Newsletter

Bulletin: Israel’s Demolition of Gaza’s Al-Israa U. Stirs Outrage; Scholar Gives 1882 Map of Palestine to Library 

Are You Successful? Part 2

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

Today, we continue our talk about success and its impact on our psychological well-being, especially in our current era of global economic crises and conflicts.

When I was young, a successful person was someone who achieved the top final grades in school, who excelled in sports and had a talent.

Today, a successful person is the one who is a social media star, who travels a lot, or who owns the latest electronic devices.

Perhaps this is the nature of evolution, but trust me, today too, amid a global economic crisis, success has other forms.

If you are a student, attending your classes, focusing on your studies, and maintaining your mental well-being, this is “success.”

Limiting use of social media and using it rationally is “success”.

Parents’ ability to meet the needs of their children is “success”.

Being able to sleep at night without sleeping pills is “success”.

You are successful, you must know that well. You are strong, you have been through the worst, and there are still times of hope and pain ahead of you.

Until then, stay strong!

Mohammad El-Hawary 

Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief 

From the Region

Israel Bombing of Gaza’s Al-Israa University Stirs Academic Outrage 

Israel’s demolition last week of Al-Israa University in the Gaza Strip has stirred widespread outrage, says Palestine’s Ministry of Higher Education.

The New Arab, a news organisation based in London, said the university was obliterated by the Israeli army on Wednesday, January 17, as soldiers detonated hundreds of landmines strapped to the building. A video widely shared on social media shows the explosion and the building’s collapse into a cloud of dust.

In a statement, the Palestinian ministry called the demolition a crime and said it was part of an ongoing campaign of destruction targeting higher education institutions throughout the Gaza Strip, which has been under assault since Israel declared war on Hamas on October 7.

The destruction of Al-Israa University was a clear violation of international laws, charters and norms that guarantee the protection of educational institutions, the ministry said. It called on international humanitarian and human rights organisations to demand a halt to Israeli aggression and brutality against the Palestinian people. It also asserted that higher education in Gaza will rise again.

The Israeli government has repeatedly accused Hamas of hiding military operations posts inside and beneath universities, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure. Those claims have not been independently verified, and Hamas denies them.

Scholar Presents 1882 British Map of Palestine to National Library

Hussein Al-Rimawi, a professor of geography at Birzeit University, in the West Bank, has presented a British map of Palestine dating back to 1882 to the Palestinian National Library. In a statement, the university said that historians and geographers associated with the Palestine Exploration Fund, a society established in London in 1865, had produced this map as part of British efforts to resettle Jews in Palestine, then part of Ottoman Syria.

According to the statement, the Palestine Exploration Fund carried this map to ministries, churches, and donors to persuade them of Palestine’s readiness to receive the waves of Jewish immigration that began in 1882.

Bulletin: Israel’s Demolition of Gaza’s Al-Israa U. Stirs Outrage; Scholar Gives 1882 Map of Palestine to Library
Professor of Geography at Birzeit University, Dr. Hussein Al-Rimawi presents to the Palestinian National Library a map of Palestine dating back to the year 1882 (Al-Jami’ah).

Qatar U. Forum Discusses Use of Artificial Intelligence in Academic Quality Assurance

Qatar University’s Office of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance organised a forum this week to explore possible applications of artificial intelligence in efforts to ensure higher education quality.

According to the university, the forum addressed the impact of artificial intelligence in ensuring education quality in general and in evaluating the learning outcomes of programmes in particular, as well as various applications of AI in teaching and learning.

The forum was the third in a series. Ibrahim Al-Kaabi, the university’s vice president for academic affairs, said the forums aimed to establish “a culture of excellence and quality within the Qatar University community” and “to increase awareness of the importance of the learning outcomes assessment process.”

Jordanian Academic Wins Innovation Fellowship from British Academy

Soha Abdullah Al-Muhaisen, a faculty member and assistant dean for training in the University of Jordan’s School of Pharmacy, will participate in the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship Programme of the British Royal Academy of Engineering.

In a statement, the university said Al-Muhaisen won this opportunity after competing with applicants from eight countries. Her project entails a pioneering technology for drug delivery and pharmaceutical technology.

