Bulletin: Saudi Arabia Launches Summer Camps on AI, Emirati Scholarships Encourage University Study

A Focus on Algeria

In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you a selection of our most prominent stories, prepared by our editorial team, besides news of cultural events and the most prominent news of higher education in the Arab world. We also highlight an episode of our Student Sowt Podcast, presented by Arab students, and a commentary by a Lebanese academic who thinks all students should take the new digital SAT.

Since the beginning of our work, Al-Fanar Media has been keen to represent all Arab countries in its coverage. Over the years, our correspondents have provided in-depth higher education stories and coverage from various Arab countries, including Algeria.

Today, we highlight several recent developments affecting higher education in Algeria. We bring you news about Algeria’s improved performance in the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings—Algeria ranked first in the Maghreb region, according to the country’s higher-education ministry. This comes amid a continuing push to integrate learning about artificial intelligence (AI) into university curricula and to install a scientific council for AI in the country. We also shed light on Algerian-European cooperation to integrate refugee students into higher education.

Mohammad El-Hawary
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief

Our News:

Saudi Students Attend Summer Camps on AI

Over 140 high school and university students from across Saudi Arabia have joined three summer camps on artificial intelligence (AI), launched by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The participants were selected from more than 10,000 applicants.

The eight-week camps are taking place at the KAUST Academy, in Thuwal, and at the University of Oxford, in the U.K. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the camps aim to help students get familiar with important AI-related concepts like natural language processing and knowledge graph networks.

The launch of the camps comes within the framework of efforts to develop human capabilities and provide youth with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom’s wide-ranging plan for overhauling its economy and society as a whole.

Pakistani Scholarships in Medicine and Engineering for Iraqi Students

On Wednesday, Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education announced three scholarships for the 2023–2024 academic year provided by Pakistan for Iraqi students to complete their undergraduate studies.

In a Facebook statement, the ministry said the scholarships were open to students majoring in medicine, surgery, pharmacy, and engineering. The deadline for submitting applications is July 15. Applicants’ grades should not be less than 90 percent for the medical disciplines and 80 percent  for engineering, and applicants should not be over 22 years old. For further details, click here.

Pakistan is providing three scholarships for the 2023–2024 academic year for Iraqi students to complete their undergraduate studies, Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education announced.

Qatar University Welcomes New Students to Its Honors Program

The Honors Program at the Deanship of General Studies at Qatar University held an orientation day for new students joining the Honors Program this fall. 

In a statement, Yousri Marzouki, the program’s director, said the Honors Program’s curriculum aligns with models provided by Unicef and focuses on developing skills, including soft skills, that are essential for academic and career success in the 21st century. 

Yousri Marzouki is director of the Honors Program at Qatar University.

Emirati Scholarship Encourages High School Graduates to Get a Degree

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) is accepting applications for the H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Scholarship until July 21, 2023, the university said in a statement.

The scholarship is a national initiative that encourages learners to pursue undergraduate studies in multiple fields and empower a new generation of leaders. It is awarded to new high school graduates who wish to attend HBMSU and to U.A.E. National Service Program graduates who meet the admission requirements.

Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor of HBMSU, said the scholarships will help the nation advance in its transformation into a more competitive and sustainable ecosystem by strengthening national capabilities, and will contribute to Dubai’s standing as a global hub for higher education. 

Scholarships for Palestinian Researchers in Digital Media and Science

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education announced on Wednesday that scholarships were available for several postgraduate courses at Egypt’s Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport during the 2023–2024 academic year.

In a statement, the ministry said scholarships would support study for the following degrees: a Ph.D. degree in quality, a Master of Digital Media, and a Master of Science in smart electric grids. For further details, check the ministry’s website, from here.


Join the Arab Reform Initiative’s Webinar on Democratising Knowledge

The Arab Reform Initiative is organising a webinar called “Democratising Knowledge: Personal and Collective Experiences,” on July 10. You can register to participate through Zoom at this link.

You can also watch live on the initiative’s Facebook page and post your questions in the comments during the live broadcast. Webinar speakers will shed light on various initiatives that attempt to produce comprehensive and effective knowledge in responding and dealing with the immediate challenges facing Arab societies.

Our Suggestions:

Algeria Moves Up in a Global Classification of ‘Young’ Universities

Algeria was first in the Maghreb, second in Africa, and third in the Arab world, in terms of the number of education institutions classified in the latest edition of Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings for 2023, the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research said in a statement this week. The ranking, produced by the same British higher-education magazine that publishes the annual THE World University Rankings, evaluates the world’s best universities that are 50 years old or younger.

The ministry said 11 Algerian institutions were included in this year’s ranking, up from nine in 2022. Ferhat Abbas Setif 1 University was the highest-ranked Algerian institution, placing 98th at the global level, first in the Maghreb, and second at the African level, the statement said. The University of Guelma was also among the top 500 universities.

Read more about the rankings in this article (in Arabic).

Algerian Students Win Global Prizes as Nation Builds Up AI Research

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

In Conflict:

Ci-RES Project Helps Refugee Students Succeed in Algerian Universities

After fleeing their war-torn countries and seeking refuge in Algeria, many students are finding new hope after Algerian universities and a project known as Ci-RES broke down barriers and opened doors to integrate refugee students into Algerian higher education. For further details, read this article


Why Students Should Take the Digital SAT: An Admissions Director’s View

Antoine Sabbagh, director of admissions and financial aid at the American University of Beirut, believes in the value of the SAT. In a commentary, he explains why he thinks students should take the test in its new digital form.


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.

Recent scholarship and grant listings include:


Student Sowt Podcast Episode 2: Life As a Mature Student in Yemen

In a 2022 episode of the Student Sowt Podcast, Maher Al-Maktari, a student at Taiz University, hosted Sabah, a single mom in her 40s with four children who commuted seven kilometres from her home in the countryside of Mount Sabr to the university she attended. None of this prevented her from continuing her education and obtaining a master’s degree. Listen to her story in this episode


Exploring Covid-19’s Mental Health Impact on Students and Staff

Al-Fanar Media and the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) have launched a joint survey project to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental well-being of students and faculty members in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The project features separate questionnaires for students and staff. Students can take their survey here. Faculty and staff members can take their survey here.

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