Bulletin: Pro-Palestinian Views Are at Center of Controversies at 2 American Universities

6 Steps to Sabotage Your Future Career

Recently, and I had the pleasure of being invited, along with my colleague Nadia El-Gowely, executive director of Al-Fanar Media, to lead a workshop at the Arab Open University in Egypt on “How to Meet the Needs of the Job Market in the Digital Age”.

The workshop was graciously organised by Dalia Saad Mansour, vice president of the university, and held under the patronage of Mahmoud Abu Al-Nasr, president of the university. It presented a valuable opportunity to engage with students and academics from diverse backgrounds.

Throughout the event, vibrant discussions and interactions took centre stage, with a primary focus on essential skills across various academic disciplines and the evolving job landscape within the labour market.

The meeting also emphasised the importance of values and ethical principles, which serve as a fundamental shield alongside skills and academic knowledge. These values, behaviours, and characteristics are crucial in securing a distinguished position in a dynamic labour market.

Moreover, the gathering provided an excellent platform for exchanging experiences, interests, fears, and aspirations. It also offered an opportunity to review the content of Al-Fanar Media, which serves as vital fuel for Arab youth on their journey through professional, educational, and personal endeavours.

Indeed, such meetings exemplify the collaboration between media entities and universities, showcasing an effective model of communication aimed at serving the Arab community, with a particular focus on Arab students, youth, and women.

The title of the workshop encapsulates the essence of its message, outlined in six critical steps that young people often overlook, hindering their prospects of securing future employment. I look forward to the opportunity to delve into these steps in more detail and explore their implications further.

Until our next encounter, I highly recommend subscribing to our newsletter today. It provides invaluable resources aimed at enhancing your health and well-being. Additionally, it offers opportunities for entertainment and spiritual enrichment, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan. Stay tuned for insightful content and helpful tips tailored to enrich your life in various aspects.

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

News from the Region

MESA Criticises Texas Tech U.’s Suspension of Professor over Social Media Posts

In a letter to officials of Texas Tech University, the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom have voiced deep concerns regarding the suspension of Jairo Fúnez-Flores, an assistant professor, as a potential violation of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

Fúnez-Flores had expressed strong criticism of Israeli policies and support for Palestinian rights in social media posts that the university described as “hateful, antisemitic, and unacceptable”. It placed him on on leave while investigating whether he had made similar remarks in the classroom. But MESA’s letter said that the professor’s comments “do not appear to have manifested anything which can reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic. We therefore regard the action you have taken against Professor Fúnez-Flores as a violation of his academic freedom and of his constitutionally protected right to free speech.”

The letter calls on the university to lift the suspension and apologise to Professor Fúnez-Flores.

MESA Says U. of Arkansas Bowed to External Pressure in Event’s Cancellation

In a letter addressed to leaders at the University of Arkansas, the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) expressed concern that the university had failed to uphold academic freedom in its response to criticism that led to the cancellation of a panel discussion concerning Israel’s war in Gaza.

The panel discussion, which had been scheduled for November 8, 2023, was organised by two esteemed Middle East experts, Professor Joel Gordon and Professor Emeritus Ted Swedenburg, both affiliated with the university’s King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies. But the event was abruptly postponed and later canceled by the university following external criticism that MESA described as defamation of the professors and the center.

Messages that persuaded university officials to cancel the event included a letter from a faculty member who raised objections about the event’s organisers and alleged potential incitement of anti-Semitism. MESA criticized the university for failing to defend the defamed professors and the King Fahd Center. It also said the event’s cancellation was a troubling indication that the university had succumbed to external pressures, compromising academic freedom and free speech on campus. 

Doha Lecture Explores Shift in International Economic Governance

The latest talk in the Foundations of International Thought series, jointly presented by Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) and the College of Law at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), provided insights on a recent shift in international economic governance. According to a news release from GU-Q, this shift has been marked by an emerging trend among countries imposing taxes and regulations over the way goods and services are produced in another country.

