Bulletin: New Institute to Boost Saudi Health Research, Russia Offers Grants to Egyptian Nuclear Scientists

Well, University Is Not School

In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you the most prominent news regarding higher education in the Arab world, besides a selection of our own reports, opinion essays, and news of cultural events.

Hundreds of thousands of Arab high school graduates are preparing to start their first university year. Despite the logistical challenges this poses for students, parents, and higher education institutions, another important consideration stands out. 

I am referring to students’ mental health and well-being. A word of advice to new university students: Simply put, you are no longer in high school. In university, the rules, the requirements for academic achievement, and the nature of relationships differ. Adjusting to this new environment can be physically, psychologically, and emotionally stressful. You must find ways to achieve a balance between your academic responsibilities, like lectures and research, and doing things you enjoy, such as sports and cultural and artistic events.

Activities and habits like walking, setting reasonable goals, and eating a healthy diet are not luxuries. Taking care of your physical health is vital to maintaining your psychological well-being.

You can enjoy and make the most of university life, just don’t beat yourself up. There are hundreds of thousands of articles and books on mental health that will help you. Al-Fanar Media has pointed to some of them in articles offering tips from international organisations and reports on how some universities are promoting mental health and well-being on their campuses.

Read these and more in our Mental Health archive of articles on this topic.

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

News from the Region:

Saudi Arabia Deepens Its Support for Health Research 

Saudi Arabia has approved the establishment of a new Saudi National Institute of Health (SNIH) to boost translational research and clinical trials in the kingdom, keeping pace with national priorities in medical research and development.

According to a statement, the Saudi minister of health, Fahad Al-Jalajel, said the new institute’s oversight of translational research and clinical trials aims to accelerate efforts to turn research discoveries into treatments and practices that will improve public health and raise the quality of life.

The institute will also enhance prevention against health risks, which is one of the goals of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme of economic and social reforms.

Scholarships at Abu Dhabi University for Top High School Achievers

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi and president of the Board of Trustees at Abu Dhabi University, has directed the granting of 20 scholarships to the top high school students in recognition of their outstanding academic performance. According to the Emirates News Agency, the scholarship recipients will enroll in Abu Dhabi University at the start of the 2023–2024 academic year, and may join any of its 50 academic programmes. 

Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, chairman and founder of Abu Dhabi University, said the university’s academic programmes aim to meet the needs of the labour market and the emirate’s economic development goals. The university offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields that are expected to be in high demand in the years ahead, including software engineering, information technology, cybersecurity engineering, and other engineering programmes with concentrations in artificial intelligence, robotics and automation.

Palestine Extends Deadline for Study Loans for Palestinian Students

Palestine’s fund for educational loans to students of higher-education institutions has extended the deadline for signing contracts for loans for the coming semester until Thursday, August 31.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Higher Education, students must log into their accounts on the fund’s services website to check the status of their loan application and their benefit amount. If accepted, students must complete the online approval and go to the place designated in the educational institution to sign the financial documents and obtain the loan amount.

Oman Holds Informational Meeting for Students Going Abroad on Scholarships

Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education held an informational meeting this week for new students who have been awarded scholarships to study abroad during the next academic year.

According to a statement from the Ministry, the meeting informed students about academic, legal, financial and religious aspects of the study-abroad experience. The meeting sought to raise students’ awareness of important security and legal matters that they must pay attention to during their scholarship period, including the procedures regarding visas, insurance, airport procedures, and education laws in their host country, among other concerns.

Bulletin: New Institute to Boost Saudi Health Research, Russia Offers Grants to Egyptian Nuclear Scientists
A session during an introductory meeting for Omani students accepted on scholarships for study abroad. (Photo: Omani Ministry
of Higher Education)

Russia Offers Research Grants for Egyptian Nuclear Scientists

Egyptian nuclear scientists are invited to apply for grants to conduct research in Russia, Mahmoud Saqr, president of Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, announced on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the academy, the grants are intended for master’s and doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, and other distinguished scientists who wish to join the advanced laboratories of Russia’s Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in fields compatible with the institute’s 2023 plan. Specialisations in focus this year are nuclear physics, high energy physics, neutron physics, theoretical physics, information technology, and radiation biology.

For more details, click here. To apply, click here. The deadline for submitting applications is September 20.

Reports from Al-Fanar Media:

On International Youth Day, Arab Educators Promote Entrepreneurial Skills

As the world celebrated International Youth Day this month, several Arab academics and public policy experts shared with Al-Fanar Media their ideas about how to promote innovation and creativity in universities to prepare young Arab men and women to achieve their goals. Read more in this article.


Georgetown University in Qatar Prepares Students to Serve as Bridges

Georgetown University in Qatar seeks to graduate students who can serve as bridges between conservative Arab societies and the wider world, Safwan Masri, the campus’s dean, said at a recent roundtable with journalists. Besides its high-quality academic programmes, the campus also provides a  safe space for discussions on topics that are deemed sensitive by the local community, such as  migrant rights and bioethics, Masri said. Read more in this article.  


‘Khuzama’: Sinan Antoon’s Latest Novel Explores Themes of Homeland and Memory

The internationally renowned Iraqi writer Sinan Antoon’s new novel “Khuzama” explores the homesickness and alienation of two very different Iraqi émigrés to the United States. Antoon relates in parallel the stories of the two protagonists, who are united by the Iraqi diaspora but separated by differing destinies and perceptions of their homeland through memory and the present. To explore more, check this book review

In Conflict: 

Antonine University Launches Lebanon’s First Outdoor Activities Diploma

Many Lebanese people are turning to outdoor activities in search of a much-needed “breath of fresh air” after years of economic turmoil, Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns, and lately new threats of violence along the country’s disputed southern border with Israel.

Antonio Soutou, dean of Antonine University’s Faculty of Sport Sciences, hopes a new programme his faculty recently introduced will help keep people safe as they pursue activities like hiking, climbing, and rafting in the country’s mountainous terrain. The one-year, master’s level Mountain Guide and Outdoor Activities diploma will train outdoor activity leaders in practical skills and basic medical knowledge, such as first aid. They will also learn about the physiological effects of exercise at high altitude and will become familiar with trails in different regions of the country.

“With more people going out in nature and engaging in outdoor activities, the risk of injuries has increased,” says Soutou, “and fatal accidents happen occasionally.”

To learn more, check out this article


How Should Universities Respond to the Challenges of ChatGPT?

Artificial intelligence-powered chatbots like ChatGPT, introduced by the tech firm OpenAI late last year, are rapidly transforming how students conduct research and complete assignments. While AI and machine learning pose an obvious integrity challenge for higher education, they also present opportunities that institutions should embrace and integrate as complementary tools, argues Logan Cochrane, an associate professor in the College of Public Policy at Qatar’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Otherwise, “education itself runs the risk of offering obsolete skills and in ineffective ways,” he writes. Read more in this commentary for Al-Fanar Media.


Al-Fanar Media maintains a database of quality scholarships for Arab students, which we continuously update. You can follow our website to stay up to date on 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 additions to our scholarship database include:


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