HELF 2015

Dear Leaders of Higher Education,

Tech_NarimaneOn behalf of the Technical and Organizing Committees of the 2nd MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum, I am delighted to welcome you to this exciting international gathering of higher education leaders and decision makers. This year’s Forum has been dedicated to discussing the new role of universities in today’s knowledge based economy as creators, repositories and disseminators of knowledge; hubs for research and innovation and cultivators of entrepreneurial thinking.

Throughout the coming few days, the Forum will discuss a range of innovations occurring at different macro and micro levels impacting the various key domains of higher education; to name one of the most significant and influencing ones is technology which led to the development of new business models, new pedagogical approaches for teaching and learning and new forms of community building. The Forum will look into a number of other innovations and discuss how these are influencing and impacting higher education; it will also discuss some of the challenges associated with embracing innovation and will propose frameworks and models to create, promote and sustain a culture of innovation in Higher Education.

The Technical Committee of this year has put a truly unique and engaging program that addresses cutting edge innovation impacting higher education today from different perspectives.

The Forum will be preceded by three “hands-on” half day workshops that will take place on the 9th of November, 2015. The two parallel workshops in the morning are dedicated to innovation in learning and teaching and to high level strategies for developing online and blended learning initiatives within Higher Education. The afternoon workshop entitled “Leading H.E Institutions of the Future Through Radical Innovation and Disruptive Change – A Recipe for success based on Best Practice Thinking” delivered by Professor Mohamed Zairi will provide participants with insights into a number of important issues including managing change in disruptive environments, looking at how to build a culture of innovation and identify means for developing capability to drive innovation.

The Forum Official Opening Ceremony will take place on the morning of the 10th of November, 2015 and will involve a number of welcoming and opening speeches followed by the recognition of this year’s Forum Partners, Sponsors and Supporters; and the inauguration of the exhibition which will accompany the Forum and that aims at providing delegates with up to date information on commercially available products and services of relevance to higher education.

The morning plenary session of the 10th will consist of two keynote addresses presented by renowned international experts. The first Keynote presentation will be delivered by Professor Mohamed Zairi, Chairman of the European Centre for Best Practice Management in the UK under the theme “The Winning Formulae for a Sustainable Future in Higher Education Limitless Possibilities fueled by Innovation“
The second intervention will be carried out by Dr. Kathleen Ives, CEO & Executive Director of the Online Learning Consortium (formerly known as the Sloan Consortium) in the USA who will be presenting new business models emerging from the power of technology. The morning plenary session will also feature an interesting controversial debate on “The Innovation Dilemma in Higher Education” that will engage the audience with the use of voting devices.

The afternoon plenary session will start after lunch with a keynote address by David J. Lock, the International Advisor for the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education in the UK. His presentation entitled” Leading Universities through Complexity“ will draw on international experience to identify steps which University leaders in the MENA region might benefit from to meet the multiple needs of their stakeholders and innovate in a way that also reflects the fundamental values that have globally given universities their longevity. The keynote will be followed by an interactive panel discussion on the Role of Leadership in Creating and Nurturing a Culture of Innovation chaired by Dr. Laurence F. Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium that publishes the ‘well-known’ Horizon Report for Higher Education. The panel will include the views of five high level speakers bringing experiences from the USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and France and will once again engage the audience with the use of voting devices. The afternoon plenary sessions will end with a final keynote address by Mr. Tarek Al Shawa from ITS.

The second day of the Forum will comprise three keynote addresses tackling various of the forum’s sub-themes, as well as a panel discussion “Innovations Trends and Future Challenges: How to build a better Future?“ chaired by Professor M. Badr Aboul-Ela, Executive Director of the Commission for Academic Accreditation in the UAE & Vice-President of the Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The morning plenary session on the second day will end at lunch time. The after lunch period will be dedicated to institutional best practices presentations. Please refer to the attached schedule for presentations’ timings.

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank members of our Technical and Organizing Committees without whom it would not have been possible to produce such a rich program and high level event. I would also like to thank our partners: The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), The Association of Arab Universities, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council; our Diamond Sponsor: ITS; Turning Technologies and Intaglio our bronze sponsors; C&K Management our supporter and all of our media partners. My appreciation is also extended to all of our distinguished speakers, panelist, workshop leaders and anyone who has directly or indirectly contributed to this Forum’s success.

On behalf of the entire team, I welcome you and thank you for your participation, and hope your experience during the Forum will be exciting, stimulating and rewarding