Bulletin: Israeli Forces Storm Birzeit U.; Hungary Offers Scholarships to Iraqi Students

Useful Platforms for University Communications Officers

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

In recent issues of the bulletin, we have been talking about standards of effective communication in Arab higher-education institutions and the role of university communications officers. Today, I want to focus on how awareness of media platforms and their functions can help communications officers improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

A university communications officer must realise that media platforms may be directed toward a general or a specialised audience. These platforms aim to keep users informed about what they need to know in specific sectors and fields.

Communications officers must also realise that these platforms are not a place to find press releases. Rather, each platform has its own editorial policy, priorities, specialisation, interests, and audience.

Communications officers must also realise that media platforms process the articles and information they present in accordance with those specifications and standards, which stipulate that journalistic content must be separated from advertising content.

To be continued. 

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

From the Region:

Israeli Forces Raid Birzeit U., Seize Student Property

Palestine’s Birzeit University, in the West Bank, reported on Facebook that Israeli forces had stormed its campus early Wednesday and raided the headquarters of the Student Council. The troops confiscated flags and other items belonging to student groups, and damaged other property. The troops withdrew shortly after conducting the raid, the university said later.

“This intrusion constitutes a blatant violation of all international laws, customs and covenants that criminalize touching universities and educational institutions,” the university stated. It added that the raid was part of a continuing pattern of targeting educational institutions, coming came less than two months after a previous campus intrusion, on September 24. In that raid, Israeli forces assaulted and arrested eight students, the university said.

Birzeit University has been monitoring Palestinian casualties in Israel’s war against the Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip since that conflict began on October 7, after a deadly Hamas raid into Israel. More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in the bombardment of Gaza, the university said in a recent post.

Hungary Offers 70 Scholarships for Iraqi Students

The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education announced that Hungary is offering 70 scholarships to Iraqi undergraduate and graduate students for the 2024–2025 academic year.

In a statement, the ministry said that these scholarships include 10 scholarships for undergraduate students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, medical sciences, and natural sciences; 20 scholarships for master’s degree students; and 40 scholarships for students pursuing doctorates in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering, and natural sciences.

The deadline for submitting applications is January 15, 2024. For more details, click here.

Talk at UPEI Cairo Highlights Tourism’s Impact on Egypt’s Economy

The Faculty of Business at the University of Prince Edward Island in Cairo (UPEI Cairo) hosted a lecture this week on “Tourism’s Impact on the Egyptian Economy.” The talk, presented by the Egyptian Senator Hayam Beniamin, offered valuable insights into the significance of tourism on the Egyptian economy.

UPEI Cairo is part of the Universities of Canada in Egypt. In a statement, the university said Senator Beniamin’s lecture exemplified the campus’s commitment to providing real-life experiences for students and bridging the gap between academia and industry.

The talk also served as the cornerstone for subsequent student projects, which representatives of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism will evaluate to determine their feasibility for implementation.

Qatar U. Event Seeks to Motivate Future Engineers

The College of Engineering at Qatar University recently held a Future Engineer event designed to motivate high school students, particularly those from the Qatar Academy for Science and Technology, to study engineering.

The event was organized by the college’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. It put a particular focus on civil and mechanical engineering as subjects that are essential to Qatar’s continuing growth. The gathering gave students the opportunity to participate in hands-on experiments in those disciplines and delve into various scientific areas within them.

U. of Dubai Hosts Conference on Information Security

The College of Engineering and IT at the University of Dubai held its sixth international conference on “Signal Processing and Information Security” this week, with scientific delegations from 20 countries participating. The two-day conference, which concluded on Thursday, was held under the auspices of the International Society of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the conference provided a platform for academics, industry specialists, and entrepreneurs to present research results and discuss developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies, as well as new applications in signal processing and ensuring the security of electronic information.

Bulletin: Israeli Forces Storm Birzeit U.; Hungary Offers Scholarships to Iraqi Students
The University of Dubai hosted a two-day international conference on “Signal Processing and Information Security”
this week. (Photo: WAM)

From Al-Fanar Media

‘Free to Think 2023’: A Year of Bombings and Other Attacks on Higher Education

In “Free to Think 2023”, Scholars at Risk documents another year of bombings, political restraints, and other attacks on students, scholars and universities, and calls for global action to protect academic freedom and the higher-education community. The report, released in October by the group’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, analyses 409 attacks on the higher-education community in more than 60 countries that occurred between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The report is the ninth in Scholars at Risk’s Free to Thinkseries. Read more in this article

In Conflict: 

Pro-Palestinian Rallies in London Face Backlash, Calls for Caution

Rallies on university campuses and in the streets of the British capital to show support for Palestine as Israel bombards the Gaza Strip have themselves become controversial. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for a pro-Palestinian demonstration planned for this past Saturday to be canceled because it might clash with Remembrance Sunday, when Britain remembers its own war dead. And at SOAS University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies), a controversy is continuing over that institution’s suspensions of students who participated in a rally that school leaders deemed a threat to campus safety. Read more in this article


Saudi Reading Competition Opens to Competitors from Across the Arab World

Spreading the culture of reading and celebrating knowledge in society are prominent goals of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). The center’s Reading Enrichment Program, called iRead, aims to inspire a million new readers by 2030.  

A centerpiece of the program is the “Reader of the Year” competition, which Ithra opened to high school and university age participants from all over the Arab world for the first time last year. Ithra, based in Dhahran, is an initiative of the Saudi oil company Aramco. Read more in this article


Book Explores What Iraq Must Do to Improve Its Education System

Iraq urgently needs to reform its education system, the Iraqi academic Mohamed Al-Rubeai argues in his book “Education Issues in Iraq”. The book, published last year, examines the condition of education in Iraq along three axes: the difficulties the education system faces, the challenges that hinder reforms, and potential solutions that could put the system on the right track to help build future generations. Iraq needs to prioritise investment in education in order to advance the role of its educational institutions, improve the professionalism of their teaching staffs, and raise the quality of education they provide, Al-Rubeai says. Read more in this article


Learn about Chatbot Tutors in New Episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast

A new episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast explores chatbot tutors, one of the notable new applications of artificial intelligence in educational technology. You can listen to the new episode and previous episodes of the podcast through Al-Fanar Media’s accounts on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube.


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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