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Dr. Kherieh Rassas, President of the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED) and Vice President of An-Najah National University for International and External Affairs, emphasized the importance of collectively advancing towards adapting and institutionalizing our educational systems. This effort is essential to respond to the rapidly evolving demands of the global economy and burgeoning sectors in business and technology. Additionally, it aims to address the impacts of wars on the continuity of education. Dr. Rassas stressed that the tragedies unfolding in Gaza serve as a stark reminder of the challenges and responsibilities we all face.


This statement was made during her chairmanship of the Mediterranean Universities Union Week held in Brussels. This significant academic gathering brought together a select group of academics, experts, and representatives from various international academic institutions. The event also featured An-Najah National University President Prof. Abdel Nasser Zaid and the Director of Scientific Centers and Grants and Projects Unit, Dr. Saed Khayat. Dr. Rassas emphasized the pressing need to develop a global educational model that embraces technology while retaining the invaluable human-centric aspects of the learning process.

Addressing the educational and developmental disparities between the northern and southern regions of the Mediterranean, Dr. Rassas appealed to governments to allocate sufficient and sustainable support to increase exchange programs across diverse geographic areas, ensuring every student's right to education, regardless of location. She pointed out the necessity of joint efforts to guarantee that this right is neither diminished nor denied under any circumstances, stating: 'At UNIMED, we undertake the responsibility to defend these noble goals and contribute to the development of policies and strategies designed to narrow this gap.'

As part of the UNIMED events, Dr. Rassas presented an overview of the Technical Educational Support for Higher Education Students Initiative (TESI), launched by An-Najah National University in partnership with UNIMED and the Palestinian Student Support Fund (PSSF) last February. TESI was designed in response to the escalating suffering in Gaza. It has left the majority of educational institutions in ruins and has claimed the lives of thousands of students. Around 90,000 higher education students have been deprived of their right to education, putting on hold the dreams of countless young minds eager to pursue their education. Dr. Rassas emphasized that this initiative relies on multiple technological alternatives and strengthens international partnerships to ensure the continuation of education in Gaza, treating students as visiting students registered at their original universities in Gaza.

Dr. Rassas affirmed that the initiative is gaining increasing momentum, with about 33,000 students enrolled from all universities in Gaza. It has received support from the Association of Arab Universities and the Francophone University Agency, as well as from the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Union, and a large group of European countries, universities, experts and academics volunteering their services and expertise. She called for further engagement in this initiative to accommodate the largest number of students from Gaza and enforce their right to continue their education despite challenging circumstances.

Earlier, Dr. Rassas chaired a meeting of the UNIMED Board of Directors, which discussed several issues, including enhancing academic exchange programs and developing practical mechanisms to expand the number of universities and educational institutions within the union. These efforts aim to collectively address global challenges and bridge the academic and developmental gap between the north and south of the Mediterranean. 

It is noted that the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), founded in 1991, is the largest academic coalition comprising 158 universities and research centers from about 25 countries. These institutions share and cooperate in research, education, and cultural exchange to empower higher education institutions and enhance scientific research.


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