Newsletter

Bulletin: Palestinian Officials Discuss Plight of Gaza Students in Egypt; Palestinian Students Win International Debate Title

Has Technology Made You Happier?

Our mental well-being is now more fragile than in previous years, studies suggest, with young people today potentially more susceptible to anxiety and depressive disorders.

While there are many possible reasons for this new vulnerability, including medical and genetic factors, mental health experts often point to the faster pace and more isolated nature of life today, due to the increase in social media use and the decrease in family and community activities.

For my generation and earlier ones, life was simpler in many ways, yet still fulfilling. Certainly, we devoted ourselves to studying, learning, and engaging in sports. We had access to reading materials, played simpler, nonelectronic games, enjoyed green spaces, attended social clubs, and walked along safe streets, and pursued various hobbies.

We had a handful of television channels with set broadcast times and well-established schedules, so we knew when we could watch our favourite programmes, new movies, important sports matches, and exciting series. Even the dramas had clear goals and purposes.

We cherished family moments, dining together, conversing, and visiting relatives, neighbours, and friends. We shared moments of both sadness and joy, yet we were united by smiles and the virtue of contentment.

For today’s generation, our lives might seem dull, lacking in technology, Netflix, social media, violent dramas, action movies, the latest mobile phones, electronic games, massive malls, fast food, energy drinks, fake achievements on Facebook, a shortage of role models, and the desire to fit 72 hours instead of just 24 into a day.

If these factors don’t contribute to feelings of depression, what else could bring you happiness?

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

News from the Region:

Palestinian Officials Discuss Conditions of Gaza Students in Egypt

Amjad Barham, Palestine’s minister of higher education, recently met with several university presidents and representatives from the Gaza Strip to discuss the future of students from Gaza who have fled to Egypt since the Israeli aggression in the Strip began on 7 October 2023.

In a statement, the ministry said the meeting, held at the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, addressed the current situation of university students and professors in the Gaza Strip and explored opportunities to continue the educational process amidst the destruction in Gaza.

Barham said the ministry was striving to put into effect a plan for Gaza Strip students to resume their education online as visiting students at Palestinian higher education institutions in the West Bank, while also working to monitor the conditions of Gaza Strip students who are in Egypt.

Palestine’s An-Najah National U. Wins International Debate Championship

A team from Palestine’s An-Najah National University has won first place in the open category of the Seventh International University Debating Championship in the Arabic Language, held in Qatar.

According to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), the Palestinian team won the title for the first time. Other top finishers in the tournament were teams from the Lebanese University of Sciences and Arts (USAL) in second place, and Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) in third place.

The An-Najah National University team met the Lebanese team in the debate’s final round after a notable clash with the team from GU-Q in the semifinals. The team from the University of Sciences and Arts in Lebanon defeated their counterparts from the National University of Malaysia to reach the final. The debates focused on the theme “Methods of Communication and Contact with Isolated Indigenous Peoples”.

Bulletin: Palestinian Officials Discuss Plight of Gaza Students in Egypt; Palestinian Students Win International Debate Title
A student speaks during the Seventh International University Debating Championship in the Arabic Language,
held at QatarDebate Center (Photo via QatarDebate).

Palestine Announces Renewed Scholarships in Bangladesh for Palestinian Students

The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education has announced the reintroduction of several scholarships at private universities in Bangladesh for the academic year 2024/2025.

The scholarships are open to both male and female students pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The ministry urged eligible students to complete the online application and submit the necessary documents by Wednesday, 5 June. Applications must be accompanied by certified documents and can be submitted at the offices of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Ramallah, or at the higher education offices in Hebron and Nablus. For Gaza students, applicants should email the required documents to the scholarship email address.

Additional information about available specialisations and application procedures can be found here.

American U. of Sharjah, Seoul National U. Sign Collaboration Agreement

Officials of the American University of Sharjah and Seoul National University, in the Republic of Korea, have signed an agreement to enhance academic collaboration between the universities. In a statement, the American University of Sharjah said the agreement will facilitate faculty and student exchanges, joint research projects, sharing educational resources, and more.

Tod Laursen, chancellor of the American University of Sharjah, said: “This partnership will expand interdisciplinary opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in meaningful research, exchange ideas and broaden their perspectives. By working together, both our institutions can achieve more than we ever could alone.”

Egypt U. of Informatics Offers 20 Scholarships for Egyptian Students

Egypt University of Informatics (EUI) has announced that it will offer 20 full scholarships to top-performing Egyptian high school seniors based on their Thanaweya Amma scores or foreign equivalents. The scholarships are for undergraduate study beginning in the 2024/2025 academic year in the university’s four colleges: the Faculty of Computing and Information Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Business Informatics, and the Faculty of Digital Arts and Design.

In a statement, the university said scholarships aim to attract top talent and align with an initiative spearheaded by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The university offers 16 academic programmes focused on future sciences, aiming to localise the technology industry and its innovations in Egypt. This scholarship programme for exceptional students is a cornerstone of the university’s strategy to foster academic excellence and uphold its fundamental mission of advancing future sciences development in Egypt.

From Al-Fanar Media:

U. of Cyprus Postgraduate Studies and Fellowships Changed Their Lives, Students Say

Two young people who came to the University of Cyprus (UCY) for postgraduate studies and research tell Al-Fanar Media how the experience changed their lives. Milad Shahvali, a postdoctoral research fellow from Iran, is a control engineer working with a University of Cyprus group on a high-profile Water Futures Project funded by the European Research Council. Gina Korek, from Lebanon, earned her M.B.A. degree at the University of Cyprus and is now a senior supply chain analyst at Loblaw, Canada’s largest supermarket retailer. Read more in this article.

Tips and Resources:

Al-Fanar Media Podcast:

Tips for Effective Studying in a New Al-Fanar Media Podcast Episode 

A new episode of Al-Fanar Media Podcast offers school and university students advice on effective study techniques to help them reach their academic goals. You can listen to this episode (in Arabic) on Spotify, SoundCloud, or YouTube under the title: “Tips for Effective Study: How Do You Increase Your Productivity and Achieve Your Academic Goals?” The episode is presented by Mohammad El Hawary, Al-Fanar Media’s editor-in-chief. He walks us through valuable insights shared by our colleague Ahmed Wafik in his article “Get the Most Out of Studying at Home: Tips for University Students“, published on our website.

Opinion:

Empowering Voices: Reflections on Research Ethos from Jordan and the U.S.

Empowerment should be straightforward: subjectively felt, self-defined and determined, and acted upon. But empowerment is complex, and researchers often find themselves at the core of an ineffective, voiceless dialogue that likely reflects broader pressures between the “global north” and the “global south”, write Rana Dajani and Delaney Glass in an essay for Al-Fanar Media. However, the two scholars also know what it feels like to reach resolution in research conflicts about empowerment. Using examples from their own experiences as a biologist and an anthropologist, respectively, Dajani and Glass suggest three core ideas about empowerment that they hope other researchers will prioritise. Read more 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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