MENA Universities Summit 2018 to Take Place in Saudi Arabia

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jeddahBy Ellie Bothwell for Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education’s third annual summit focusing on the MENA region will take place in Saudi Arabia in March.

The THE Middle East and North Africa Universities Summit 2018 will be hosted in partnership with King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah from 19 to 21 March.

The event, which is on the theme “Fulfilling our potential: developing the knowledge economy for the MENA region”, will explore how universities can play a leading role in securing a sustainable future for their host nations and the region.

It will host the launch of THE’s annual list of the best universities in the Arab world.

The University of Ulsan and Hyundai Heavy Industries will also present a case study of how universities and industry can successfully collaborate.

The summit has already attracted speakers and delegates from 27 countries across the world but places are still available.

Michael Arthur, president and provost at UCL, will deliver a keynote speech on how international partnerships have fuelled UCL as a world-leading research university, while Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, will explore fostering research for the 21st century in his address.

Stacey Lopez, associate vice-president for institutional research and analysis at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss how the institution uses data to stay competitive.

Meanwhile, Christopher Cripps, director of international and European affairs at Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris, Juliette Hussey, vice-president for global relations at Trinity College Dublin, and Alicia Wise, senior vice-president of global strategic networks at Elsevier, will debate how to forge successful international collaborations.

Another panel featuring Michele Gazzola, research fellow and author at Humboldt University of Berlin, Chris Rawlings, regional director of Middle East and North Africa at the British Council, and Marie-Betsy Sayegh Akl, director of Edinburgh Business School Arab World, will look at the significance of the English medium of instruction as a tool for higher education expansion and excellence.

The event will also explore how universities can deliver a successful research strategy in a discussion between Umran Inan, president of Koç University, Sang Hyuk Son, president of DGIST, and Bin Yang, vice-president and provost at Tsinghua University, while Jaroslav Miller, rector at Palacký University, Franco Vigliotti, dean at EPFL Middle East, and Charles F. Zukoski, provost and executive vice-president for academic affairs at the University of Buffalo – The State University of New York, will debate how university strategies for recruitment and talent management can reverse the academic brain drain from the region.

The summit will also include a discussion of how employers, universities and government can work together to close the skills gap in a panel featuring Cynthia Wilbanks, vice-president for government relations at the University of Michigan, and Mark Jones, chief operating officer of the Higher Education Academy.

Phil Baty, THE editorial director of global rankings, said the summit will “enable leaders to focus and share their strategies on how higher education can contribute to the rapid development of the region”.

“Given the Saudi 2030 vision and the significant impact that is having already on Saudi Arabia and beyond, I’m delighted that we will be in Jeddah in March so we can hear directly about emerging opportunities for universities and understand the ambitions for transformation.”

Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, president of King Abdulaziz University, said the event will bring together leading politicians, university leaders, world-renowned researchers and important figures from industry and public life, who will “share their methods of building a research strategy”, discuss how to attract industry partners and explore how universities can “play a leading role in securing a sustainable and prosperous future for their host nations and the region”.

“Following the release of the Vision 2030 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by our Crown Prince His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which urges public universities to become independent universities, King Abdulaziz University, one of the biggest universities in the kingdom, is looking to move on from a research university to [become an] entrepreneurial university,” he said.

“I do believe that the MENA Universities Summit will be the perfect opportunity to share experiences, explore the latest innovations and celebrate new achievements in the key issues relating to higher education in the MENA region.”

Three Saudi Universities Receive Top Positions in QS Rankings

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KFUPMBy Mohammed Rasooldeen for Arab News

Three universities in the Kingdom have received top positions in the QS University Rankings for the Arab Region.

The three universities which received five-star plus rankings include King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh and King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah.

Dr. Thurayya Arrayed, one of the first 30 women on the Shoura Council, said: “I am very proud of every scientific indication that our established universities are doing well and congratulate them. I am sure other universities such as KAUST are shining too.”

She said that every step Saudi Arabia takes toward excellence in its educational endeavors will be positive, and it is the need of the hour in this age of technology and research. “It is expected that our higher educational institutions should show signs of growing success in aligning their plans, performance, and projects with the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and Vision 2030,” she concluded, saying that she expects better results in the near future.

Shoura Council member Dr. Fayez Al-Shehri told Arab News that the remarkable performance of the three universities bears eloquent testimony to the contributions made by the government toward higher education.

He pointed out that there are 35 universities which include 25 government institutions that receive the best support from the government to produce erudite citizens.

Describing it as excellent news, Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo Gutiérrez, who holds a degree in law said: “Education is the cornerstone of the economic development and social program.”

Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi, a lawyer turned diplomat said that the achievement demonstrates a clear signal toward the road of a knowledge-based society. “The Kingdom, has been giving top priority to education for both males and females, and now it is bearing fruits,” the envoy added.

A Saudi journalist based in Dubai, Musad Al-Zayani, who follows the region for his newspaper, said this is a sign of the forward march of Saudi Arabia. “It’s a matter for rejoicing when three universities from the same country receive five-star plus ratings,” Al-Zayani, who was a product of the King Abdul Aziz University said, adding that it is because of the integrated Vision of the Kingdom, which is planned by the leadership to forge ahead in the years to come.

Congratulating the management of the three universities, Saudi writer Abdulhadi Habtor said it’s a remarkable achievement, and it clearly portrays the hard work rendered by these academic institutions.

Habtor, who was also a student at the King Abdul Aziz University said it reflects the developmental strides in Saudi Arabia toward Vision 2030. “Let us not be complacent with this situation; we should focus on other universities in the country too,” he concluded.

Saudi Denies plan to Send 2,000 Students to Egypt

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2497131148 6f67f31bd6 o e1423631882671 640x375Middle East Monitor

The Saudi embassy in Cairo yesterday denied reports issued by the Egyptian media that the kingdom had agreed to send 2,000 Saudi sponsored students to study at Egyptian universities, the Anadolu Agency reported.

In a statement, the Saudi embassy denied that a phone call took place between Egyptian official in the Ministry of Higher Education, Hussam Al-Mallahi, and the embassy in which the former announced the agreement to send 2,000 Saudi sponsored students to Egypt.

In the statement, the embassy noted that Al-Mallahi claimed that Saudi did not halt the scholarship programme for 12 years.

A report about this claimed phone call was initially published by the government-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. The report claimed that an agreement reached with the Saudi Ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Al-Qattan, noting that 700 students have already arrived in Egypt.

In October last year, a lawyer in the Saudi embassy in Cairo said that Saudi Arabia halted the scholarship programme in Egypt.

“With the increasing numbers of forged master’s and PhD degrees from Egypt, the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education decided to stop postgraduate admissions to Egypt for an indefinite period of time,” the lawyer at the Saudi embassy in Egypt said.


Saudi Students Enrollments in Intensive English Language Programs Fall

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SaudiFlagThe number of Saudi students enrolled in intensive English programs in the U.S. fell by 45.2 percent in 2016 compared to the year before, according to new data from the Institute of International Education released Tuesday during the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference.

Saudi Arabia has suspended its large government scholarship program.  Saudi students students in the U.S. typically start in intensive English programs before moving into degree programs.

Education Spending Takes Top Spot in Saudi budget

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By Arabia Higher Ed Staff

Saudi Arabia issued today a royal decree outlining Saudi Arabia's 2017 budget. 

The 2017 budget is estimated to reach SAR 890 billion ($237.3), an 8 percent increase from 2016, and is projected to reflect a record 33 percent decrease in the Kingdom's national deficit.

Education expenditure took the top spot in the 2017 budget with a SAR 200 billion ($53.3 billion) that cover public education and higher education and training.


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