Newsletter

Bulletin: Birzeit U. Honours Students in Israeli Prisons; Applications Open for Fulbright Grants for Egyptians

Embracing Our Humanity 

Our essence as human beings is shaped by knowledge, religious and social contexts, economic and psychological influences, as well as positive and negative outlooks, intertwined with a blend of achievements and setbacks. This culmination defines us as either human or potentially something else, perhaps even monstrous.

Our humanity hinges on the character of our responses and attitudes, forged by these diverse elements. It transcends mere affiliations like university choices, academic pursuits, hobbies, or musical preferences, encompassing the entirety of each individual’s life story.

One’s life story intertwines with the stories of others, regardless of our direct connection to them. It begins with our parents, extends through our siblings, neighbours, friends, and colleagues at university or work.

Understanding one’s role within each narrative is crucial, as is recognising the roles of others. This awareness significantly impacts the dynamics and equilibrium of our interactions.

Bearing the responsibility of being human can be weighty, yet it holds immense value and unfolds as a discovery with age. However, do schools and universities contribute to shaping one’s humanity?

While focusing on education’s aspects like quality, curriculum, educators, facilities, and teaching methods is important, we must also prioritise evaluating its outcomes through a humanitarian lens.

This includes not just knowledge and information but also personal, cognitive, humanitarian, and community-building skills. Such a holistic approach aims to nurture individuals who can positively contribute to their homes, communities, and countries in a balanced manner.

The responsibility of fostering a well-rounded individual falls on various entities, including the family, schools, universities, government, civil society, the media, and other stakeholders. It’s not just about producing graduates; the goal is to cultivate individuals who are balanced and positive in all aspects of life.

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

News from the Region:

On Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, Birzeit U. Honours Students in Israeli Prisons

Birzeit University observed Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17 by publishing a tally of its students detained in Israeli prisons. Its data show that over 140 of its students are currently detained by Israeli occupation forces. Among them are more than 70 students being held under administrative detention.

The university highlighted that over 70 students have been incarcerated in occupation prisons since the start of Israel’s war in Gaza in October, including four female students and four members of the academic and administrative staff. Additionally, the university mentioned that over ten students face lengthy sentences ranging from 10 years to multiple life sentences. It noted that in the past decade, the occupation has arrested over 500 university students, including more than 25 female students.

Applications Open for Fulbright Grants for Egyptian Students, Professors, and Professionals

Egypt’s Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) has announced the opening of applications for Fulbright scholarships and grants for Egyptians during the academic year 2025–2026.

According to a statement from the Academy, opportunities open to Egyptian university students and professors and other professionals to study or conduct research in the United States during the year include the following:

  • Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) grants, which allow early-career English teachers or professionals in related fields to study for one academic year in the United States.
  • Ph.D. Joint Supervision grants, which allow Ph.D. candidates at universities in Egypt to collect data and/or conduct research under the joint supervision of a supervisor in Egypt and an American co-supervisor in the United States.
  • Master’s degree scholarships for university graduates to study in the United States in all fields of study for a maximum of two years.  
  • Arts grants for professional artists who wish to attend master classes and/or conduct field research in applied, fine or performing arts for six to nine months in the United States.
  • Grants for graduates of Islamic Studies from relevant faculties at Al-Azhar University or the faculties of Dar Al-Ulum to pursue graduate studies in Islamic Studies in the U.S.
  • The M.B.A. for University and Research Center Leadership programme, which supports M.B.A. study in the United States for Egyptian full-time faculty members who are committed to developing the administrative and educational systems at their home institutions.
  • Arts Management Research grants, which provide research opportunities at U.S. institutions for Egyptian professionals and academics who work in arts and cultural management, or museum and heritage studies.
  • The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, which allows young and mid-career professionals to develop their professional, managerial and leadership skills through a 10-month program in the U.S.

Other research and data collection grants for professionals and academics are also available. For a full list of all open Fulbright programs for Egyptians and information about how to apply, please click here.

Morocco Hosts International Symposium on Big Data and the Internet of Things

Morocco hosted the seventh international symposium on Big Data and the Internet of Things this week at the National School of Applied Sciences in Fez, which is part of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University.

According to the Moroccan Press Agency (MAP), participants discussed topics like “Cybersecurity in Industrial Environments for the Internet of Things,” “Using Drones to Transport, Monitor, and Maintain Power Lines,” and “Artificial Intelligence in Health” in workshops over the symposium’s three days, 17–19 April.

