WENR, April 2007: Middle East

Middle East


Parliament Approves Opening of Groundbreaking Academy Promoting Arabic Language

Legislation was passed in March that will allow for the establishment of the first Arabic-language academy in Israel. After months of debate, the Knesset passed a law which is being billed as the first outside the Arab world to seek to promote the Arabic language and coin new terms. The independent Arabic Language and Culture Institute is to be set up by Israel’s Education Ministry, and will work in parallel with the government-sponsored Academy of the Hebrew Language. The institute will promote research into ancient linguistic ties between Hebrew and Arabic, while also researching the modern language and its adaptation to the technological era. In addition, researchers will study Arabic terminology, grammar, diction, and written Arabic. Israeli studies have shown in recent years that a minority of Israeli Jews study Arabic at an advanced level, partly because it is an elective and not required in high school. The academy, which is to open in early 2008, will be staffed in part by faculty members from Israel and elsewhere. It will work with Arabic departments at universities both in and outside of Israel.

Reuters [1]
March 21, 2007

Students Strike over Tuition, University Presidents Threaten to Cancel Semester

Students went on strike in April in protest of a government decision to raise tuition fees, and to demand an increase in higher education funding. A fortnight later, university heads released a statement saying that the continuation of the student strike puts the “existence of the [current] semester in danger.” In the statement, the university heads’ committee wrote that they decided to lengthen the semester in order to compensate for lost time during the strike.

The strike involves some 250,000 students in all universities, academic colleges (both private and public), teaching colleges and other institutions of higher education. Students are being backed by faculty unions, who vow to assist students to complete any material they will lose as a result of their protest. University heads are opposed to the student strike and support the recommendations of the Shochat Committee calling for increased tuition fees.

Haaretz [2]
April 10, April 25


Northwestern to Open Journalism Program at Education City

Northwestern University [3] is finalizing a deal to open a journalism and communications school in Qatar, the Associated Press reported. Northwestern would join a number of other American universities — Carnegie Mellon [4], Cornell [5], Georgetown [6], Texas A&M [7], and Virginia Commonwealth [8] Universities — that offer full degree programs at Education City [9] in the Qatari capital, Doha. Several other American institutions, including Boston University, [10] were seeking the contract for the communications program.

Associated Press [11]
April 6, 2007

Saudi Arabia

Former Toldeo U. Provost to Help Build U.S.-Style Research University

Alan G. Goodridge has been appointed provost and acting president of Alfaisal University [12], the first private, nonprofit, coeducational university in Saudi Arabia. The mission for the former provost at the University of Toledo [13] is to help create an American-style research university that is compatible with Saudi culture. Mr. Goodridge is so far the only senior administrator to be appointed. He will be responsible for hiring Western faculty members to create a curriculum focused on developing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Instruction at the Riyadh-based institution will be in English, but Saudi customs will be respected. Men and women will be strictly segregated; classrooms will have separate levels for male and female students, separated by a glass partition. And the campus will have separate entrances for men and women. The entrances will lead to corridors, upper and lower, through which students can walk without viewing members of the opposite sex. Undergraduate programs will include engineering, business, and medicine. Graduate programs will include biotechnology and communications. The university will also run research projects with other Saudi institutions and will join in some efforts with American universities.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [14]
March 30, 2007

Private Saudi University Enlists Help of American University, Beirut

Officials at Prince Fahd ibn Sultan University (PFSU) have signed a contract with the American University of Beirut [15] (AUB) enlisting its help in preparing for the opening of various PFSU faculties. Under the terms of the agreement, AUB will help PFSU to set out its academic strategy, in the selection of teaching staff and the structuring of educational facilities that comply with international standards. PFSU, which is open for enrollment to both Saudi and expatriate students, is the first private university in Saudi Arabia.

Arab News [16]
April 4, 2007

United Arab Emirates

Tufts-Supported Campus Slated to Open in 2008

The Ras Al Khaimah Education Company [17] (EDRAK) and the Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy [18] at Boston’s Tufts University [19] have reportedly appointed a board of directors to oversee their collaboration on education and health initiatives in Ras Al Khaimah. The collaboration will lead to the establishment of an Enhanced Health and Wellness Center in the emirate, which will run certificate training courses in nutrition science and policy. Development of a partial distance-learning Master of Arts degree in Nutrition will commence later this year with a goal admission date of 2008. The initiative is part of EDRAK’s goal of positioning Ras Al Khaimah as a new educational hub in the region.

Zawya.com [20]
April 7, 2007