The guest speaker was Timothy Meyer, who is the Richard Allen/Cravath Distinguished Professor in International Business Law at Duke University and a visiting professor at HBKU College of Law. In a conversation moderated by professors from GU-Q and HBKU, Meyer explored the need for a new economic framework that balances global market participation with the needs of developing countries. He concluded that it may be necessary to “reconceptualise the role of top international economic institutions in promoting economic cooperation … for a world in which the underlying principles of authority are changing quickly and dramatically.”

Bulletin: Pro-Palestinian Views Are at Center of Controversies at 2 American Universities
Timothy Meyer (center), of Duke University, was the guest speaker at a Symposium on Transformation in Global Economic Governance.
(Photo: Georgetown University in Qatar)

Saudi Arabia Launches Virtual Health Guide Service 

Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of health, Abdulaziz Al-Rumaih, recently presided over events marking two milestones in the kingdom’s digital healthcare landscape: the launch of the new Virtual Health Guide Service, and the graduation of the first cohort from the Health Tech Sandbox incubator.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the Virtual Health Guide Service aims to mitigate health risks, boost health awareness, and streamline access to healthcare services. It also emphasises early disease detection and identification of associated risk factors, with the goal of increasing life expectancy and enhancing quality of life.

The Health Tech Sandbox’s first graduating cohort comprises 16 companies from the Sehha Virtual Hospital Ideas Incubator, which endeavours to bolster digital health solutions through through advisory and logistical support, training, guidance, and motivation. The incubator fosters an experimental environment that encourages innovation and experimentation.

Events and Festivals

Katherine Ryan and LaughTrip Join Stellar Lineup for Dubai Comedy Festival

The Dubai Comedy Festival has added two more big names to the lineup for its 2024 edition: the Canadian comedy sensation Katherine Ryan and the renowned Filipino comedy troupe LaughTrip. Festival organisers say they aim to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience featuring some of the most prominent comedic talents.

Katherine Ryan is known for her acerbic humour, which is often compared to that of the American comedy legend Joan Rivers. LaughTrip is a team of four diverse comedians from the Philippines: Alex Calleja, Buena Opera, Gibbs Gallon, and Mac Navarrese. Together, they offer a range of comedic talents.

The Dubai Comedy Festival will run from April 12 to 21 at venues including Dubai Opera and the Coca-Cola Arena. The festival is produced by BRAG in partnership with Live Nation and Tickets can be purchased on the festival’s website.

From Al-Fanar Media

Mauritanian University Students and Ministry Reach Accord after Months of Protests

After months of protests, Mauritanian university students and the country’s Ministry of Higher Education have reached an agreement that addresses key students demands and eases tensions on campuses. The National Union of Mauritanian Students and other student unions started a series of demonstrations and marches in mid-December to highlight their demands for improvements in educational and campus services at universities. Tensions escalated last month when security forces began intervening to disperse demonstrators. Student unions accused the ministry of “militarising” the University of Nouakchott campus. Read more in this article


Using Outer Space as a Safe Space in Your Courses

Do you have academic questions too controversial or sensitive to discuss in your classroom? Jörg Matthias Determann, who teaches history at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, suggests moving the setting off Earth. In an essay for Al-Fanar Media, Determann writes that he tries to seek a balance between challenging his students and preventing them from being overwhelmed: “In other words, I have sought to get them out of their comfort zone while still keeping them in a ‘habitable zone’ (to use an astronomical term). Outer space often proved to be a safe space for outlandish ideas.” Read more here.

Tips and Resources:

Managing Your Energy Is Key to Performing Well in Work or School

Multi-tasking may sound like an appealing solution for Arab university students as they strive to excel academically and prepare for the labour market. They face multiple demands on their time and energy, especially when taking into account the need for recreational and social activities too. But multi-tasking may not be the best option. Research published in the journal “PLOS One” explores the reasons why some people like to multi-task, even though their overall productivity is likely to suffer as a result. In this article, Al-Fanar Media presents some of the recommendations from these and other experts.


Podcast: Arab Experts Discuss Media Literacy and Fact-Checking the News

In a recent episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast, editors of well-known Arab news organisations discussed media literacy and the importance of fact checking news stories and other online content. The episode, titled “Media Literacy: Checking Information”, focuses on experiences in verifying information in media work and its role in eradicating media illiteracy. You can listen to this episode and others in the series on SoundCloud, Spotify, or 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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