Bulletin: Palestinian Ministry Denounces Abduction of 2 Students; Iraq’s Medical Accreditor Wins Key Approval 

A Look at Media Coverage and Rankings of Arab Universities

Al-Fanar Media closely tracks recent developments related to higher education in the Arab world, including news of Arab universities’ rankings in regional and international classifications.

Twenty Arab universities were among the top 1,000 globally in the latest Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which rates universities on the impact and online visibility of their research output. 

Produced every six months by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), in Spain, the ranking aims is to promote open access to the knowledge universities generate by encouraging institutions and scholars to have a web presence that accurately reflects their activities.

Webometrics says universities can improve their ranking by increasing the quantity and quality of their electronic publications. Its latest ranking evaluates more than 33,500 universities in all, and 1,365 Arab universities are among them.

The recent coverage serves as both the password and the bridge connecting Arab higher education institutions with the media.

These shared spaces are founded on positive and effective communication, providing Arab universities with the opportunity to benefit from media expertise and attain their rightful global position. This position mirrors their genuine, tangible accomplishments in scientific research and community service.

It is no secret that Arab universities encounter numerous communication challenges within the higher education sector.

Resolving them starts with fostering genuine partnerships between Arab universities and reputable specialised media outlets. Our universities deserve to stand among the world’s best, and our Arab societies hold high expectations for them.

Further insights into the Webometrics classification can be found in today’s bulletin and on the Al-Fanar Media website under the Classifications category.

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

News from the Region

Palestinian Ministry Denounces Israeli Abduction of 2 Birzeit U. Students

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education has strongly condemned the abduction of two students of Birzeit University by undercover Israeli soldiers last week. The university identified the students as Majed Hassan, president of the Student Council, and Amr Zaloum, secretary of the council’s sports committees, and said they were abducted by special forces “interrogators” in front of the campus’s western gate.

Al Jazeera reported that the students were abducted on Thursday, February 22, during a two-day operation in which the Israeli army arrested at least 18 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Jerusalem. More than 7,170 Palestinians have been detained since Israel’s war against Hamas began on October 7, Palestinian government and nongovernmental sources said.

In its statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education said the abductions blatantly contravened international laws and treaties that forbid attacks on educational institutions. The ministry urged local and international humanitarian organisations to stand up against Israel’s repeated targeting of Palestinian education, saying international silence allows such violations to continue. Despite the continuing attacks, however, Palestine’s higher education institutions remain committed to their mission of nurturing scholars and talents, the statement said. 

Iraqi Council that Oversees Medical Schools Receives International Accreditation

Iraq’s National Council for Accreditation of Medical Colleges has achieved full international accreditation from the World Federation for Medical Education, underscoring the national council’s adherence approved standards in its policies and procedures to ensure the quality of medical education.

In a statement, Iraq’s ministry of higher education, Naeem Al-Aboudy, said this recognition from the World Federation for Medical Education is a testament to the concerted efforts of Iraq’s robust national educational institutions. Al-Aboudy congratulated the national council, universities and health institutions, and the Iraqi people and government for this achievement, calling it the culmination of tireless work.

King Abdulaziz U. Wins Award for Project to Aid Deaf Students

King Abdulaziz University has won a third consecutive Zero Project Award for its “We Hear You!” project, which aims to improve the Arabic-language skills of deaf and hard of hearing students who wish to enrol at the university.

The Saudi institution’s initiative was one of 77 innovative solutions from 43 countries that the Zero Project honoured at its recent annual conference at U.N. headquarters in Vienna. The awards recognise projects that remove barriers for persons with disabilities in the fields of inclusive education, and information and communication technology (ICT).

The award winners included two other projects in the Arab region, both run by nongovernmental organisations in Palestine. One provides hearing aids and glasses to children in refugee camps to improve their educational outcomes, and the other focuses on providing an inclusive education environment for children with and without disabilities during times of crisis and emergencies.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), King Abdulaziz University’s third consecutive win is a testament to its commitment to inclusivity and supporting students with disabilities, who account for about 30 percent of the university’s enrolment. The institution was ranked second globally in the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for its achievements in support of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 10, on reducing inequalities.

2 Universities in Sharjah to Forge Stronger Academic Ties 

Leaders of the University of Sharjah and the American University of Sharjah have agreed to establish a framework for cooperation between the two universities and facilitate joint initiatives.

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), a memorandum of understanding between the two universities stipulates that they will cooperate in exchange programmes for students and faculty members to broaden research options and facilitate the transfer of students between the two institutions. The agreement also aims to enhance other joint academic activities, including supervision of graduate students, research activities, dual academy programmes and short-term specialised programmes, e-learning, curriculum development, and vocational training.

