Bulletin: Talk at GU-Q Explores International Law and Palestine; 25 Chinese Universities to Recruit at U.A.E. Event

Artificial Intelligence: Good or Evil? 

Artificial intelligence remains a widely discussed topic, with ongoing advancements in the field. 

Concerns about potential job displacements affecting millions due to AI persist, alongside continuous discussions on its technologies, impacts, and the search for ethical guidelines and regulatory measures.

However, our perceptions play a crucial role, as many voice also highlight AI as a tool to enhance productivity. While it brings positive effects, there are also valid concerns about its negative impacts, emphasising the importance of responsible usage.

This dialogue is but one among countless others that have occurred over new technologies in the past and will continue into the future. It’s a discourse that invariably accompanies each advancement and innovation witnessed by the world, be it through industrial, technological, or informational revolutions.

The crux lies in readiness and the expansion of experiential horizons, enabling us to discern what benefits us most, and ultimately opt for applications that ease our lives. 

Yes, AI could be used for evil purposes and have negative ramifications if misused, yet it can also be a force for good when employed effectively. It’s as straightforward as that.

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

News from the Region:

GU-Q Talk Explores International Law’s Role in Achieving Justice for Palestine

During a talk at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), Noura Erakat, a Palestinian-American scholar and human rights attorney, presented a critical analysis of international law’s potential and limitations as a tool for change, with a focus on the recent interim ruling by International Court of Justice that ordered Israel to take steps to prevent any acts of genocide in Gaza.

In a statement, GU-Q noted that Erekat is an associate professor of Africana studies at Rutgers University and is the author of “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine”. Her scholarly work and advocacy have made her a critical voice to Palestinians and the struggle for liberation, it said.

In her talk, Professor Erakat acknowledged disappointment that the ICJ decision did not impose a ceasefire, but said there has been too little emphasis on the impact that it did have. “The ICJ provided a tool to agitate for a ceasefire,” she said. The court also rejected every single one of Israel’s arguments, including that its campaign against Hamas in Gaza was a legitimate war of self-defense. This has prompted numerous countries to impose weapons sanctions against Israel, sever diplomatic ties, and initiate criminal cases under universal jurisdiction, she added. 

Education Above All Increases Its Humanitarian and Educational Support for Gaza

Qatar’s Education Above All (EAA) Foundation has intensified its efforts to provide humanitarian and educational support to Gaza during the month of Ramadan. The foundation recently said it was committed to delivering aid valued at 33 million Qatari ryals (about $9 million) to 233,000 beneficiaries, Doha News reported.

EAA’s intervention in Gaza includes comprehensive humanitarian assistance, such as mental health and psychosocial support, recreational activities, and health and hygiene kits for women and girls. It also provides scholarships for Palestinian youth and children to ensure continued education, and meals for displaced families and children to alleviate immediate food insecurity.

The foundation’s Ramadan Campaign features 16 diverse initiatives supporting over 25,000 beneficiaries in Gaza. These initiatives include providing Eid clothes and toys, Ramadan desserts, iftar family meals, prayer packages, and a Ramadan football championship, among others. Donations to support EAA’s initiatives in Gaza can be made through the EAA website.

25 Chinese Universities to Promote Education in China at U.A.E.’s GETEX

More than 25 Chinese universities will be represented at the Spring 2024 edition of the Global Education & Training Exhibition (GETEX), which will be held at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 24 to 26 April. GETEX is the leading student recruitment event in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the Emirati News Agency (WAM), this strong Chinese participation builds on the country’s unparalleled economic advancement and infrastructure development. Chinese universities are well-placed to offer best-in-class education in multiple subject areas such as engineering, medicine, research and all sciences, the news agency said.

Anselm Godinho, director of International Conferences & Exhibitions, the organisers of GETEX, said: “At GETEX, students in the U.A.E. will be able to browse diverse study programmes offered by Chinese universities, giving them opportunities to study and potentially work in one of the largest and most dynamic economies of the world.” 

