For the first time, the annual international conference on “Reinventing
Higher Education” gave prominence to the rapidly transforming Arab
world. Changes in the higher education landscape – driven by new
technologies, shifting global forces and funding cuts – were other
The event took place from 22-23 October at Madrid-based IE University, which is a private non-profit business owned by the Instituto de Empresa SL.
“The idea is to look at the university as a whole from all angles, and try to suggest reforms for the future, for the better,” said Santiago Iñiguez, president of IE University and chair of the conference.
He pointed out that the Arab world comprises more than 400 million people in 22 countries and is experiencing profound transformation. It was significant, he said, that this change “is being supported by both public and private institutions, including individual philanthropists”.
“Philanthropy has been increasing in the Arab world, as 40- to 50-year-olds who, for example, have been very successful bankers, saw that guys of 18 were willing to give their lives for change and then thought, ‘What can I do?’” said Salah Khalil, director of the Alexandria Trust, which contributes to restoring world-class standards in education across the Arab region. (DeansTalk, October 23, 2012)
“Everyone was really excited about the Arab Spring but the reality of the situation is that we need an ‘Educational Spring’,” said Khalil.
“This is because ‘perverse institutionalism’ persists in the Arab world, whereby an organisation, whether it is a mosque or a university department, is set up to do something – and it does the exact opposite. Our biggest challenge is to create structures that can change this.”...