Times Higher Education has confirmed that it will host its first-ever universities summit dedicated to the development of world-class education and research in the Middle East and North Africa.
The inaugural Times Higher Education MENA Universities Summit will be held in Doha, Qatar on 23 and 24 February 2015, hosted in partnership with Qatar University, the State of Qatar’s national university.
The event will feature a consultation on proposals for a new Times Higher Education MENA University Ranking, featuring a bespoke range of metrics for the region, as well as sessions on university leadership, international research collaboration, industry-university collaboration and teaching excellence.
The event forms part of a growing annual Times Higher Education world summit series, under the umbrella of the biannual THE World Academic Summit, which also includes the THE Young Universities Summit and the THE BRICS and Emerging Economies Summit.
Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, said: “Times Higher Education, with its record of over 40 years of incisive journalism and its growing range of authoritative performance metrics and university rankings, has become the leading source of intelligence and insight on higher education and research globally. So we are delighted to be able to bring together, in partnership with Qatar University, some of the world’s most exciting thinkers – across teaching, research, business and policymaking – for high-level debate, sharing best practice and networking under our prestigious summit series.”
“The Middle East has a dynamic and exciting higher education, research and innovation sector, with huge challenges but also huge opportunities,” Mr Baty said. “With some countries in the region becoming exciting global hubs for international students and making a serious investment in building research infrastructure, and with mounting evidence of serious pockets of research excellence emerging in key fields in the region, there is room for optimism that we are witnessing an exciting knowledge-fuelled revival for the region.”
“The first-ever THE MENA Universities Summit is a wonderful and timely opportunity to bring global thought leaders together, to share good practice and forge new partnerships, and to help ensure that the great vision is fully realised.”
QU president Professor Sheikha Al-Misnad said: “In partnering in this important forum, Qatar University is reinforcing its position as a leader in academic and research excellence in the Gulf and MENA region to advance the dialogue on the opportunities and challenges in the higher education sector. The region is home to several fast-developing economies, and universities contribute academic and research innovation and best practice in line with stated ambitions of national governments towards a knowledge-based economy. In this regard, the summit is an invaluable opportunity for us all to come together to discuss ways to further energise this movement and to reflect the region’s academic and research aspirations and priorities.”
The summit will also provide a unique opportunity to help THE magazine develop a new university ranking for the MENA region, with a consultative rankings workshop and plenary panel debate.
The THE World University Rankings are the most widely referenced and most highly regarded of the global university rankings systems, employing 13 separate performance indicators covering the full range of an institution’s key missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international activity.
“The rankings were carefully calibrated after almost a year of open consultation to capture the performance of world-class global research universities,” Mr Baty said. “But as different regions have different priorities for their universities and higher education systems, we are open to the idea of modifying our trusted global methodology to better reflect local policy priorities and local university missions. This MENA summit will be the perfect opportunity to help us shape a new rankings for the region.”