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Sussex hosts Middle East and North Africa Engagement Forum

L-R: Aisling Conboy (Department for International Trade); Joana Westphal (Universities UK International); Professor Reem Bahgat (Egyptian Bureau for Cultural & Educational Affairs); Professor Stephen Shute; Victoria Bennett (Universit

The Egyptian Bureau for Cultural & Educational Affairs, Department for International Trade (DIT), and Universities UK International (UUKi) were represented at the first Middle East and North Africa Engagement (MENA) Engagement Forum recently hosted at the University of Sussex.

The theme of the 22 May event was ‘knowledge economies: current trends, opportunities and future possibilities’. It was organised by the International Office with support from Universities UK International (UUKi) and chaired by Professor Stephen Shute, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University, and current Chair for the Universities UK International MENA Network.

Professor Stephen Shute said: “This forward-thinking event is just one of the ways the University is striving to be globally engaged and grow our international reputation through Sussex 2025. We’re proud of the depth of our expertise in this area, and attendees were able to benefit from some valuable insights from Professor Joseph Alcamo and Dr Anna McSweeney on their respective research on sustainability and Islamic Arts.”

Academics, students and professional members of staff gathered in the Fulton building for the event which showcased the University’s research strengths, international outlook and engagement in the MENA region.

The event featured presentations, panel discussions from invited speakers which covered national priorities and ambitions for research-industry collaborations in the shift towards knowledge-based economies. It also featured a keynote speaker, Professor Reem Bahgat, Cultural Counsellor & Director at the Egyptian Bureau for Cultural & Educational Affairs. Professor Bahgat spoke about the knowledge economies in the MENA region with a focus on Egypt and the government priorities in area especially with regards to international collaboration around education.

She said: "This was a good initiative from Sussex University, inviting Education Offices at embassies in the MENA region together with UUKI and DIT Representatives to hold an informative session to strengthen the academic and research relation with the MENA region.”

The speakers Victoria Bennett, Joana Westphal and Aisling Conboy welcomed the initiative as a platform to facilitate inclusive discourse in higher education by bringing together stakeholders to share, learn and collaborate.

Ranked in the top 25 for most international universities in the world, international students make up a third of the student population with Sussex currently home to over 80 Egyptian students pursuing a range of subjects. The University is proud to work closely with partner universities in Egypt to enrich the student experience in teaching and learning, and advance knowledge exchange and research.

For further information and to partner with the University of Sussex in the Middle East and North Africa, please contact Tosin Adebisi or Tom Morgan from the International Office.

By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Friday, 31 May 2019