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CLOC DEAR MENA - Digital Education And Research for MENA

About the Project

Access to digital education and research is crucial for the implementation of several Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). It narrows the gap in education and research quality between the Global North and the Global South. New information and communication technologies allow delivering modern digital methods with new emerging forms of learning, teaching and technology transfer.

The questions of access to information and knowledge are particularly relevant in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and need to be dealt with in a context-sensitive way. The Cluster of Cooperation “Digital Education And Research for MENA - DEAR MENA” therefore aims at contributing to a research and education network between Institutions of Higher Education in Switzerland and the MENA region. The network hub will be based in Lebanon (at Saint Joseph University of Beirut) and functions as a regional hub on the following thematic focuses:


A) Focus on digital education & partnerships

Digital educational activities (MOOCs, Flipped classroom, Blended learning, Learning Apps,…) provide alternative and new ways for students to gain knowledge. Additionally, digital activities require new skills for teachers and an adapted teaching approach. These features affect not only the education organization and learning methods, but remodel also the education of the teachers and their professional development.

B) Focus on engineering education

In this focus, the CLOC DEAR MENA proposes to develop and implement innovative education in electrical, mechanical, control and computer engineering at a large scale within remote digital infrastructures, for example using remote laboratories developed in COFER MOOLs. The proposed CLOC intends online sharing of Swiss infrastructures to support learning and teaching process with a massive number of engineering students in MENA region. The concept is highly beneficial for engineering schools in MENA region, where scientific infrastructures are scarce, but a connection to internet can be available.

C) Focus on peacebuilding, gender & diversity

The partners of the proposed CLOC on the MENA region have well-grounded expertise in the fields of peacebuilding and gender and diversity. Their analytical and crosscutting expertise is relevant and beneficial to the various disciplines and activities involved in this CLOC. Whether it is developing digital teaching material on specific subjects, online learning tools or research exchange – a gender-, diversity- and conflict-sensitive approach is relevant and highly needed. It will build trust and thus render partnerships more sustainable, reduce the risk of causing unintended harm and eventually contribute to resilient societies and the prevention of violent conflicts.

Partner Institutions

Swiss partners

HES-SO , University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Fariba Moghaddam

EPFL – Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Prof. Dr. Denis Gillet

University of Basel / swisspeace

Prof. Dr. Laurent Goetschel

University of Zurich

Prof. Dr. Bettina Dennerlein


MENA partners

Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon

Prof. Dr. Marc Ibrahim

Lebanese American University, Lebanon

Prof. Dr. Harag Margossian

Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran

Prof. Dr. Amir Abolfazl Suratgar

University of Kurdistan, Iran

Prof. Dr. Qobad Shafiee

Birzeit University, Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute of International Studies, Palestine

Prof. Dr. Lourdes Habasch

Islamic University of Gaza, Palestine

Prof. Dr. Ahmed Muhaisen

Centre ISIS Pour Femmes et Développement in Fez, Morocco

Prof. Dr. Fatima Sadiqi

The Women and Memory Forum in Cairo, Egypt

Prof. Dr. Hoda Elsadda

Center of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Fez, Morocco

Prof. Dr. Moha Ennaji