Bulletin: Israeli Forces Arrest Birzeit U. Student for Third Time; Saudi Research Focuses on Security of Health Data

Ramadan Dramas: Impact of Social Media on Arab Societies

As Ramadan draws to a close, so do many of the Ramadan drama series that appear on Arab television during the holy month. 

These dramas can be instrumental in highlighting issues within Arab societies and potentially offering solutions. Topics covered range from honour killings and inheritance to the significant impact of social media. The latter topic drew my attention the most. 

The negative effects of social media sites on Arab youth, children, and families have garnered widespread concern, extending to societal destruction, threats to political systems, and state cohesion.

Therefore, Ramadan dramas effectively highlighted these adverse effects, stressing the importance of using social media wisely. 

It is essential to engage in continuous dialogue with young people, offering guidance for safe and responsible use of social media. This underscores the responsibility of Arab universities to conduct extensive research on social media’s impact on our societies.

Mohammad El-Hawary

Al-Fanar Media editor-in-chief 

News from the Region:

Israeli Forces Arrest Birzeit U. Graduate Student for Third Time

Palestine’s Birzeit University reported on Sunday that Israeli forces had arrested Layan Kayed, a community development postgraduate student, from her residence in Ramallah.

According to the university’s statement, this marks Kayed’s third arrest. She was previously detained in 2020 and served a 16-month sentence. During that period, she was unable to attend her graduation ceremony, so her mother received her bachelor’s degree on her behalf. The second arrest occurred last June.

The university added that Kayed’s recent arrest brings the total number of female Birzeit University students held in occupation prisons to four.

National Students for Justice in Palestine described Layan as a political prisoner and said her arrest in 2020 was because of her student organising as an undergraduate student at Birzeit.

Bulletin: Israeli Forces Arrest Birzeit U. Student for Third Time; Saudi Research Focuses on Security of Health Data
A student demonstration at Birzeit University denouncing the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip (University).

American U. of Sharjah and U. of Michigan-Flint Launch Dual Master’s Degree

The American University of Sharjah and the College of Innovation and Technology at the University of Michigan at Flint have formed a partnership with to offer a dual master’s degree in a range of computer science-related disciplines.

According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the programme aims to expand students’ international educational prospects. Participants can study fields including artificial intelligence, computer science and information systems, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital transformation, electrical and computer engineering, human-centred design, smart manufacturing, and software engineering.

Under the agreement, up to 50 students at the American University of Sharjah who complete the first year of their master’s degree there will be eligible to apply to join a programme at UM-Flint. Upon completing their programme, the students will be conferred with two master’s degrees, one from each institiution.

King Abdulaziz U. Project Focuses on Security of Health Information

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University has unveiled a new research initiative that aims to develop a model for ensuring the security of information derived from devices linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) within hospital settings. The project will seek to gain insights into patterns and trends to enhance decision-making across organisations.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the project underscores the critical need to safeguard health information while ensuring its seamless transfer among devices. This area holds immense significance for all sectors, but especially among health institutions that handle patient data sourced through the Internet of Things. Security is crucial to protect information confidentiality and patient privacy against cyber threats.

Applications Open for Unesco ICM Martial Arts Education Prize

The International Centre of Martial Arts for Youth Development and Engagement (ICM), under the auspices of Unesco, has announced the opening of the call for applications for the 2024 Unesco ICM Martial Arts Education Prize.

Per a statement from Egypt’s Ministry of Higher Education, the prize is open to individuals, groups, or organisations globally, without regard to age, gender, or religion, provided they contribute to youth and women’s development and social engagement through martial arts training activities. The objective is to identify and support exemplary approaches in martial arts education worldwide. For more information and to participate, please click here.

Qatar U. to Host Conference on International Trade Legislation

Qatar University’s College of Law will host a scholarly conference titled “International Trade Legislation: Recent Trends and Future Visions” on 24 November.

According to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), Talal Abdullah Al-Emadi, the college’s dean, said the conference will discuss peer-reviewed research on topics at the intersection of law and economics, with an international perspective that aligns with the university’s research priorities. Al-Emadi hopes the conference will yield tangible outcomes and actionable recommendations  through discussions and exchanges among legal and economic experts at national, regional, and global levels.

The conference is expected to contribute to supporting the legislative process in the State of Qatar and the region, and to encourage researchers to address contemporary legal problems.

Bulletin: Israeli Forces Arrest Birzeit U. Student for Third Time; Saudi Research Focuses on Security of Health Data
Qatar University courtyard (Qena).

From Al-Fanar Media:  

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.


Arab Media Professionals Discuss Fact Checking in New Podcast Episode

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.


Inclusive Education Is Key to Promoting Peace and Confronting Hate Speech

In a region marked by cultural and religious diversity, hate speech is an impediment to education that Arab universities need to confront, writes Naouel Abdellatif Mami, vice-rector for external relations at Algeria’s Mohamed Lamine Debaghine Setif 2 University. Students need an education that not only imparts knowledge but also cultivates tolerance and understanding, she argues. Read more of her thoughts here

In Conflict: 

University Students in Northwestern Syria Struggle with Costs, Degree Recognition

Amid Syria’s long-running civil war, university students in the country’s opposition-held northwestern region struggle to stay enrolled at higher-education institutions that themselves face huge challenges. Among the most prominent challenges are the lack of international recognition of the universities’ degrees and students’ inability to pay tuition fees in U.S. dollars rather than in the Syrian pound. Despite these difficulties, universities in the region are actively seeking solutions. 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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