Bulletin: Libya Urges University Medics to Assist Flood Relief Efforts in Country’s East

Our Hearts Go Out to Morocco and Libya

In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you a selection of our most prominent stories and other news about higher education in the Arab world.

This week our hearts go out to the thousands of people killed, injured or left homeless in natural disasters that hit two North African nations, Morocco and Libya, in the past week.

In Morocco, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck last Friday, causing extensive damage in Marrakech and flattening entire villages in the High Atlas Mountains. The quake killed 2,946 people, according to the latest official figures from the Ministry of the Interior, and the toll is expected to rise. The quake also injured 5,674 people, the ministry said, and more than 50,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

In Libya, at least 11,300 people are believed to have died in the eastern city of Derna, where two dams burst as heavy rain from Hurricane Daniel drenched the region on Sunday night. The toll is expected to rise, with city officials saying it could reach 20,000. A precise figure may never be known, given the level of destruction and the number of bodies swept out to sea.

The Al-Fanar Media team extends its sincere condolences to the families of those killed in Morocco and Libya, and hopes for the safety of those missing and the recovery of those injured..

Such catastrophic moments require human solidarity. These are also occasions to reflect on the need for more research into the causes of disasters, ways of predicting and preventing them, and ways of mitigating their effects.

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

News from the Region:

Libya Urges University Medics to Help in Region Devastated by Flood

Libya’s Government of National Unity has urgently appealed to faculty, staff, and doctors in training at Libyan universities’ medical colleges to assist in providing relief to people in the country’s eastern region who suffered the most from Hurricane Daniel.

In the hardest-hit city of Derna, 280 kilometers east of Benghazi, two dams collapsed on Sunday night, creating a massive flood that washed away buildings and dragged whole neighborhoods out to sea. The death toll had soared to more than 11,300 people by midweek, the Libyan Red Crescent said, and local authorities said it could eventually reach more than 20,000.

While Derna is in the eastern region of the divided country, administrations in both the east and west are contributing to relief efforts. The request for help from university medical staff came from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the U.N.-recognised Government of National Unity, based in Tripoli.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry called on professors, teaching assistants, and internship physicians to help “alleviate the suffering of our brothers in the stricken eastern cities” and supporting medical units operating there.

UAEU Competition Awards $50,000 in Prizes

The University Challenge Competition, supported the United Arab Emirates University and the Sharjah Government Communication Award, awarded top prizes worth a total of 180,000 dirhams (nearly $50,000) in the contest’s second session, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

The competition encourages students to think creatively in developing sustainable solutions to government communication challenges and to activate the role of universities. The theme of the second session was “Sustainability and Confronting Environmental Challenges”. 

Ahmed Ali Murad, the university’s associate vice president for scientific research, said 25 teams from 17 national and Arab universities took part, including three universities from Egypt, Jordan, and Oman. 

Bulletin: Libya Urges University Medics to Assist Flood Relief Efforts in Country’s East
The United Arab Emirates University’s University Challenge focuses on developing sustainable solutions to
government communication challenges. It recently awarded prizes worth $50,000.

U. of Jordan Plays Role in Joint Project to Protect Marine Environment

“PROMPT”, a joint European–Eastern Mediterranean research project involving the University of Jordan, has received support from the European Commission, the university said in a statement on Thursday.

The project, officially called “Preparedness for Operational Monitoring and Prediction of Contaminant Transport in the Sea”, aims to develop cross-border strategies to combat pollution of the marine environment. The project is being coordinated by the University of Genoa, in Italy. Universities and government institutions in Lebanon, Italy, Spain, and Luxembourg are also participating.

The University of Jordan’s role in the project involves contributing to the development of mathematical models for simulating the spread of oil spills and chemical substances and their dispersion in various coastal areas, including the Jordanian coast on the Gulf of Aqaba.

King Khalid University Offers Scholarships for non-Saudi Students 

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid University opened the admissions portal for non-Saudi students seeking internal scholarships for bachelor’s degree programmes in the next academic year.

According to the Saudi News Agency (SNA), the university explained that applicants must not be over 25 years old, must have passed the achievement test and the aptitude test, and must not have obtained another scholarship from a Saudi educational institution. It added that admission will be according to the number of seats available in various departments, as determined by the Ministry of Education, and competitive comparisons between the applicants.

‘USAID Egyptian Pioneers’ Opens Registration for NGOs 

Egypt has opened a  registration portal for nongovernmental organisations that want to participate in “USAID Egyptian Pioneers”, a programme that provides scholarships and training to Egyptian students and workers, with emphasis on sectors that can advance Egypt’s climate goals.

The programme aims to build the capabilities of Egyptian workers in public and non-governmental sectors, universities and research centres by providing scholarships for postgraduate studies and short-term training in Egypt and the United States. It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by the American University in Cairo in cooperation with Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry encouraged nongovernmental organisations to register for the programme so their workers could benefit from the training. For more information and a form where organisations may express their interest, click here.

Bulletin: Libya Urges University Medics to Assist Flood Relief Efforts in Country’s East
Egyptian Minister of Higher Education Ayman Ashour (Photo via the ministry).

Stories by Al-Fanar Media:  

530 Schools Damaged in Moroccan Quake

As Morocco struggles to recover from the devastating earthquake that struck the country last Friday, education officials announced that at least seven schoolteachers were among the nearly 3,000 people killed and that 530 schools had been damaged. In a statement, the Ministry of National Education, Preschool and Sports said the damage was concentrated in the three hardest-hit provinces of Al Haouz, Chichaoua and Taroudant.

Meanwhile, several universities in the area have postponed entrance exams and other events to make sure all candidates had equal access and time to prepare. A dean at Cadi Ayyad University, in Marrakech, said the quake’s negative effects had “disturbed the psychological preparation and mental concentration of broad categories of candidates.” Read more in this article (in Arabic).

New to University? Check Out These Useful Websites

As Arab universities begin a new academic year begins, many first-time students are faced with making the potentially difficult transition to a new educational environment. If you’re in this group and feeling overwhelmed, help is just a click away. In this article, Al-Fanar Media suggests a number of useful websites and other resources with advice that can help you gain confidence, as well as academic and life skills, as you enter your freshman year.

Egypt Strives to Attract More International Students

Egypt is striving to attract more international students to the country’s universities through a new initiative that offers them scholarships, travel discounts, and residency rights. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research launched the  “Egyptian Initiative for Scholarships and Educational Tourism” (EGYAID) as part of the National Strategy for Higher Education 2030. Read more in this article.  

Artificial Intelligence 

The Best AI Tools to Help Students with Writing and Research

As artificial intelligence infiltrates almost every aspect of daily life, Al-Fanar Media has been talking to education technology experts about which AI tools are the best to help students sharpen their writing and research. Various platforms can help students analyse data and research, make predictions based on patterns and trends, and write accurately and correctly. The experts note, however, that the final fact-checking and tone of an article is still something that only humans can do. Check more in this article.


Turkey-Syria Quake Highlighted Need for Crisis Communication Studies

After catastrophic earthquakes struck Turkey’s border region with Syria in February, Turkey temporarily restricted public access to social media. Ehab Hamdi, a lecturer of mass communication at Alexandria University, says the incident highlighted the need for more research by Arab social scientists on official communication policies during crises and disasters. Read more in this commentary


Al-Fanar Media maintains a database of quality scholarships available to Arab students, which we continuously update. To stay up to date on the latest scholarships available in international universities, check the Scholarships section here, and watch for updated feedback on free learning opportunities in our News and Reports section, here.


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