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Blog Category:

The Middle East and North Africa

  • Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES): Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week

    By: Julia Hendrickson and Amy Parente on Friday, November 20, 2015

    Zina Ammar grew up in Gafsa, Tunisia, where she learned how to make the region’s famous Margoum carpets from the women in her family. Zina eventually started her own carpet-making business, but her lack of confidence and business skills limited her success. Hoping to grow her business, Zina enrolled in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Financial Education trainings at the Women's Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) Center for Women’s Business Development in her community.

  • Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES): Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Tunisia

    By: Julia Hendrickson on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Chadleya Idriss began making toys for her children using recycled wood, which was “safer, more environmentally friendly, and more affordable than store-bought toys,” she explains. Chadleya went to the WES Center for Women’s Business Development in Kairouan, Tunisia, with a dream of starting a toy business. She participated in the WES entrepreneurship training and worked closely with the WES Center staff to conduct market research on the local toy industry. Last November, Chadleya launched her new business, Toy Story.

  • 4 Things Your Institution Can Do to Support Education in Crisis

    By: Jon Grosh on Monday, April 13, 2015

    Our experience suggests that fragile states cannot succeed without major investments in higher education. Accordingly, neglecting academic needs during and after armed conflict raises the risk of failure once peace is restored—with security implications for the rest of the world. As noted by IIE Vice President Daniela Kaisth, “there is widespread recognition that education at all levels must be protected during war for the vital role it plays in preserving leadership, stabilizing societies, and once conflict subsides, rebuilding peaceful and prosperous communities.”

  • Letter From Abu Dhabi: Selecting the 2015 Falcon Scholar

    By: Dr. Allan E. Goodman on Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Senator J. William Fulbright was a Rhodes Scholar, and the experience gave him the idea that more Americans ought to have the opportunity to study abroad. We know where that led, of course.

  • In Conflict and Crisis, Higher Education Matters

    By: Daniela Kaisth on Friday, January 23, 2015

    You probably have never heard of the Global Platform for Syrian Students. I hadn’t heard of them either until about two years ago when the President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, Dr. Vartan Gregorian, introduced us.

  • Letter From WISE—International Education Supporting Crises Worldwide

    By: Dr. Allan E. Goodman on Monday, December 1, 2014

    It was a real lesson in globalization. The airplane announcement went something like this:

    "The local authorities have asked us to spray the cabin to prevent the spread of disease by mosquitos. Please do not breathe in if you are allergic to spraying. And due to the recent outbreaks of Ebola, MERS, H1N1, and bird flu, please report to local authorities upon landing if you have any of the following symptoms: ..." You can imagine the list.

  • The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Higher Education: A View from Turkey

    By: James King on Friday, July 25, 2014

    “Thank God we’re alive, but we are dying an intellectual death.”

    Wearing a colorful headscarf and a seemingly permanent look of sorrow, an intense and charismatic professor I’ll call Noora shared with me her tragic story of fleeing Syria and becoming a refugee. I was in Reyhanlı, a dusty border town in Turkey’s southernmost province, to meet with Syrians whose university education and academic work had been interrupted indefinitely due to the conflict in their homeland. Among the more than three million Syrian refugees, including an estimated one million in Turkey, there are tens of thousands of university students and professors.

  • What is Next for New York University Abu Dhabi's First Class?

    By: Dr. Allan E. Goodman on Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Recently, it was my privilege to join IIE colleagues Mark Lazar and Daria Housman to attend the graduation of New York University Abu Dhabi's first class. Our Trustee John Sexton had the vision to transform NYU into a global network university offering the opportunity for teaching and research to be conducted on a truly global scale and practically without boundaries, geographic or disciplinary. Generous financial support was available. The one thing NYU needed most to succeed was top students willing to be the first class in Abu Dhabi, and this is what our team helped to find. 50+ different countries were represented in the graduating class.

  • The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Higher Education: A View From Lebanon

    By: James King on Thursday, April 17, 2014

    Doing our best to ignore the rumbling of military tanks outside a Beirut classroom, we listened as a group of Syrian university students shared with us how they had fled their homes and studies in Syria and were struggling to continue their education in Lebanon.

  • Find Your Passion, Find Your Impact

    By: Trish Tierney on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    In my senior year of college, I watched as most of my friends frantically faxed their CVs off and checked their answering machines for messages about interviews. People asked me, ‘Why are you so calm?’ I was not rushing about, because I already knew: I was going to Africa. We all have a place where we feel ourselves, a place to which we are drawn, and most of the time there is just no explaining it. My mom believes she was Native American in another life and feels most at home in New Mexico. My dad—an Irish-American through and through—cycles, speaks and drinks cappuccino like a native Italian. I first came to truly know myself sitting under a thorn tree in Namibia.

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About Opening Minds

For more than nine decades, the Institute of International Education has been at the forefront of international education. The Opening Minds blog is IIE’s take on how this field continues to change. Here the Institute’s leaders will explore international educational exchange, global student mobility, institutional partnerships, international development, and other topics and trends that are shaping higher education around the world.


IIE Opening Minds Blog
E-mail: blog@iie.org