Moroccan Universities at the Heart of a Crisis
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you our most prominent stories and other news about higher education in the Arab world.
The repercussions of Morocco’s recent earthquake do not stop at material damage and the numbers of dead and wounded.
When a crisis like an earthquake, flood or other natural disaster strikes, there are several stages in the crisis-management response.
The first stage is anticipating a crisis and trying to keep it from occurring in the first place, but making sure your community is prepared to handle those that eventually do happen.
The next stage, when a crisis occurs, is to recognise it, measure its dimensions and effects, and deal with its consequences. This includes taking actions aimed at saving lives and alleviating suffering, as well as reducing economic losses.
Once the crisis is over comes the stage of exploring lessons learned, including what needs to be done to reduce the chances of a disaster occurring in the future and mitigating its damaging effects.
The Al-Fanar Media team is continuing to review how Moroccan universities, students and academics are responding to the recent earthquake. Let’s draw some lessons together.
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
News from the Region:
U. of Jordan Hosts Training on Gender-Based Violence
A workshop at the University of Jordan this week provided training to social work students and professionals on managing cases of gender-based violence and child protection.
The training was organised by the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Social Work, in cooperation with the Syrian American Medical Society. In a statement, the university said the two-day workshop sought to enhance students’ skills in using work methodologies and guidelines in dealing with cases of gender-based violence and child protection.
The Syrian American Medical Society said that the training was based on its vision of social protection through the prevention of violence, strengthening protection systems in society, and responding to professionals’ desire to learn more about the work’s mechanisms and methodologies.
Morocco Hosts Mediterranean Student Summit
The event was organised by the Erasmus Student Network and UNIMED–Mediterranean Universities Union, with support from Morocco’s Abdelmalek Essaadi University. It started on September 20 and concludes on September 22. Thirty-one students from 14 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were chosen to participate.
The host institution for the summit is the National School of Business and Management of Tangier (ENCGT), which is part of Abdelmalek Essaadi University. Tangier is more than 600 kilometres north of the region most affected by the quake, but the catastrophe influenced the summit’s agenda. UNIMED thinks the quake and crises that have disrupted other Mediterranean countries will give students more reasons to discuss the need for international cooperation to seek solutions to global challenges.
American U. of Sharjah and U. of Edinburgh Offer ‘4+1’ Engineering Master’s Degree
Bachelor’s degree graduates of the American University of Sharjah’s College of Engineering will be able to earn a master’s degree with one additional year of study at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering under an agreement the two schools signed this month.
According to a news release from the American University of Sharjah, the agreement formalises the adoption of a “4+1 programme” that will give students who have completed four years of undergraduate engineering education at AUS the opportunity to join the Edinburgh school for one year to pursue a master’s degree.
Students can focus their graduate studies on digital design and manufacture, electrical power engineering, electronics, fire engineering science, signal processing and communications, sustainable energy systems, advanced chemical engineering, and advanced power engineering. Successful candidates will receive partial scholarships worth £3,000.
Saudi Researcher Seeks Innovative Solutions to Water Crisis
Tariq Al-Talhi, a chemistry professor at Saudi Arabia’s Taif University, is exploring the use of smart nanomaterials to solve the challenges of maintaining a clean water supply in an environmentally friendly way.
In an interview with the Saudi News Agency, Al-Talhi said research he has published with other university scientists has reached advanced stages in the development of nanostructured and other smart materials that can remove all pollutants, whether organic, inorganic or microbial, from wastewater with the lowest energy use. University researchers are now working on ideas for reducing the cost of producing these materials, he said.
Al-Talhi is also involved in other research projects for treating industrial waste and transforming it into materials of economic value, besides reducing landfill operations. The goal, he said, is to reach a sustainable and green environment with healthy groundwater and without the possibility of harm in the future.
DMZ Cairo’s Demo Day Showcases 10 Innovative Startups
DMZ Cairo, a partnership between the Universities of Canada in Egypt and the technology incubator DMZ, held its second annual Demo Day in Downtown Cairo this week, showcasing some of the most innovative startups in the region.
Demo Day provides a platform where participating startups can present their ideas to potential investors, partners, and customers, with the aim of moving their businesses forward.
The 10 startups featured this year had each completed the second round of DMZ Cairo’s incubator project, either through its National Programme for Technology Incubators or its FinTech Bootcamp.
British University in Egypt Seeks Job Opportunities for Graduates in Europe
The British University in Egypt has signed agreements with health worker human resources firms in Germany and Austria, with the aim of providing job opportunities for graduates of the university’s Faculty of Nursing in major health-care institutions in those two European countries.
Under the agreements with the Iuvare firm in Germany and HumanoRes in Austria, the university said, the companies will provide travel and work opportunities for graduates of the nursing college, and other assistance, including specialists to teach them the German language, visas and travel tickets, and training in the countries’ health-care systems.
The international migration of health workers is a sensitive issue in some countries. The World Health Organisation has noted that it has both positive and negative effects. It can help alleviate staff shortages and can help individual health workers improve their skills, job prospects and standards of living. However, it can also worsen shortages in the health systems of countries that are already understaffed.
From Al-Fanar Media:
Georgetown University in Qatar seeks to graduate students who can serve as bridges between conservative Arab societies and the wider world, says Safwan Masri, the campus’s dean. Besides carrying out its academic mission, the campus in Doha also serves as a safe space for discussions on topics that are deemed sensitive by the local community, such as migrant rights and bioethics, Masri said at a roundtable with journalists this summer. Read more in this article.
Crisis and Conflict:
Moroccan universities are coping with unprecedented challenges in the wake of the powerful earthquake that struck near Marrakech this month. Meanwhile, some students and professors are pitching in to aid relief efforts in the areas hardest hit. Reports show that almost 3,000 people were killed and over 5,600 were injured.
The level of destruction forced educational institutions in the region—including Ibn Zohr University in Agadir and Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech—to suspend studies. Those two institutions host thousands of Moroccan students. Neither suffered significant damage to their buildings, a source at the Ministry of Higher Education said. However, the earthquake caused cracks in the walls of a building of the Polydisciplinary College of Ouarzazate. Read more in this article.
Turkey’s border region with Syria was also the site of catastrophic earthquakes this year. After that tragedy, in February, Turkey temporarily restricted public access to social media. Ehab Hamdi, a lecturer of mass communication at Alexandria University, says the shutdown highlights the need for more research by Arab social scientists on official communication policies during crises and disasters. Read more in this commentary.
Hani Zaitoun, a Syrian living in Berlin, and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a United Arab Emirates-based researcher and collector of modern and contemporary Arab art, founded the Berlin Cultural Majlis as a gathering place for Arab émigrés, Germans and others interested in Arab art and culture. Read more in this article.
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.
Recently posted scholarship announcements include:
- Full Scholarships at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, in the U.A.E.
- Rhodes Scholarships for Students from Saudi Arabia
- Pan African University Scholarships for Master’s and Doctoral Studies