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Al-Fanar Media and UNIMED Announce Strategic Partnership Fostering Cooperation Between Academia and Journalism


CAIRO & ROME – Al-Fanar Media (AFM) and UNIMED, the Mediterranean Universities Union, are pleased to announce they have entered into a strategic partnership combining UNIMED’s leadership in promoting collaboration between universities of the Mediterranean basin with Al-Fanar Media’s leading journalism covering higher education, research and culture in the Arab region.

The Mediterranean region has been passing through uncertain and turbulent times, and academics, today more than ever, have a greater educational, advisory and leadership role to play. Policy makers and the public should be able to turn to them for solutions, innovation and ideas. The UNIMED-AFM partnership aims to find opportunities to bridge the gap between academics and the public, and make sure scholars and students alike are heard on topics that are important to education in this region, like migration, employability, digitalization, and diversity, and to help turn those discussions into joint action and collaboration.

“This partnership will play a big role in preparing the future of higher education in the MENA region. Capacity building and best practices will be shared through UNIMED and journalistic coverage, content creation, and dissemination by Al-Fanar Media. This is a partnership for success.” — Wail Benjelloun, a board member at the Alexandria Trust, the parent organization of Al-Fanar Media (AFM), and honorary president of UNIMED.

AFM and UNIMED signed a memorandum of understanding on July 1, 2021, and in a clear endorsement of the partnership had their first operational meeting on Friday, July 9. The collaboration, on top of mutual content production and knowledge sharing and promotion, will include joint organization of training, workshops, seminars and conferences, facilitation of collaboration with mutual partners, and collaboration in fundraising.

One of the major focus areas for AFM is empowering youth and giving them a voice. AFM plans to partner with UNIMED on the “Voice of the Youth” project to provide journalism training and mentoring to university students who would then cover their own stories and issues for Al-Fanar Media’s social media and website.

“In this project, AFM aims to provide journalism and video-producing workshops for students as a further tool to build their skills and make their voice heard.” — Nadia El-Gowely, Executive Director of Al-Fanar Media.

AFM envisions using the “Voice of the Youth” project to connect university students in the region and brainstorm topics of common interest they are keen to tackle, the best of which can be showcased on AFM platforms.

“The alliance among Media and Academia is particularly important during such a critical time and this becomes crucial once we look at the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. In this perspective the collaboration with AFM will be an asset for UNIMED and will contribute to improving the impact of our activities in the Euro-Mediterranean Area, for a stronger, more reliable, more independent Higher Education system in favour of a Mediterranean Generation.”Marcello Scalisi, Director of UNIMED.

About Al-Fanar Media

Al-Fanar Media is an independent online publication that focuses on Arab higher education, research and culture. The publication is on a mission to amplify the seldom-heard voices of Arab academics and students and shed light on topics that are often overlooked. With in-depth, independent journalistic coverage, Al-Fanar Media generates discussion, informs decisions, and builds bridges among those interested in the region’s development. Al-Fanar Media has a deep belief that education and independent pursuit and sharing of knowledge are the founding stones of the region’s rebirth.

Al-Fanar Media is a project of The Alexandria Trust, a UK based charity founded by Egyptian businessman and philanthropist Salah Khalil. The Trust was formed in response to the unprecedented opportunities that now exist to improve life chances across the Arab world, and to facilitate the development of a new generation of citizens across the region equipped to become active members of their societies.

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UNIMED, the Mediterranean Universities Union, founded in October 1991 by Prof. Franco Rizzi, is an association of universities from the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

It counts 138 member universities in 23 countries on both shores of Mediterranean (data updated to March 2021).

UNIMED acts in different scientific fields and its aim is to develop research and education in the Euro-Mediterranean area in order to contribute to scientific, cultural, social and economic cooperation.

Through the many initiatives carried out over the two decades, UNIMED has promoted the collaboration between universities of the Mediterranean, becoming a point of reference of international university cooperation.