Post-event Report

Middle East and Africa’s Annual Strategic Summit for the Advancement of University Excellence in All its Forms.

QS-MAPLE 2018: The Advancement of University Excellence in the Middle East and Africa Region

The QS-MAPLE 2018 conference and exhibition, the8th Annual Strategic Summit for the Advancement of University Excellence in all its Forms successfully concluded on 6 March 2018 in Manama, Bahrain.

The annual higher education conference was prefaced by a welcome dinner where welcome remarks were delivered by Dr Kevin Downing, Chair of QS-MAPLE International Academic Advisory Committee, Secretary to Council and Court, Director of Institutional Research Office, City University of Hong Kong and Ms Mandy Mok, Chief Executive Officer, QS Asia Quacquarelli Symonds, Singapore. It was then followed by the delivery of welcome addresses from Professor Riyad Y Hamzah, President of University of Bahrain and Professor Abdulla Al Hawaj, Managing Director of Ahlia University. A series of enlightening cultural performance also graced the event.

This year’s conference gathered a total of 315 academics from 59 institutions in 29 countries. It not only allowed participants to gain a better understanding of the higher education sector inside and outside of the Middle East; but it also provided them with the chance to share some of their best practices, network and establish partnerships between universities. In addition, a total of 44 papers were presented during plenary and parallel sessions and 27 exhibitors had the opportunity to showcase their universities’ offerings to participants at the QS Hub - Exhibition.

Here are some of the event highlights for those who have missed this informative conference:

The conference kickstarted with the QS University Rankings Masterclass, a 90-minute panel discussion presented prominent speakers such as Ben Sowter (QS), John O’ Leary (Times Good Universities Guide) and ShadiArwad (Elsevier). By participating in the workshop, delegates were able to gain a better understanding of the importance of international collaboration, with particular reference to UK universities and their global network. They also had the opportunity to learn moreabout the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018-19, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa region.

During one of the keynote addresses, Dr. Jawaher Al Mudhahki discussed on Embedding Excellence: Challenges in Higher Education where she emphasized on the need for a large and diverse university to educate for life and for profession and to grant degrees. The methods of evaluating university excellence would include (1) Quality Assurance (2) Accreditation (3) Ranking. On the other hand, Dr. ArifSatria talked about the Higher Education in Disruption Era: Challenges and Strategies, where he shared on current challenges faced by global society and the need for social transformation. He also pointed out that the response on the changing world must be guarded by the following factors: Relevancy, Quality and Internationalization.

Last but not least, the QS Squared Debate sessions, the topics on “You Should Only Be Called A University if You Conduct and Publish Research” and “Rankings are the Best Overall Measure of a University's Global and Regional Standing” were well-argued and contested by the participants.

The QS-MAPLE 2019 conference and exhibition will be held next year in partnership with Effat University as joint organizing partners.