AUC Plans Branch Headquarters in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital 

Leaders of the American University in Cairo (AUC) recently met officials of the company overseeing Egypt’s New Administrative Capital to assess the readiness of a new branch headquarters the university plans to establish there for its School of Continuing Education. The AUC delegation included Ahmad Dallal, the university’s president; Tarek Shawki, the university’s counsellor and a former Egyptian minister of education; and members of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Khaled Abbas, chairman of the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD) company, said the university’s decision to establish a branch headquarters in the New Administrative Capital solidified the district’s reputation as a global education hub. Several international universities have opened or plan to open branch campuses there, including the Universities of Canada in Egypt; the Knowledge Hub, a project of Coventry University in the United Kingdom and Portugal’s Nova University Lisbon; European Universities in Egypt, which hosts programmes recognised by three British institutions; the German International University of Applied Sciences; and the International Hungarian University. The New Administrative Capital is also home to Egypt University of Informatics.

The American University in Cairo has campuses in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in New Cairo, a satellite city adjacent to the New Administrative Capital. AUC’s School of Continuing Education is regarded as a premier institution for continuing education in Egypt and the wider region. It holds accreditation from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

Georgetown–Qatar Prof’s Book Explains How Universal Basic Income Would Work

With the global wealth gap growing each year, a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar asks in his new book whether a small cash income, sufficient for basic needs, ought to be provided regularly and unconditionally to every citizen. The book, “Universal Basic Income”, by Karl Widerquist, a political philosopher and economist, is part of MIT Press’s “Essential Knowledge” series.

In a statement, MIT Press describes the book as a short, accessible introduction to the concept of universal basic income (UBI) that answers fundamental questions including what UBI is, how it would work, and arguments for and against it. Widerquist also examines what a UBI policy would cost, as well as its economic and social benefits, especially in an age when automation and artificial intelligence are pushing more types of workers out of jobs

Universal basic income has been central to Widerquist’s research and scholarly work for over 20 years. An interdisciplinary researcher, he is the author, coauthor, or editor of 11 books in fields as diverse as economics, politics, philosophy, and anthropology.

Bulletin: Palestinian Ministry Denounces Abduction of 2 University Students; Iraq’s Medical Accreditor Wins Key Approval
Karl Widerquist, a political philosopher and economist at
Georgetown University in Qatar, is the author of a new book,
“Universal Basic Income”.

From Al-Fanar Media:

Webometrics Ranks 20 Arab Universities in Top 1,000 for Research Visibility

In Webometrics’ latest edition, 20 Arab universities were among the top 1,000 top-ranked institutions worldwide, including eight universities in Saudi Arabia and five in Egypt. The Webometrics ranking, produced by a public research body in Spain, compares universities on measures of research impact and online visibility. Its primary objective is to promote open access to the knowledge universities generate by encouraging institutions and scholars to have a web presence that accurately reflects their activities. Read more in this article.

In Conflict: 

Sudan’s War Puts Many of the Country’s Universities Back to Square One

Higher education has not escaped the devastating effects of a 10-month-old war between rival militaries in Sudan. The country’s higher education minister, Mohamed Hassan Dahab, recently told Al-Fanar Media about the grim toll the war has inflicted on higher education in terms of infrastructure, human lives, and students’ hopes. University buildings have been damaged or destroyed, setting students further back in their studies. Speaking away from his ministry’s burnt-out headquarters in Khartoum, Dahab also talked about steps the ministry and universities are taking to keep their doors open to students. Read more in this article


Roles for Arab Academics in Confronting Israel’s War on Gaza

The Palestinian cause is a legitimate one, for which the Palestinian people have struggled for decades, writes the Egyptian academic Tarek Kapiel. He calls on Arab academics to present the Palestinian cause to the international community through various publications and forums and social media, and to create a comprehensive information database about the Palestinian cause that would be available to everyone. Read more in this article.

Tips and Resources: 

3 Ways to Study Abroad: Scholarships, Exchange Programmes, and Internships

Many Arab students, of all age groups, dream of studying abroad. There are many ways to achieve this dream, but three of the best ways include scholarships, student exchange programmes, and summer internships. In this article, Al-Fanar Media outlines how to explore opportunities and successfully achieve your goal of studying abroad. Besides scholarship advice, we also offer examples of cultural exchanges and other opportunities to enrich students’ knowledge, skills and experiences through internships abroad.


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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