Nominations for the 3rd Cycle of the Zairi Awards for Excellence in Higher Education Revealed!

Dubai, 29th January, 2024


Today, the Center for Learning Innovation and Customized Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) unveiled the top shortlisted nominees in each of the six categories of the 3rd Cycle of the Zairi International Awards for Excellence in Higher Education.

Established in 2021 in honor of the late Professor Mohamed Zairi, a pioneer in quality management, these awards, endorsed by various regional and international organizations and university associations, aim to recognize and celebrate Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) proactively addressing global educational challenges, making significant impacts through excellence and innovation.

The top shortlisted institutions in each category were meticulously chosen from over 83 applications received from 29 countries. These institutions have demonstrated their substantial contributions to their communities, countries, and regions, providing evidence of achieving clear, sustainable benefits in the long run.

Chaired by Prof. Maurits Van Rooijen, Group Rector & Chief Academic Officer, Global University Systems UK, and Rector & President University of Europe, Germany, the International Assessment Committee of the Award sought institutions leading impactful agenda in areas related to research impact, digital transformation, community work, internationalization, inclusion and equity, and disruptive education based on a set of predetermined criteria and scoring rubric. All assessments were anchored in verifiable evidence showcasing the tangible impact of these endeavors.

Other esteemed committee members included Dr. Fanta Aw, Executive Director and CEO, Association of International Educators (NAFSA), USA; Dr. Robin Mann, CEO, Best Practice Competition, New Zealand; Dr. Larry Johnson, President and CEO, EdFutures, USA; Dr. Susanna Karakhanyan, Director, Higher Education Regulation & Licensing. Division, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), United Arab Emirates, and Former INQAHE President and Dr. Waldemar Siwinski, President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, Poland.

Referring to the assessment process, Professor Van Rooijen, the Assessment Committee chair, expressed, “These Awards reflect the groundbreaking work done by the late professor Mohamed Zairi. The multitude and calibre of submissions received for these awards from across the globe, spanning all continents, vividly illustrate the sector's persistent pursuit of excellence—mirroring the very ethos and spirit of the man after whom the awards are named. The enormous amount of work that was put into preparing these submissions is both impressive and heartening. At the same time the number and quality of the submissions made the job of assessment extremely challenging- Identifying the 'relatively best' proved to be difficult and not always straight forward”

CLICKS expresses gratitude for the valuable contributions and time invested by the assessment committee in thoroughly reviewing all applications.

The nominees for each category are as follows (please note that the listing is not based on scores obtained):

Award of Excellence for Digital Transformation

• Botswana Open University, Republic of Botswana

• American University of the Middle East, The State of Kuwait

• Universidad del Norte Peru, The Republic of Peru

Award of Excellence for Research Impact

• The Aga Khan University, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

• King Faisal University Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

• Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, The Arab Republic of Egypt

Award of Excellence for Disruptive Education

• No qualified applications

Award of Excellence for Outstanding Non-Profit Contribution to the Community

• King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

• Riphah International University, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

• Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, The Kingdom of Morocco

Award of Excellence for Internationalization

• Modern University for Business and Sciences, Republic of Lebanon

• UNIVERSITI Islam Sultan Sharif Ali, Negara Brunei Darussalam

• National University of Science and Technology, The Sultanate of Oman

Awards of Excellence for Equity and Inclusion

• EUROMED University of FES, The Kingdom of Morocco

• Sense Kaleidoscopes, Republic of India

Congratulations to all nominees!

The next stage involves an independent evaluation by a jury led by Dr. Peter J. Wells, Chief of Higher Education at UNESCO, to determine the final winner for each category. The winners for each category will then be announced during the 6th edition of the MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum ( organized in Dubai under the theme "Towards a New Generation of Engaged Universities: The Need to Act, Adapt, and Transform" scheduled to take place from the 16th to the18th of April 2024 at the Kempinski Avenue.

The fourth cycle of the award will open for applications on the 30th of May, 2024.