Bulletin: Talk at GU-Q Explores International Law and Palestine; 25 Chinese Universities to Recruit at U.A.E. Event
Part of a previous edition of the GETEX educational exhibition in the Emirates (WAM).

Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI Unveils ‘Voice Engine’ Tool for Voice Reproduction

OpenAI, the San Francisco-based technology company that spurred a revolution in the world of artificial intelligence when it released ChatGPT in 2022, recently offered a sneak peek at its latest tool, Voice Engine. This cutting-edge technology is a voice cloning system capable of replicating any speaker’s voice with remarkable accuracy, achieved through the analysis of a mere 15-second audio snippet.

The company said it was still testing this technology and planned to gather input on “the responsible deployment of synthetic voices” before releasing it to the wider public. Aspects of the technology are already in use to power the preset voices available in OpenAI’s text-to-speech API, as well as ChatGPT Voice and Read Aloud.

Early applications of Voice Engine that have been tested with a small group of trusted partners include aiding in reading, translating podcasts and videos, and supporting individuals with speech impairments. Qatar News Agency (QNA) said that in one noteworthy experiment at Brown University, the technology had helped restore the voice of a patient with speech impairment problems using audio from a video recorded for a school project.

Events and Festivals

Record Attendance at King Faisal U.’s ‘Kafu Ramadan Nights’

The “Kafu Ramadan Nights” events, hosted by Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal University, concluded on Saturday evening, 30 March, after running from the fourth to the 20th day of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Muhanna Al-Dalami, acting president of King Faisal University, stated that the university’s objective with this Ramadan festival was to foster unity and collaboration among its staff while encouraging their involvement in charitable and volunteer initiatives. The events showcased employees’ innovative products and diverse skills across various fields, facilitating communication and interaction among visitors from all sectors of society.

Additionally, the festival aimed to revive traditional Ramadan customs, host competitions and interactive games, and offer over 300 programmes and workshops. More than 200,000 attendees enjoyed popular cuisines, heritage displays, exhibitions, and access to health screenings such as early breast cancer detection.

From Al-Fanar Media:

Project Aims to Help Women Attain Key Positions in Higher Education

Universities in Lebanon, Algeria and Tunis are joining institutions in Spain, France and Italy in an international project that aims to transform the governance of higher education by promoting a culture of gender equality and increasing the number of women in key positions. The three-year project, called WE4LEAD (Women’s Empowerment for Leadership and Equity in Higher Education Institutions), is co-funded by the European Union. Read more in this article.


Audiobooks in Arabic: YouTube Channels that Unlock Worlds for Readers and Learners

If you love books but have a busy schedule that limits your time for reading, audiobooks may be the answer. Our correspondent Gilgamesh Nabeel writes that audiobooks were a game changer for him, particularly when it comes to devouring novels. Audiobooks provide a convenient way to enjoy literature while multitasking or during moments when sitting down with a physical book isn’t feasible, he says. In this article, Nabeel presents a curated list of YouTube channels that offer a vast collection of audiobooks in Arabic.

Tips and Resources:

Extracurricular Activities Boost Students’ Skills, at University and Beyond

Arab university students are necessarily busy with their academic lives, but they should keep in mind that participating in extracurricular activities has benefits too. The experiences and skills you gain through extracurricular activities can be just as important as academic ability in showing a future employer or graduate admissions dean that you would be a valuable addition to their team. Explore more in this article.

In Conflict:

Arab Scientists Discuss How to Reduce Arab Brain Drain

In a recent Al-Fanar Media panel discussion, three Arab scientists discussed how to reduce the “Arab brain drain.” A common theme in the discussion was the lack of opportunity at home, and how this drives talented Arab scientists and academics to go abroad to study and build careers. Read more in this article, or watch a replay of the discussion (in Arabic) on Al-Fanar Media’s Facebook page.


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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