Al-Fanar Media and University Communication
In our new bulletin, Al-Fanar Media brings you the most prominent news and stories 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 nature of university content platforms. Today, I will conclude this series with a discussion about Al-Fanar Media’s website, and the capabilities it provides to support university communications officers.
Al-Fanar Media has more than 10 years’ experience in covering issues of higher education and scientific research in the Arab world, in a way that has made it a destination site for those interested in exploring the news of this important sector, in both Arabic and English. All this is accomplished by a professional team that monitors, investigates, documents, and presents global-level media services in various media forms, including podcasts.
Al-Fanar Media also provides a free platform for news of scholarships available to Arab students, and covers the situation of higher education in conflict zones. In addition, it provides newsletters with the most prominent developments in the academic and research community. It also provides paid content services to partners, through the “Spotlight” service.
We have been and will continue to be the best support for Arab university communications officers. We are honoured to always be a destination site for students and academics.
Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief
From the Region:
Medical Student in Gaza Pleads for ‘Nightmare’ of Bombardment to Stop
On Sunday, Palestine’s Birzeit University published a video clip in which Salam, a fifth-year medical student at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, pleads for a cease-fire in Israel’s continuing bombardment of the besieged Palestinian Strip. “Every day the number of martyrs and wounded increases,” she said. “Our only request is for this nightmare to end and for the shooting to stop.”
Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7 after the militant group launched a surprise attack on Israel from its strongholds in the Gaza Strip. Since then, international groups have accused Israeli forces of war crimes including the targeting of civilians, forcible displacement, and attacks on hospitals and medical personnel in Gaza. More than 11,000 Palestinian have been killed, most of them children and women.
Algeria, Yemen to Expand Cooperation in Vocational Education
Yemen’s minister of higher education, Khaled Al-Wasabi, and Algeria’s minister of vocational education and training, Yacine Merabi, met to discuss opportunities for Yemen to benefit from Algeria’s expertise in this sector of education.
In a statement, the ministry representing Yemen’s internationally recognized government, based at Aden, said the two ministers had discussed cooperative activities in areas like qualifying and training faculty members in Yemeni vocational and technical institutes. The meeting also discussed ways to expand cooperation within the framework of a bilateral agreement the two countries signed in September. Under that agreement, Algeria provides 20 scholarships to Yemeni students in vocational training and education.
Qatar Medical Conference Announces Major Study on Genomics of Autism
Sidra Medicine, a state-of-the-art hospital and medical education centre located in Qatar’s Education City, is holding its annual Precision Medicine and Functional Genomics Conference (PMFG 2023) this week in Doha. On Sunday, the conference’s second day, Sidra Medicine announced the publication in the prestigious journal Genome Medicine of a major study titled “Genomic Architecture of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Qatar: The BARAKA-Qatar Study”.
According to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Khalid Fakhro, lead author of the study and chief research officer at Sidra Medicine, said the project was the first study of its kind. “We sequenced the whole genomes of over 350 families with autism, with data representing predominantly Arab and other ethnicities. This method allowed us to look for all the possible genetic variants that can contribute to autism and explain the genetic risk of autism in these families.”
PMFG 2023 continues through Tuesday. Fakhro said the conference aims to exchange knowledge, strategies, and the latest scientific research methods and results, in a way that contributes to making precision medicine and genomics programmes more organised and powerful.
A delegation from the University of Jordan, headed by the dean of student affairs, Safwan Al-Sheyab, recently visited University College London to discuss ways of cooperating in the field of student work.
In a statement, the University of Jordan said that the two sides discussed possible cooperation in extracurricular and cultural activities carried out by the Students’ Union UCL, and ways to develop Jordanian student clubs by benefiting from the experience of the British university’s students.
Taif University Is Hiring Assistant Professors in 29 Majors
Saudi Arabia’s Taif University is seeking to fill a number of full-time positions for assistant professor lecturers in 29 specialisations in the university’s faculties. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the university on Monday opened a 10-day period for receiving applications from qualified male and female candidates. The names of finalists selected for personal interviews will be announced by December 25.
The vacant positions are in various engineering specialisations, including industrial engineering, systems engineering, computer engineering, and communications and network engineering. The university will also fill positions in interior design, biochemistry, physiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, nutrition and food science, e-marketing, tourism marketing, and other majors.
From Al-Fanar Media:
Amid Syria’s long-running civil war, university students in the country’s opposition-held northwestern region struggle to stay enrolled at higher-education institutions that themselves face huge challenges. Among the most prominent challenges are the lack of international recognition of the universities’ degrees and the cost of attending. Many students’ families cannot afford to pay tuition fees, which are set in U.S. dollars rather than in the Syrian pound. Read more in this article.
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.
Using the AI chatbot, anyone can enter a question and have a unique answer generated in whatever format they desire. This is far different from an internet search, which identifies existing text. ChatGPT draws on available information and creates new documents, such as answers to multi-part questions or complete term papers, along with references. How should university professors deal with that? Logan Cochrane, an associate professor in the College of Public Policy at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, suggests some ideas. Read more here.
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.