Bulletin: Airstrikes in Gaza Severely Damage Universities, Educational Foundation

Gaza: Endless Crises

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

The Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people living in what rights groups have called an “open-air prison”, has been an open, incurable Arab wound for decades.

Today, the series of destructive attacks on Gaza by the Israeli occupation continues within the framework of an Israeli operation called “Iron Swords,” in response to the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation that Hamas militants within Gaza launched last week.

Between the Flood and the Swords, the Gaza Strip is stuck, with its infrastructure again coming under bombardment, and its educational institutions and students at different educational levels severey affected.

Targeting civilians is unacceptable, and targeting infrastructure is also a crime because of its impact on the lives of civilians.

Even if sensible voices succeed in bringing about a cease-fire, it will be too late, after all the destruction that has already occurred in the Strip.

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

News from the Region:  

Bombs Damage 2 Universities in Gaza, Drawing Ministry’s Rebuke

On Wednesday, two days after the Islamic University in Gaza was heavily damaged by Israeli airstrikes, Palestine’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research strongly condemned the Israeli occupation’s continuing aggression against the Palestinian people and particularly denounced the direct bombing of two universities. 

The Islamic University in Gaza reported on Facebook that several buildings its campus in Gaza City had been severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes on Monday, October 9. A university official later confirmed that “some of the buildings were completely destroyed”, according to news reports.

The higher-education ministry’s statement denounced that attack, as well as the bombing of Al-Azhar University in Gaza. No further information about damage at Al-Azhar University was available.

The ministry said Israeli aggression had killed hundreds of people, including students and employees of higher-education institutions. It called on all international humanitarian and legal organisations to intervene and stand up against the occupation’s “arbitrary, dangerous, and continuing attacks against higher-education institutions and the Palestinian people as a whole.”

Education Above All’s Facility in Gaza Destroyed in Bombing

On October 10, the Education Above All Foundation’s Al Fakhoora House, in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City, was destroyed in an Israeli bombing. The neighbourhood has suffered extensive damage and has been nearly wiped out by Israeli bombardments, Al Jazeera reported.

In a statement, Education Above All reiterated that collective punishment, reprisals, and attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are serious violations of international humanitarian law, and if deliberate they are war crimes. It also said that Al Fakhoora House was a safe space for students and families in an area that hosts nongovernmental and international organisations.

According to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), Al Fakhoora House provides consolidated student services and programme administration support; scholarships and registration services; workshops, seminars, and video conferences; academic advisory services; and civic engagement activities.

Saudi Arabia Hosts Academic Forum on Mental Health

In an event marking World Mental Health Day on October 10, Saudi Arabia’s Umm Al-Qura University, in cooperation with the National Centre for Mental Health Promotion, held an academic forum and exhibition under the slogan “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.”

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), participants discussed best practices and programmes related to mental health issues from both educational and applied aspects. The forum included workshops on methods for acquiring cognitive-behavioral therapy skills in real-life situations and addressing social problems affecting mental health, in addition to psychological counseling sessions for visitors and students.

80 Universities Attend Education Fair in U.A.E.

Over 80 universities from more than 15 countries are participating in the Dubai edition of Najah, the biggest annual international education fair in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the three-day fair features more than 30 seminars and live sessions with esteemed higher-education experts. This year’s event has attracted thousands of school and college students seeking the latest opportunities in higher education. Sessions at the fair’s “Success Hub” space  aim to enlighten students on emerging new disciplines and established fields that offer promising career prospects. Another event at the fair provides school counsellors with the chance to foster lasting relationships with fellow educators.

Bulletin: Airstrikes in Gaza Severely Damage Universities, Educational Foundation
Part of the activities of the Najah Dubai education exhibition for universities (WAM).

British Council Appoints New Regional Director in MENA

The British Council, the United Kingdom’s leading institution for cultural relations and educational opportunities, has appointed Amir Ramzan as regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

According to a statement received by our bulletin, Amir will lead British Council teams across 17 MENA countries, overseeing their work in arts, English, and education, with the aim of nurturing deeper connections, understanding, and trust between the people of the United Kingdom and the MENA region.

Amir started his journey with the British Council as a teacher and subsequently assumed high positions with the council in Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and Pakistan.

From Al-Fanar Media

Arab Families and Foundations that Give Scholarships

Many prominent Arab families and foundations are among the donor institutions that provide scholarships to Arab undergraduate and graduate students. Al-Fanar Media takes a look at some of the major contributors in this area. Explore more in this article.  

Arab Students in the United Kingdom Talk about Their Experiences

Some of the estimated 30,000 Arab students in the United Kingdom have been talking to Al-Fanar Media about their experiences. The United Kingdom is the second most-favoured destination in the world for international students and has recently been striving to attract more Arab students. Several Arab students told Al-Fanar Media about the changes they had encountered, both positive and negative, and their experiences in adjusting to them. This article can help you if you want to pursue your studies in the UK. 

Tips and Resources:  

Erasmus+ Opportunities for Students and Organisations

Erasmus+ is the European Union’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. It also offers mobility and cooperation opportunities for individuals and organisations in higher education, vocational education and training, school education (including early childhood education and care), adult education, and youth and sports activities. Read more about the Erasmus+ opportunities that individuals and organisations can join in this article.


Digital Archive Aims to Preserve Traditional Art of Palestinian Embroidery

The Palestinian American entrepreneur Zain Masri created Tirazain, a digital library of traditional Palestinian embroidery, to document, preserve and reclaim a culturally important element of Palestinian heritage. In an interview with Al-Fanar Media, Masri said that Tirazain honours the generations of Palestinian women who created the 1,000 cross-stitch designs it documents. Read more in this article


Teaching Media in Arab Universities: Challenges of 2023 and Beyond

The world is undergoing many transformations, in which neither academics nor professors can stand idly by. Indeed, university education and education policymakers must take these challenges into account in a way that makes their educational programs flexible and capable enough to keep pace with them and help empower graduates. In the field of teaching journalism and media, there are fundamental challenges facing the profession, including the issue of false news. Read more in this commentary

In Conflict and Disaster Zones: 

How Moroccan Universities Are Coping with Earthquake Repercussions

Nearly 3,000 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured in the earthquake that struck the El-Haouz region of Marrakech, Morocco, on September 8. The United Nations says some 300,000 people were affected overall. In the hardest hit provinces, entire villages were erased, and many historic buildings in Marrakech suffered damage. Many education facilities, including Ibn Zohr University in Agadir and Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, were forced to suspend studies. Read more about the damage to the region and to education 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.

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