The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF) programme aims to build the entrepreneurial capacity of researchers and innovators in 17 countries, including Jordan, to commercialise innovations that address social and economic challenges.

Scholarships Conference in Yemen Says Education Key to Nation’s Rebuilding

Yemen held a two-day conference on scholarships this week that emphasized the importance of rebuilding the nation’s human capital through education. The conference was organised by the Ministry of Higher Education of the internationally recognized government of Yemen, based at Aden, in cooperation with the Hadhramout Foundation for Human Development.

According to a ministry statement, the conference concluded with a speech by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, who called for transparency in the provision of scholarships in needed specialisations, and for modernising and rebuilding Yemen’s universities.

The conference also heard calls for developing legislation to regulate internal and external scholarships in line with modern changes. Workshops during the conference discussed 11 scientific working papers centered on the scholarship process, its challenges and ways to confront them, regional and international experiences and models on scholarship, and future directions for developing the scholarship process.

From Al-Fanar Media

Celebrating the Arabic Language, as Artificial Intelligence Helps It Expand

In a famous 1903 poem titled “The Arabic Language Laments Its Fate with Its People,” Hafez Ibrahim (1872–1932) imagined how Classical Arabic felt about contemporary efforts to replace it with colloquial forms. In the poem, Arabic asks: “The Book of God is expansive in word and purpose, and is not narrow in its verses and sermons. How can I narrow down today to describe a machine, and format names for inventions?”

Today, it is machines and inventions that are describing Arabic, as advances in artificial intelligence and other technologies help computers master the language and expand its presence online and in the world. Among the Arab researchers leading such efforts is Ahmed Ali, principal engineer in the Arabic Language Technologies Group at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). He recently spoke to Al-Fanar Media about his group’s work. Read more in this interview

Rankings: 

QS Rankings on Sustainability for 2024 Include 72 Arab Universities

Seventy-two universities in Arab countries are included in the QS World University Rankings on Sustainability for 2024. The classification, published by the British higher-education analytics company QS Quacquarelli Symonds, evaluates how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. The American University of Beirut was the top-ranked Arab institution, placing 152nd, which put it in the top 11 percent of all 1,397 universities ranked. Read more in this article.

Al-Fanar Media Panel Discussions:

Join a Panel Discussion on ‘Arab Brain Drain: a Crisis from Within’

Al-Fanar Media will hold an online panel discussion on the topic “Arab Brain Drain: a Crisis from Within.” The session, set for Monday, January 29, will address the efforts of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) to counter the effects of Arab brain drain by establishing the “ALECSO Network for Arab Migrant Minds in the Fields of Food Security, Water, Environment and Health”. The session will also discuss ways to encourage south-to-south migration, the expertise the Arab world is losing due to brain drain, ways to create a supportive environment for Arab researchers and scientists, and what Arab universities can do to stop brain drain. Read more in this article

Opinion: 

How Can We Promote Climate Education in Schools and Universities?

Integrating climate education into curricula in schools and universities is one of the most important steps educators can take in response to global warming and the challenges it poses, says the Egyptian academic Tarek Kapiel. The effects of climate change, including record-setting heat waves, rising sea levels, and the increasing frequency of disastrous floods and droughts, already are already testing ecosystems’ resilience and are getting worse. In this essay, Kapiel explains why he believes that climate education is essential for empowering the next generation to confront the challenges ahead, and suggests some ways to incorporate it into curricula.

Podcast 

‘Experiences in Teaching Media Literacy’: New Episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast

A new episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast focuses on experiences in teaching media literacy to university and pre-university students in the Arab world. In the episode, Mohammad El-Hawary, Al-Fanar Media’s editor-in-chief, discusses Jordan’s experience in teaching media literacy and trying to provide Arab youth with skills they need to know about verifying information, in light of widespread bias and misinformation in media outlets.

The episode also includes academics who explain how to scrutinise information and assess its credibility, and discuss the concept of media literacy in the West and in Arab societies. You can listen to this episode, and others in the series, on SoundCloud, Spotify, or YouTube.

Scholarships

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 at 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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