Details of the programme for the inaugural Times Higher Education MENA Universities Summit have been announced.
The summit, dedicated to addressing the development of world-class education and research in the Middle East and North Africa, 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 be held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani, Deputy Emir.
His Highness will be represented at the opening ceremony by H.E. Sheikh Dr Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, President of Hamad bin Khalifa University.
Keynote speeches on university leadership, strategy and international cooperation will be given by Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London; Jean-Lou Chameau, president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia; Jamil Salmi, a higher education consultant and author of The Challenge of Establishing World Class Universities; and Qatar University president Sheikha Al-Misnad.
Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, will lead a consultative session on proposals for a new Times Higher Education MENA University Ranking, featuring a bespoke range of metrics for the region.
James Wilsdon, professor of science and democracy at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, will discuss his work chairing the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s review of the role of metrics in research assessment, while Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute and former director of policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, who has worked extensively in the Middle East, will run a session on the strengths and weaknesses of the region’s higher education.
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.
Qatar University president Professor Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad said: “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.”
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.”