Bulletin: Displaced Gaza Student Earns Master’s Despite War; Sudan’s U. of Gadarif Resumes Studies

More on Media Literacy

Al-Fanar Media is focusing on media literacy for Arab university students through a media literacy project we launched in collaboration with the Ford Foundation. The project’s first training workshops were held in January at Misr International University, targeting Egyptian university students.

The significance of media literacy becomes increasingly evident every day, extending beyond Arab universities to pre-university education. This importance is highlighted by the vast array of information, data, news, blogs, photos, and videos circulated through various digital platforms.

As we prepare for our second workshop, for university students in Saudi Arabia, we express our deep commitment to media literacy education through various channels such as stories, training workshops, open meetings with Arab university students, media events, and Al-Fanar Media podcast episodes.

On Friday, March 29, I will moderate a conversation titled “Challenges of Teaching Media Literacy in Arab Universities” as part of the Al-Fanar Media Panel Discussions Series in March. Our esteemed speakers will include Nadia El-Gowely, executive director of Al-Fanar Media and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alexandria Trust; Nagwa El-Gazzar, vice dean for graduate studies and research at Misr International University’s Faculty of Languages and Mass Communication; and Ehab Hamdi, an assistant professor of TV and radio production at Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University.

The discussion will be broadcast live via Zoom and on Al-Fanar Media’s page on Facebook. To register for the session, please click here.

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

News from the Region

Gaza Student Earns Master’s Degree Amid Bombing and Displacement 

Randa Masoud, a student in the Master of Health Policy and Management programme at Al-Quds University’s Gaza branch, managed to complete her research and earn her master’s degree despite losing her home in an Israeli bombing and being forced to move.

According to a report on Al-Quds University’s website, was awarded the degree after presenting her research to her thesis committee via Zoom from an UNRWA clinic in Gaza. Her thesis, titled “Factors Influencing Blood Sugar Control in Type 2 Diabetes Patients at UNRWA Health Centres in Gaza”, proposes programmes to address the lack of blood sugar monitoring devices and suggests strategies for enhancing access to medications and specialist care.

When her home was destroyed, Masoud thought she had lost her research and had to suspend her studies. But after finding an earlier copy in the mail she was able to continue and her degree under extraordinary circumstances.

Sudan’s U. of Gadarif Resumes Studies, Offers Support to War-Affected Counterparts

The council of deans at the University of Gadarif, in eastern Sudan, has decided to resume studies despite difficult conditions in the war-torn country. The Sudanese minister of higher education and scientific research, Mohamed Hassan Dahab, praised the council’s decision and met with the university’s director, Ibtisam Al-Tayeb Al-Jak, to discuss preparations for the university environment and student accommodation.

During the meeting, at the minister’s interim office in Port Sudan, the minister and the university leader also discussed a plan for the university to host several universities and colleges impacted and damaged by the war. Read more on the discussion on the Facebook pages of the ministry and the university.

طالبة فلسطينية تناقش الماجستير من غزة رغم القصف والنزوح.. وجامعة القضارف تستأنف الدراسة وتستضيف نظيراتها المتأثرة بالحرب في السودان
Sudan’s minister of higher education, Mohamed Hassan Dahab, praised the University of Gadarif’s decision to resume studies.
(Photo via the ministry)

Kuwait U. Graduate School to Allocate Seats to Countries with Envoys in Kuwait

The Kuwait University Council approved several new policies at its recent meeting. According to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the council ratified a plan for the Graduate School to allocate admission seats to countries with diplomatic representation in Kuwait. 

Fayez Al-Dhafiri, acting secretary-general of Kuwait University and its official spokesman, said the council also approved an academic accreditation project at the university and agreed to include the “Research Oasis” project for international knowledge exchange within the development plan.

In addition, the council approved the proposal of the Deanship of Admissions and Registration regarding the admission and transfer policy for the 2024–2025 academic year.

