Foundations and the Future of Higher Education: Achieving Impact at Scale in the Arab World
In late February, we held a forum that addressed the role of foundations and the future of higher education in the Arab world, focusing on how to achieve impact at scale.
Against a background of deepening challenges facing Arab youth in accessing high quality education and preparing for the future of work as well as the limited public resources to address this issue, foundations have a critical role to play in bridging significant gaps along the education-to-employment transition. The nature of these challenges requires an approach that can achieve a deep impact at a wide scale by supporting innovative models, leveraging partnerships, and focusing relentlessly on research and measurement.
Held under the theme Foundations and the Future of Higher Education: Achieving Impact at Scale in the Arab world, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education organized a closed forum for regional private foundations and select non-government organizations and universities, the main objectives of which were to:
1. Share learnings and emerging practices both regionally and globally;
2. Build consensus around what it would take to respond effectively to the most urgent challenges facing the education of young Arabs today; and
3. Identify areas for potential collaboration.
For two days, the leadership of regional educational institutions engaged with international experts and reflected on their respective roles and how to maximize their impact. The discussions were structured around two major themes: increasing access to higher education, and new opportunities and partnerships to make youth future-ready. The Forum was also an opportunity to highlight the voice of Arab youth, with two representatives attending the forum to share their perspectives and hopes about the future of higher education in the Arab world.
The discussions throughout the Forum converged around a set of shared goals and opportunities, which present two key areas for action. They also confirmed the need to have more frequent and focused meetings to collectively discuss these areas:
1. Creating platforms for collaboration, partnership and knowledge creation and exchange
2. Aligning on best practices in student support in higher education