Dubai, 24th March, 2022
Under the theme “Re-inventing Higher Education Post COVID-19: Towards a Responsive Higher Education Eco-system” started yesterday the 5th edition of the MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum organized in a hybrid format from the 23rd and 24th of March, at the Address Boulevard and online.
Higher education leaders, decision makers and key representatives from government and industry from more than 50 countries have gathered yesterday both in-person and virtually for the first day of the forum to discuss the future of Higher Education in light of the fast changing, technological driven unpredictable future we are living; to reflect on the key lessons learned from the pandemic and explore how the sector can capitalize on the opportunities that were created. Topics such as digital transformation, collaboration and internationalization, industry and academia partnerships, research impact, and beyond are all on the agenda of the program.
The Forum opening ceremony attended by HE Ohood Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of State for Government Development and Future has also witnessed the announcements of the winners for the first cycle of the Zairi Intentional Awards for Excellence in Higher Education. Winners to the Award were as follows:
- Award of Excellence for Digital Transformation: EUROMED University of Fez Morocco, Morocco
- Award of Excellence for Research Impact: The University of South Africa (UNISA), South Africa
- Award of Excellence for Disruptive Education: The Aga Khan University, Pakistan
- Award of Excellence for Outstanding Non- Profit Contribution to the Community: The Academy of Health Sciences, Syria
The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the UAE has also received a special recognition for “Outstanding Contribution to Digital Leadership“ for its exemplary leadership in integrating digital innovation in an impactful and sustainable manner.
Commenting on the Award, Dr Narimane Hadj-Hamou, Founder and CEO of CLICKS and Chair of the 5th MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum said “The Zairi International Awards for Excellence in Higher Education are an annual international recognition honoring higher education institutions that are addressing global educational challenges and are creating impact in their own context through embracing excellence and innovation in specific areas pertinent to digital transformation, research impact, service to the community, internationalization, equity, etc. and in a sustainable manner. The awards named after the late Professor Mohamed Zairi; one of the pioneers in the field of quality and excellence who has passed away last October. We congratulate all the winners for this cycle and look forward to receiving applications for the 2023 cycle”.
Organized by the Center for Learning Innovations and Customized (CLICKS); the MENA-HELF established in 2013 as a biennial event has grown over the years to be recognized as one of the leading global gatherings of higher education leaders and decision makers happening the region.
A rich program that involves pre-forum workshops and webinars, plenary sessions, three round tables, panel discussions and debates and case studies’ presentations was put together. Among this year’s keynote speakers are: Dr. Roberta Malee Bassett, Global Lead for Tertiary Education at the World Bank; Dr. Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU); Dr. Fengchun Miao, Chief, the Unit for Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Education at UNESCO Headquarters; Mr. Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education in the UK and Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, President and CEO of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) among others.
Within the context of the forum, Dr. Hadj-Hamou said: “The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped higher education, accelerating long-waited changes not only in relation to the delivery of learning but across all facets of the educational eco-system. Institutions are looking at new alternative learning pathways such as micro-credentials; larger scale digital transformation projects, new forms of engaging students across their learning experience, strengthening ties across industries to support impactful research, innovative internationalization strategies among other things. The key question we hope to address is where do we go from here? During these two days and in a very engaging and dynamic platform, we aspire to discuss, debate, share ideas and come up with actions and strategies to support the sector in becoming more agile and responsive to today’s dynamic world.”
Sponsors to the 2022 MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum included: MEDAD as a Gold Sponsor; Coursera and Minerva as Silver Sponsors and Cengage as a Bronze Sponsor in addition to the Association of Arab Universities and AdvanceHE as partners to the forum.
Additional details about the Forum along a full list of keynote speakers and panelists can be found on the Forum’s official website at www.menahelf.com