طالبة فلسطينية تناقش الماجستير من غزة رغم القصف والنزوح.. وجامعة القضارف تستأنف الدراسة وتستضيف نظيراتها المتأثرة بالحرب في السودان
The Kuwait University Council approved several policy proposals at its recent meeting, headed by the university’s director,
Mishari Al-Harbi. (Photo via the university)

GU-Q Project to Study U.S. Engagement in Mideast through Lens of Basketball 

The Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University Qatar (GU-Q) is starting a research initiative that will examine U.S. political and cultural engagements in the Middle East through the lens of basketball, the university said in a news release.

The project, called “America’s Game in the Middle East: The 2027 Qatar Basketball World Cup”, will also explore the development of the sport in the region more broadly. The project was inspired by decision last year to hold the next FIBA Basketball World Cup in Qatar.

Danyel Reiche, a visiting research fellow at the center, is leading the initiative. “The Basketball World Cup has never been staged by an Arab country before,” Reiche said at an event to launch the project. “This also shows that sport remains an important policy tool for Qatar, and this did not end with hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

21 Teams from 15 Egyptian Universities Win Support in Bio-iChallenge

Twenty-one teams from 15 universities won funding and other support in the second phase of Egypt’s Bio-iChallenge programme, which recently concluded. The Bio-iChallenge, organised by Egypt’s Innovators Support Fund (ISF) and sponsored by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, encourages university students to provide innovative ideas and solutions in the fields of food, health, beauty products and biotechnology.

In a statement on the ministry’s  Facebook page, Diaa Khalil, chief executive of the ISF, said the 21 teams were selected from an initial pool of 90 teams, comprising 450 students. The fund provides financial support of 50,000 Egyptian pounds, along with technical and scientific assistance from specialists with participating companies.

Egypt’s Innovators Support Fund (ISF) recently completed the second phase of its Bio-iChallenge competition.

ICCROM-Sharjah Heritage Award Extends Deadline for Nominations

The ICCROM-Sharjah Award for Good Practices in Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management in the Arab Region has extended its deadline for nominations to 1 June.  

The ICCROM-Sharjah Award, held under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, celebrates outstanding achievements in cultural heritage conservation in the Arab region. It recognises individuals and organisations for significant contributions to cultural heritage conservation, promoting excellence and inspiring others. Nominations can be submitted online through the award website.

From Al-Fanar Media

Fears of Job Losses, Resistance to Change Are Main Obstacles to AI, Arab Experts Say

Fears of job losses and resistance to change are the main obstacles to artificial intelligence in Arab universities, Arab experts said in a recent Al-Fanar Media panel discussion titled “Arab Universities and Artificial Intelligence: Current Questions and Future Challenges”. Two scholars at Arab universities and a consultant on digital issues participated in the conversation. More details can be found in this story. Or you replay the full session here.


Western Universities’ Double Standards on Liberal Values, Academic Freedom

In recent days, the world has witnessed a display of double standards when it comes to liberal ideas and freedom of speech being practiced in academic institutions. Multiple academic institutions in the West have shut down individuals, faculty members, students, and entire departments for speaking up about topics that go against the political interests of the people or governments in power. In this essay, two scholars at Qatar University’s Gulf Studies Center argue that these events demonstrate the deterioration of freedom of speech in Western universities in line with global events.

Tips and Resources:

Chatbot Tutors: How Students and Educators Can Get the Most from These Tools

Chatbot tutors can provide interactive communication solutions for students and teachers alike. These software applications employ artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct a written or voice conversation with a student, to provide personalised instructions or answer questions. This Al-Fanar Media article offers tips for students and educators on how to get the most from these tools, plus an overview of their benefits and concerns about possible drawbacks.

In Conflict: 

Students of Gaza’s Shattered Universities to Continue Studies Online

Palestinian officials have launched a plan to let students of Gaza’s heavily war-damaged universities enrol in online courses at universities in the West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education said the plan would allow Gazan students whose educations have been disrupted by the Israel-Hamas war to resume their studies at institutions in the West Bank. The ministry plans to enrol Gazans as visiting students in universities in the West Bank at no cost. Read more 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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