WENR, July/August 2002: Middle East


Proposed Bill Seeks to Build Bridges With Muslim World

Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., introduced the bipartisan Cultural Bridges Act of 2002 [1] this spring. The proposed legislation, which is now before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is designed to significantly increase U.S. exchange programs with predominantly Muslim nations.

If approved, the legislation would authorize $95 million annually through 2007 for educational and cultural exchange programs with Islamic countries.

Students from the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, excluding Muslim-dominated former Soviet republics, would be eligible to participate. The program would be open to those from the West Bank and Gaza as well. The bill does not specifically exclude students from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya and the Sudan, but their countries’ inclusion on the State Department’s terrorist list may automatically disqualify them.

Fulbright Association [1]
May 20, 2002


University Hopes to Lure Researchers Back Home

Are scientists willing to brave suicide bombers to work in state-of-the-art laboratories?

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology [2] is going to find out, as it tries to lure Israeli-born scientists back to the country. University President Yitzhak Apeloig believes scientists won’t be put off by Israel’s security situation if they have the facilities to do quality research.

With that in mind, Technion has established a US$20 million Leaders in Science program to pay for the labs, equipment and other expenses that will persuade top candidates in the United States and Europe to return to Israel.

The university cannot compete with private U.S. institutions in terms of salary alone, Apeloig noted. As a public university operating under a collective-bargaining agreement, Technion cannot sign private salary agreements with faculty members.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [3]
July 29, 2002


First Private Kuwaiti University to Open in Fall

A new private university – Kuwait’s first – is now accepting students in preparation for its fall opening. Gulf University for Science and Technology, an undergraduate institution, will grant bachelor’s degrees in science-related fields and business administration.

Following a wider trend in the Middle East, the government decided two years ago to allow private universities to operate in Kuwait. The country of 2 million people currently has only one university, Kuwait University [4], which is not open to international students.

About 1,500 students are expected to enroll this fall, and officials plan to develop master’s- and doctoral-degree programs. The language of instruction will be English, and tuition will be US$13,000 per year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [3]
July 19, 2002


University’s Name Change Lauded

On June 28, 2001, Middle East College was officially renamed Middle East University [5]. The name change was hailed as a significant development in recognizing the institution as a major center of higher education in both Lebanon and the Middle East.

Middle East University is a nonprofit Christian institution owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in a wide range of fields.

Middle East University [5]
July 2, 2002

Tripoli School Gets Government Nod

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has officially recognized El-Jinan University, which is located in Tripoli.

The new institution has four faculties: arts and humanities, business administration, health sciences and media and communications.

— Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education
Aug. 6, 2002

The United Arab Emirates

Crowding Delays Admissions

Registration and admission to Ajman University of Science and Technology’s Abu Dhabi [6] and Al Ain campuses have been delayed for the 2002-03 academic year because the school has reached full student capacity, officials say.

Students who have already registered, however, will follow the existing academic calendar. New plans to help accommodate more students are being drawn up and will be implemented in the coming year, and 86 new lecturers are expected to join the faculty.

University officials decided to put off admission in order to maintain current academic standards.

A new campus is currently under construction in Jarf, which upon completion, will be able to accommodate 6,000 additional students. Classes in Jarf are expected to begin in 2003-04.

The Star [7]
Aug. 4, 2002

E-Company to Make Education More Accessible

eCollege, an e-learning technology and services provider to educational markets, recently announced a joint venture with Dubai Internet City [8] (DIC) to form Knowledge Access, a company that will make education more accessible to the Persian Gulf region and surrounding areas.

Knowledge Access will provide the technology and support services for academic institutions and corporate training organizations to build full online programs.

Led by the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DIC is a $2 billion, three-year initiative to establish a state-of-the-art infrastructure for businesses operating locally, regionally and globally from Dubai. E-learning is a major priority of DIC, and as such, DIC conducted an extensive evaluation of more than 70 companies and consortiums before selecting eCollege as its partner to develop Knowledge Access and its online learning initiative.

DIC is a strategic base for companies targeting emerging markets in a vast region extending from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent, and from Africa to the former republics of the now defunct Soviet Union.

June 18, 2002