this article, we explore examples of extracurricular activities in several areas that can help you develop valuable skills while doing things you enjoy.

Also see: Al-Fanar Media Shares Universities’ Tips for Student Success


Over the past few days, we have published new 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.


Social Sciences and Humanities: A Crisis from Within

In this essay, two scholars at the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University present a different dimension in the debate about the crisis of the humanities and social sciences in Arab universities. Confronting the view that these disciplines are not developing or giving back to academia and the public, they argue that the drop in interest in these fields is associated with the practitioners themselves, rather than external factors that are often blamed. It is the duty of the academics to take charge of their own programmes’ vitality, the authors say.


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