In opening remarks, Abderrahim Lahrche, director of the National School of Applied Sciences in Fez, stressed the importance of the event, saying it would contribute to advancing knowledge and opening new research horizons in fields related to big data and the Internet of Things.

GU-Qatar Conference Examines Gender in Foreign Policy

The Gender in Foreign Policy Conference, held 18 April at Georgetown University in Qatar, brought together several prominent academics, diplomats and national leaders to discuss how to improve foreign policy and practice through gender-informed approaches across multiple contexts, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

In announcing the event, the university said the conference would also examine the specifics of gender in conflict situations, with a focus on Afghanistan, Gaza, and Ukraine. The conference was the seventh event in the university’s Hiwaraat series, launched last fall. The conferences have connected diverse voices from the Global South and the Global North to tackle timely topics through a multidisciplinary lens.

Khalifa U. Showcases Sustainable Technology Innovations at World Future Energy Summit

The United Arab Emirates’ Khalifa University of Science and Technology showcased 11 green innovations at the 2024 World Future Energy Summit, held 16–18 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Sir John O’Reilly, the university’s president, noted that the summit brought together global leaders, industry influencers and decision-makers to focus on advanced and sustainable solutions, which made it an ideal platform for Khalifa University to show off its sustainable innovations and demonstrate the university’s firm commitment to achieving a safer future.

The innovations on display at Khalifa University’s pavilion at the summit included AI-enhanced software for stabilising the power grid, radiant cooling panels for solar energy and greenhouse applications, a project on climate change impacts in the MENA region, a solar-powered system for extracting water from air, and the Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP), a solar thermal energy conversion and storage facility.

Bulletin: Birzeit U. Honours Students in Israeli Prisons; Fulbright Grants for Egyptians Are Open
Khalifa University of Science and Technology’s pavilion at the World Future Energy Summit in the Emirates (WAM).

From Al-Fanar Media:

As War Rages in Sudan, Scholar Looks at How Ancient Sudanese Resolved Conflicts

As fighting continues in Sudan’s year-old civil war, Othman Al-Sharif, director of the Beja Cultural Studies Centre at the country’s Red Sea University, looks to the ancient Beja tribes and how they resolved conflicts. In an interview with Al-Fanar Media, Al-Sharif said the centre has thousands of ancient documents relating to conflict resolution between Beja tribes so they could continue living peacefully together. The centre’s goal is to safeguard the Beja community’s unique culture and heritage. This means, among other things, promoting the teaching of the Beja language. Read more in this article.

Future Jobs:

Why Study AI? A Guide to Artificial Intelligence Studies and Jobs

As increasing numbers of Arab university students aspire to study artificial intelligence (AI), Al-Fanar Media put together a brief guide to AI studies and the careers available to graduates in this rapidly expanding field. Our guide looks at the various departments and majors that have introduced programmes in artificial intelligence and gives examples of some of the major universities across the Arab world that emphasise AI teaching and research. It also looks at some of the high-paying careers that AI graduates can pursue. Read more in this article.

Academic Experiences:

How to Excel in Your Doctoral Journey: Advice for Arab Graduate Students

Exceptional doctoral students exhibit remarkable critical thinking skills and a keen ability to analyse information accurately, writes the Iraqi scholar Mohamed al-Rubeai. They also have excellent communication abilities and are fueled by a genuine passion for their research area, he adds. In an essay for Al-Fanar Media, al-Rubeai shares insights gained from years of supervising doctoral candidates in Western universities, tailoring his advice for Arab graduate students. Read more here.

In Conflict:

Plan Lets Students of Gaza’s Shattered Universities 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.

Media Literacy:

Media Literacy Courses Help Students Question What They Read and Watch

In a recent Al-Fanar Media panel discussion, scholars and specialists delved into the complexities of teaching media literacy at Arab universities. The session tackled multiple questions and challenges, such as how to define media literacy and how to incorporate it into curricula within Arab higher education. You can listen to a replay of the discussion (in Arabic) on Al-Fanar Media’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, or read more about it here.

Artificial Intelligence

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. Other potential barriers to artificial intelligence in Arab universities, they noted, included resource limitations, technical challenges, and the ethical and legal implications that would arise. More details can be found in this story. Or you replay the full session here.

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 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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